United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
PATRICIA T. MORRIS, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ;
OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION ; GRANTING
DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS ; AND DISMISSING
J. Tarnow, Senior United States District Judge.
Brigitte Reynolds, a pro se prisoner, has brought
claims against Defendants, Michigan Department of Corrections
officials Anthony Stewart, Erica Reeves, Kari Osterhout, S.
Holliwell, and Tackett. Plaintiff alleges violations of her
First Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Specifically, she claims a violation of her right of access
to the courts.
sues Defendants in both their official and personal
capacities. She seeks a declaratory judgment, injunctive
relief, $350, 000.00 in punitive damages, $350, 000.00 in
compensatory damages, and any appropriate attorney fees and
filed a Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. #13] on April 24, 2017. On
June 30, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation (R&R)  advising the Court to grant
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff filed her
Objection to the R&R  on July 28, 2017.
Court adopts the facts as set forth in the R&R:
Plaintiff Brigitte Reynolds (“Plaintiff”) is a
prisoner incarcerated at Women's Huron Valley
Correctional Facility (“WHVCF”), and filed this
lawsuit, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on January 25, 2017
against Defendants Anthony Stewart (“Stewart”),
Erica Reeves (“Reeves”), Kari Osterhout
(“Osterhout”), S. Holliwell
(“Holliwell”), and Tackett
(“Tackett”). (Doc. 1). She avers a violation of
her First Amendment right of access to the courts because she
was denied the ability to access a compact disc containing
“transcripts of a hearing she had” in “the
26th Judicial Court in Alpena, Michigan” for “the
return of her personal property.” (Doc. 1 at ¶ 4).
“Plaintiff needed transcripts to request a
reconsideration and appeal the court's decision, ”
and she had “21 days from June 3, 2016, to request a
reconsideration from the court for the hearing and for the
return of Plaintiff's personal property.”
(Id.). Tackett, a correctional officer, told her
“she was not allowed to have the disc, ” as did
Osterhout, Holliwell, and Stewart when she contacted them.
(Id.). Other inmates “had been allowed”
to “receive a viewing” of discs mailed them.
(Id.). Following these rejections, Plaintiff
“requested, but did not receive a hearing on”
this rejection. (Id.).
On November 6, 2016, Plaintiff avers “a memo was posted
in all housing units” stating that attorneys would be
permitted to show inmates videos related to their cases on
devices owned by the Michigan Department of Corrections
(“MDOC”). (Id.). Because Plaintiff was
representing herself in the state court proceeding, she was
unable to utilize this policy. Ultimately, Defendants'
actions “prevented her the possibility to prevail on a
reconsideration and/or appeal of the 26th Circuit Court's
decision and the possibility to recover her personal property
from the county that prosecuted her on her criminal
case.” (Id.). “Additionally, the prison
staff has not completed the grievance process within the
Michigan Department of Corrections policy's mandated 120
Plaintiff filed a Response to the instant Motion, (Doc. 14),
and I consider it “as part of the pleadings.”
Brown v. Matauszak, 415 F. App'x 608, 613 (6th
Cir. 2011) (quoting Flournoy v. Seiter, 835 F.2d
878, at *1 (6th Cir. Dec. 7, 1987) (unpublished table
decision)). Relevantly, she elaborates somewhat on the state
hearing, noting that “[t]he Alpena Court denied [the]
return [of] property they seized from her apartment while she
was confined in the county jail, ” and that she moved
“for the return of her seized property that was not a
part of her criminal convictions.” (Doc. 14 at 5). She
does not allege that the state's post-deprivation
procedures are categorically inadequate.
Court must make a de novo determination of the
portions of the R&R to which Plaintiff has objected. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). “A judge of the court may
accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.”
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must “assume
the veracity of [the plaintiff's] well-pleaded factual
allegations and determine whether the plaintiff is entitled
to legal relief as a matter of law.” McCormick v.
Miami Univ., 693 F.3d 654, 658 (6th Cir. 2012) (citing