United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS AND ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a pro se inmate, filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against current or former Michigan Department of
Corrections employees. Defendant Ricumstrict was and is the
deputy warden at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility.
Defendant Thomas was and is a residential unit manager at the
same facility. Defendant Enders worked as a prison counselor
at the facility until his retirement in 2018.
claim revolves around an allegation that Defendants failed to
provide reasonable measures to guarantee his safety.
Plaintiff was twice assaulted by fellow inmates while at the
Gus Harrison Correctional Facility. Plaintiff claims these
assaults were a result of deliberate indifference on the part
of Defendants, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. U.S.
Const. amend. VIII. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he
filed a “kite” with Defendant prison officials.
The kite requested protection for Plaintiff from fellow
inmates, at least one of whom later assaulted Plaintiff.
Defendant Enders received the kite and passed it along to
Defendant Thomas. Defendant Thomas and Defendant Ricumstrict
interviewed plaintiff after his kite filing. After the
interview, Plaintiff returned to the cell unit where he was
originally placed and was then assaulted by two separate
inmates several weeks later. Plaintiff claims the first
assault was a result of Defendant Thomas and Defendant
Ricumstrict's deliberate indifference. (ECF No. 49,
PageID.492.) The second assault allegedly resulted from all
three Defendants' actions. (Id.)
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment regarding Plaintiff's
Eighth Amendment Claims. (ECF No. 47.) Magistrate Judge David
R. Grand reviewed Defendants' motion and issued a Report
and Recommendation (“R&R”). (ECF No. 53.)
Judge Grand recommended that Defendants' motion be
granted and Plaintiff's claims be dismissed.
(Id., PageID.676.) Plaintiff then filed objections
to the R&R, for which Defendants submitted a response.
(ECF Nos. 54, 56.)
reviewing the R&R and the parties' filings, the court
concludes that a hearing is unnecessary. See E.D.
Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons stated below, and in the
R&R, the court will overrule Plaintiff's objections
and adopt the R&R in its entirety without alteration.
filing of timely objections to an R&R requires the court
to “make a de novo determination of those
portions of the report or specified findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); see also United States v. Raddatz,
447 U.S. 667 (1980); United States v. Winters, 782
F.3d 289, 295 n.1 (6th Cir. 2015); United States v.
Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981). This de
novo review requires the court to re-examine all the
relevant evidence previously reviewed by the magistrate judge
to determine whether the recommendation should be accepted,
rejected, or modified in whole or in part. 28 U.S.C. §
filing of objections provides the district court with the
opportunity to consider the specific contentions of the
parties and to correct any errors immediately, ”
Walters, 638 F.2d at 950, enabling the court
“to focus attention on those issues-factual and
legal-that are at the heart of the parties' dispute,
” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 147 (1985). As
a result, “‘[o]nly 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.'” McClanahan v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 474 F.3d 830, 837 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Smith v. Detroit Fed'n of Teachers Local 231,
829 F.2d 1370, 1373 (6th Cir. 1987)).
Plaintiff's First Objection
first objection alleges that the R&R failed to recognize
a key assertion of Plaintiff's claim, namely that
Defendant Ricumstrict and Defendant Thomas falsified a
protection request investigation form. Plaintiff claims this
oversight provides sufficient basis for the court to reject
the R&R and deny Defendants' motion.
Plaintiff's indication, the R&R recognized
Plaintiff's claim that the information contained in the
protection request investigation form was incorrect. Judge
Grand specifically acknowledged that “[Plaintiff]
attests . . . that during the interview, he ‘never
stated that the threats were a misunderstanding or that he no
longer needed protection' and that he ‘requested to
be moved to Unit 4.'” (ECF No. 53, PageID.662
(citing ECF 49, ¶¶ 17-8).) Judge Grand indicated
that “the Court will assume for purposes of this motion
that during his interview with [Defendant] Ricumstrict and
[Defendant] Thomas, [Plaintiff] made the statements he
alleges and did not make the statements that [Defendant]
Ricumstrict and [Defendant] Thomas attribute to him.”
(Id.) Thus, despite the R&R recognizing
Plaintiff's allegations, the R&R still concluded that
Plaintiff failed to raise a material question of fact as to
whether Defendants' decisions were the proximate causes
of the assaults against Plaintiffs. (Id.,
PageID.671.) This conclusion rested on sound reasoning.
Plaintiff reported no additional concerns or threats against
him for an almost three-week period after his return to his
original unit, but before the first assault took place. (ECF
No. 47-2, ¶¶ 13-14; ECF No. 47-3, ¶¶
16-18; ECF No. 47-4, ¶¶ 12, 15-16.) This undisputed
passage of time indicates that there were other factors at
play in the assaults against Plaintiff and that
Defendants' actions did not proximately cause
Plaintiff's Second Objection
second objection concerns the R&R's finding that
Defendant Enders was not liable under the Eighth Amendment
for the second assault on Plaintiff. Plaintiff claims he
brought forward additional allegations in his response to
Defendants' motion that sufficiently create a dispute of
fact to survive summary judgment. However, courts look to
evidence, not allegations, at the summary judgment stage.
Plaintiff “must go beyond the pleadings and come
forward with specific facts to demonstrate that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Chao v. Hall Holding
Co., 285 F.3d 415, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). Here, the record
indicates that Defendant Enders performed his job
responsibilities to the best of his abilities. The evidence
provided shows that Defendant Enders received Plaintiff's
kite, ensured that Plaintiff was separated from potential
threats in “in-cell” status, and passed the kite
report on to Defendant Thomas for further action. (ECF No.
47-2, ¶¶ 6, 9; ECF No. 47-3, ¶ 10.) Defendant
Enders was subsequently not presented with a kite or any
complaints regarding the second assailant. (ECF No. 47-2
¶¶ 13-14; ECF No. 47-3, ¶¶ 16-18; ECF No.
47-4, ¶¶ 12, 14-15.) Knowing simply that ...