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Robinson v. Rodarte

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 8, 2018

Timothy R. Robinson, Plaintiff,
v.
Edward Rodarte, et al., Defendant.

          Patricia T. Morris United States Magistrate Judge.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [39]

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Timothy Robinson commenced this litigation on October 14, 2016, asserting claims against several Defendants. Dkt. No. 1. On March 15, 2017, the Court granted the Defendants' Motion to Sever claims asserted in the Complaint. See Dkt. No. 25. Pursuant to that decision, the only Defendant remaining in the action is the St. Louis, Michigan Correctional Facility Mailroom Staff, [1] and the only unresolved claim is that the mailroom staff opened Plaintiff's mail in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. See id.

         Presently before the Court is the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's First Amendment Claim, which was filed on October 16, 2017, well over three months ago [39]. The motion is not fully briefed, as the Plaintiff has not responded to the motion, and accordingly, the Defendant has not filed a reply in support of the motion. No. hearing date has been scheduled for this motion. For the reasons detailed below, the Court will GRANT the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's First Amendment Claim.

         II. Background

         The Plaintiff, now free on parole, was previously incarcerated at the St. Louis Correctional Facility in St. Louis, Michigan. See Dkt. No. 1. While there, mail room staff opened two of his letters which Robinson alleges were legal mail, and therefore, should not have been opened outside of his presence. Id. at p. 9 (Pg. ID 9).

         Both mailings were sent by Robinson to other individuals, and returned to him as undeliverable. See Dkt. Nos. 39-2, 39-3. The Plaintiff does not allege that the Defendant read the contents of the mail. Dkt. No. 1, p. 9 (Pg. ID 9).

         The first mailing was addressed to the law offices of Julie Gilfix. Dkt. No. 39-2, p. 2 (Pg. ID 226). “Attorney-client Confidential Communication” is handwritten on the envelope enclosing this mail. Id. This mailing is also marked “RETURN TO SENDER; ATTEMPTED-NOT KNOWN; UNABLE TO FORWARD.” Id.

         The second mailing is addressed to Jill Price, President of the Criminal Defense Lawyers of Michigan. Id. It is similarly marked “RETURN TO SENDER; NOT DELIVERABLE AS ADDRESSED; UNABLE TO FORWARD.” Id.

         III. Discussion

         The Defendant argues that it is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's First Amendment claim because the Plaintiff did not have a First Amendment right regarding the relevant mail, the Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity, or both. The Court agrees. The Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's First Amendment Claim.

         The Court will first take up the ...


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