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Good v. Walworth

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

March 27, 2018

JONATHAN GOOD, Plaintiff,
v.
WENDI WALWORTH, et al., Defendants.

          AMENDED ORDER [1]ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [#22] OVERRULING DEFENDANTS' OBJECTION [#23], DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [#13], DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STAY [#16], DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE [#17] AND DISMISSING DEFENDANT KELLY BARNETT PURSUANT TO FED. R. CIV. P. 25(A)

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). He brought the instant 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action asserting First Amendment violations against Defendants, various MDOC employees, for terminating his prison employment in the legal writer program, as well as for transferring him to the most northerly Level IV security prison in the state in retaliation for writing grievances against the Defendants.

         This matter has been referred to Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub for all pretrial purposes pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636.

         Presently before the Court is Magistrate Judge Majzoub's Report and Recommendation, issued on January 25, 2018. Magistrate Judge Majzoub recommends that the Court deny the following motions: (1) Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, filed on April 11, 2017; (2) Plaintiff's Motion to Stay, filed on June 9, 2017; and (3) Plaintiff's Motion to Strike, also filed on June 9, 2017. Magistrate Judge Majzoub also recommends dismissal of Defendant Kelly Barnett pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(a).

         On February 8, 2018, Defendants filed their Objection to the Report and Recommendation arguing the Magistrate Judge erred in denying qualified immunity. Upon review of the parties' submissions, the Report and Recommendation and the applicable law, the Court will overrule Defendants' objection and will accept and adopt Magistrate Judge Majzoub's January 25, 2018 Report and Recommendation as this Court's factual findings and conclusions of law.

         II. Factual Background

         The facts giving rise to the instant action all occurred at the St. Louis Correctional Facility (SLCF) in St. Louis, Michigan. Plaintiff claims that in September and November of 2013, he wrote several grievances against Defendant Walworth, who is an Assistant Resident Unit Manager (ARUM) at the SLCF for Housing Unit 3. Plaintiff claims that upon learning of his grievances against her, Defendant Walworth conspired with Defendant Bugbee, the Librarian at SLCF, Defendant Mayfield, the Classification Director at SLCF, and Defendant Vandecasteele, SLCF's Assistant Librarian, to have Plaintiff terminated from his legal writer position. In connection with these efforts, Defendant Vandecasteele prepared a false “363 Prisoner Assignment Evaluation, ” with findings that Plaintiff's performance was “below average.” Plaintiff also asserts that Defendant Finch, another ARUM for Housing Unit 3, Defendant Barnett, the Assistant Deputy Warden of SLCF, and Defendant Vandecasteele covered up the retaliatory actions of Bugbee, Mayfield, Walworth and Vandecasteele. Plaintiff was officially terminated from the legal writer program on November 19, 2013.

         Plaintiff also maintains that Defendant Walworth retaliated against him for writing grievances against her by having corrections officers shake down Plaintiff's cell and remove legal materials. She also denied his request for use of the “expedited legal mail process” so that he could meet an approaching deadline in a different civil rights action pending in federal court. Defendant Walworth also retaliated against Plaintiff by implementing an unwritten policy that required Plaintiff, in order to be given a grievance form, to inform Defendant Walworth of the basis and person involved in the incident Plaintiff wished to grieve.

         Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Walworth conspired with Defendant Rivard, the Warden of SLCF, to have Plaintiff transferred to the most northerly Level IV correctional facility in the state. Plaintiff maintains that Defendant Walworth prepared a false Security Classification Review Screen which scored Plaintiff at a confinement level of II, and his management level at I. Despite these scores, Defendant Walworth departed upward to a Level IV security classification, which was ultimately approved by Defendant Rivard. Plaintiff was transferred from SLCF on December 2, 2013.

         III. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         The standard of review to be employed by the court when examining a report and recommendation is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 636. This Court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). This Court “may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate.” Id.

         B. First ...


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