United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (DOC. 38)
AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (DOC. 23) AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
BENCH TRIAL ON EXHAUSTION (DOC. 26)
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a prisoner civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In
2018, while incarcerated at Parnall Correctional Facility,
plaintiff Edward Burley (Burley) filed a complaint against
several Macomb Correctional Facility defendants: (a) Michelle
Williams-Ward, an Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor (ARUS);
(b) Warden Randall Haas; (c) Deputy Warden George Stephenson;
(d) Regina Jenkins-Grant, a Resident Unit Manager (RUM); and,
(e) “S. Williams, ” who later appeared as
“Carylon Williams.” Burley has been a prolific
litigator in both the Eastern and Western district courts.
Burley claims he has been retailed against because of his
frequent filing and has been denied his right to access the
courts, including not having his legal mail sent out and not
being able to communicate with other prisoners. The matter
has been referred to a magistrate judge. (Doc. 14).
Defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment,
contending that all of Burley's claims but one are not
exhausted. (Doc. 23). Burley filed a motion for a bench trial
on the issue of exhaustion. (Doc. 26). The magistrate judge
issued a report and recommendation (MJRR), recommending that
both motions be denied. (Doc. 38).
the Court are defendants' objections to the MJRR (Doc.
42). For the reasons that follow, the MJRR will be adopted
and both motions will be denied.
district court must conduct a de novo review of the parts of
a magistrate judge's report and recommendation to which a
party objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The district
"court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in
part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate" judge. Id. A general objection, or
one that merely restates the arguments previously presented,
is not sufficient to alert the court to alleged errors on the
part of the magistrate judge. An "objection" that
does nothing more than state a disagreement with a magistrate
judge's suggested resolution, or simply summarizes what
has been presented before, is not an objection as that term
is used in this context. Howard v. Sec'y of Health
and Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 508 (6th Cir. 1991)
("It is arguable in this case that Howard's counsel
did not file objections at all.... [I]t is hard to see how a
district court reading [the ‘objections'] would
know what Howard thought the magistrate had done
object to the magistrate judge's finding that defendants
did not meet their burden of establishing that Burley failed
to exhaust his administrative remedies. They raise three
arguments. Each is addressed in turn below.
first say that the magistrate judge erred because he did not
address their argument that Burley failed to name certain
defendants in his grievances. Defendants are mistaken. The
magistrate judge noted that defendants took too narrow of a
view of the relevant grievances and time period and found
that when considering a broader record, defendants had not
met their burden of showing Burley failed to
also say that the magistrate judge erred in recommending that
the grievance process was not made available to Burley with
respect to some defendants. The magistrate judge, after a
careful and thorough review of the record, found that Burley
provided evidence to support his argument that he was unable
to pursue grievances against some of the defendants.
Defendants simply disagree with the magistrate judge's
view of the record, contending that Burley's evidence is
insufficient. The Court, having reviewed the matter, agrees
with the magistrate judge. Burley put forth enough evidence
to rebut defendants' contention that Burley failed to
exhaust his administrative remedies as a matter of law.
their final objection, defendants contend that the Court
should order a bench trial on whether Burley was prevented
from filing grievances. This argument is surprising because
Burley filed such a motion and defendants argued against such
relief. Now that the magistrate judge has concluded
defendants failed to meet their summary judgment burden,
defendants ask for a bench trial. The magistrate judge
concluded that a bench trial was not necessary. The Court
agrees for the reasons stated by the magistrate judge.
the Court is satisfied that defendants are not entitled to
summary judgment on the grounds that Burley failed to exhaust
his administrative remedies.
point: the magistrate judge recommends that Burley be
permitted leave to clarify his claims against Williams.
Defendants have not objected to this recommendation and the
Court agrees for the reasons stated in ...