United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER (1) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS (ECF #58) TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION (ECF #57), (2) ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE
JUDGE'S RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION (ECF #57), (3) GRANTING
IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
(ECF #45), AND (4) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (ECF #50)
MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Rason Horton is a state prisoner currently confined at the
Carson City Correctional Facility in Carson City, Michigan.
Horton, proceeding pro se, brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§1983 against Defendant Pamela Greene, an employee of a
private company, Aramark, that contracts with the Saginaw
Correctional Facility in Freeland, Michigan, where Horton was
previously confined. Horton alleges that Greene retaliated
against him in violation of the First Amendment and violated
his right to substantive due process under the Fourteenth
Amendment when he was confined at the Saginaw Facility. (Am.
Compl., ECF #41.)
October 17, 2018, Greene filed a motion to dismiss (Mot., ECF
#45), and, on December 18, 2018, Horton filed a motion for
summary judgment (ECF #50). Subsequently, on February 27,
2019, the assigned Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation (the “R & R”) in which he
recommends that the Court: (1) deny Greene's motion to
dismiss as to Horton's First Amendment retaliation claim
to the extent that the claimed is based on Horton's oral
grievances to Greene's supervisors on August 29, 2014,
and September 1, 2014, (2) grant Greene's motion to
dismiss in all other respects, and (3) deny Horton's
motion for summary judgment. (R & R, ECF #57.)
March 18, 2019, Horton filed objections to the R & R (the
“Objections). (See ECF #58.) Greene filed a
response to Horton's Objections on April 1, 2019 (the
“Response”). (See ECF #59.) Greene has
not filed any objections of her own to the R & R.
reasons stated below, the Court OVERRULES
the Objections, ADOPTS the recommended
disposition of the R & R, GRANTS IN PART AND
DENIES IN PART Greene's motion to dismiss, and
DENIES Horton's motion for summary
party objects to a portion of a Magistrate Judge's R
& R, the Court reviews that portion de novo.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); Lyons v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 351 F.Supp.2d 659, 661 (E.D.
Mich. 2004). The Court has no duty to conduct an independent
review of the portions of the R & R to which a party has
not objected. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149
one aspect of the R & R is relevant to Horton's
Objections: the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that
the Court deny Horton's motion for summary judgment. (R
& R, ECF #57 at Pg. ID 477.) The Magistrate Judge
explained the basis for that recommendation as follows:
Because Horton is the plaintiff in this case, to prevail on
his summary judgment motion, he must make a showing
“sufficient for the court to hold that no reasonable
trier of fact could find other than for him.”
Calderone v. U.S., 799 F.2d 254, 259 (6th Cir.
1986). In his motion, Horton alleges that Greene issued the
misconduct tickets against him because of his grievances, and
made several statements to that effect. Though Horton claims
to have verification of these statements, Greene denies the
allegations. (Doc. #43 at 4-5). As the parties' competing
assertions bear directly on an element of Horton's First
Amendment retaliation claim, genuine issues of material fact
exist. For these reasons, Horton has not overcome the
“substantially higher hurdle” he faces as the
moving party with the burden of proof, and summary judgment
in Horton's favor should be denied. Arnett v.
Myers, 281 F.3d 552, 561 (6th Cir. 2002).
argues that the Magistrate Judge erred in recommending denial
of his summary judgment motion because his Complaint was
“supported with extensive evidence” and
“Defendant at no stage has submitted any material
evidence to contest the evidence against her.”
(Id.) Horton is correct that Greene has not
submitted her own evidence. Horton is also correct that
Greene's denials in her Answer to the Amended Complaint
are not sufficient to create a material fact dispute
precluding summary judgment. (See R & R, ECF #57
at Pg. ID 477 (citing Answer, ECF #43 at Pg. ID 293-94).)
the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Horton is not
entitled to summary judgment. As the Magistrate Judge noted,
where a plaintiff moves for summary judgment on a claim for
which he bears the burden of proof at trial, he faces a
“significantly higher hurdle.” (Id.
(quoting Arnett v. Myers,281 F.3d 552, 561 (6th
Cir. 2002)).) The Court has carefully reviewed the record and
has concluded that the evidence thus far presented by Horton
does not clear this high hurdle because, among other things,
there are certain inconsistencies in the evidence. In light
of those inconsistencies, a reasonable jury assessing ...