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Maben v. Shaheen

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

March 20, 2018

JAMES MABEN, Plaintiff,
v.
JANET SHAHEEN, Defendant.

         OPINION & ORDER (1) ACCEPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S RECOMMENDATION DATED JANUARY 31, 2018 (Dkt. 32), (2) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS THERETO (Dkt. 33), (3) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Dkt. 12), (4) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Dkt. 19), AND (5) DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM WITH PREJUDICE

          MARK A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis (Dkt. 32), which recommends granting Defendant Janet Shaheen's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 12) and denying Plaintiff James Maben's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 19). Maben filed objections to the R&R (Dkt. 32), to which Shaheen filed a response (Dkt. 33). Because oral argument will not aid the decisional process, the objections to the R&R will be decided based on the parties' briefing. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2); Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, the R&R is accepted, Shaheen's motion for summary judgment is granted, and Maben's motion for summary judgment is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The factual and procedural background, along with the standard of decision and legal principles governing motions to dismiss, has been adequately set forth by the magistrate judge and need not be repeated here in full. In brief summary, Maben is a prisoner at the Central Michigan Correctional Facility, where Shaheen was the Assistant Resident Unit Specialist. Maben alleges First Amendment retaliation due to his request to send legal mail. He alleges that Shaheen had him transferred to another unit and verbally abused him following his request.

         Both parties have filed a motion for summary judgment. Shaheen argues that Maben has not established his retaliation claim and that she is immune regardless, while Maben contends that Shaheen was delinquent in filing a response to the complaint. The magistrate judge recommended that Shaheen's motion be granted, because Maben could not show that she took an adverse action. The magistrate judge further found that Shaheen was entitled to immunity under both the Eleventh Amendment and the doctrine of qualified immunity. She recommended a denial of Maben's motion because Shaheen did indeed timely file a response to the complaint. Maben filed eight objections to the magistrate judge's decision.

         II. STANDARD OF DECISION

         The Court reviews de novo any portion of the R&R to which a specific objection has been made. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); Alspaugh v. McConnell, 643 F.3d 162, 166 (6th Cir. 2011) (“Only those specific objections to the magistrate's report made to the district court will be preserved for appellate review; making some objections but failing to raise others will not preserve all the objections a party may have.”). Any arguments made for the first time in objections to an R&R are deemed waived. Uduko v. Cozzens, 975 F.Supp.2d 750, 757 (E.D. Mich. 2013).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Maben raises eight objections to the R&R. For the reasons that follow, all eight objections are overruled.

         Maben's first six objections relate to his First Amendment retaliation claim. Such a claim consists of three elements:

(1) the plaintiff engaged in protected conduct; (2) an adverse action was taken against the plaintiff that would deter a person of ordinary firmness from continuing to engage in that conduct; and (3) there is a causal connection between elements one and two - that is, the adverse action was motivated at least in part by the plaintiff's protected conduct.

Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378, 394 (6th Cir. 1999).

         The first three objections relate to the magistrate judge's summary of Shaheen's arguments. The magistrate judge described that Shaheen construed Maben's complaint as bringing both a “legal mail” claim and a retaliation claim; that Shaheen argued that Maben failed to establish a retaliation claim; and that Shaheen contended that a certain level of harm was necessary to constitute an adverse action in a retaliation claim. See Obj. at 2-3 (cm/ecf pages) (Dkt. 33). These objections do not relate to ...


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