Johnson v. Keaton et al (INMATE1)

Filing 32

ORDER, JUDGMENT and DECREE of the court that: (1) Mr. Johnson's objection 31 is OVERRULED; (2) the 28 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION of the Mag Judge is ADOPTED; 3) defendants' 14 motion for summary judgment is GRANTED and this action is DISMISSED with prejudice; (4) the costs of this proceeding are TAXED against Mr. Johnson for which let execution issue. Signed by Honorable William Keith Watkins on 9/29/08. (djy, )

Download PDF
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION M IC H A E L JOHNSON, #146037, P l a in tif f , v. M U N C H IE KEATON, et al., D e f e n d a n ts . ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ORDER O n August 13, 2008, the Magistrate Judge filed a Recommendation (Doc. # 28) that D ef en d an ts ' motion for summary judgment be granted on Plaintiff Michael Johnson's (" Jo h n s o n " ) claims which are brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. Having received an e x te n sio n of time to file any objections to the Recommendation (Doc. # 30), Mr. Johnson tim e ly filed an Opposition (Doc. # 31), which the court construes as an Objection made p u rs u a n t to 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(C). The bulk of Mr. Johnson's Objection challenges an Order issued on March 29, 2006 ( D o c . # 18), denying a request for production of documents, and an Order entered on D e c em b e r 7, 2006 (Doc. # 24), denying Mr. Johnson's motion to amend to add claims for re lie f which occurred several months after initiation of this lawsuit. Notably, Mr. Johnson d i d not object to these orders at the time they were entered. Not only are his present o b je c tio n s to those orders untimely, but Mr. Johnson also has failed to demonstrate that the C A S E NO. 2:05-CV-1238-WKW (WO) M ag istrate Judge's rulings on these pretrial matters are either clearly erroneous or contrary to law. 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(A). Furthermore, having conducted an independent and de novo review, the court finds th a t Mr. Johnson's other objections fail to undermine the proposed findings and re c o m m e n d a tio n s of the Magistrate Judge. Id. For example, addressing Mr. Johnson's First A m e n d m e n t retaliation claim, the Magistrate Judge's recommendation emanates, in part, fro m facts garnered from Captain Jeffery Knox's affidavit, in particular, Captain Knox's s ta te m e n t that "Warden Mosley advised [Captain Knox] that she instructed inmate Johnson to assist other inmates with their legal work, but he was not authorized to possess their legal m aterials." (Doc. # 28 at 8, 10, 14.) In his objection, Mr. Johnson asserts that the court sh o u ld not consider any statements made by the Warden because those statements were in tro d u c e d through an affidavit from Captain Knox. (Doc. # 31 at 3.) The court interprets M r . Johnson's argument as an objection on hearsay grounds. This argument, however, fails. R u le 801(c) defines "hearsay" as "a statement, other than one made by the declarant w h ile testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter a ss e rte d ." Fed. R. Evid. 801(c). The court finds that the Warden's statements to Captain K n o x are not offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Rather, analogous to an o ff icer's consideration of third-party information on the question of probable cause, the court f in d s that the Warden's statements are offered to show the effect that the information had on C a p t a in Knox's assessment of whether cause existed to initiate disciplinary action against 2 M r. Johnson and, more specifically, whether to place Mr. Johnson in the restricted privilege d o rm . See Woods v. City of Chicago, 234 F.3d 979, 986-87 (7th Cir. 2000) (third-party s ta te m e n ts describing altercation between putative assault victim and arrestee admissible "not fo r their truth, but to show the effect that the statements had on the [arresting] officers[']" d e ter m in a tio n of probable cause); see also Fed. R. Evid. 803(3) (state of mind exception to h ea rsay rule). It is this limited purpose for which the court finds that it may consider Mr. K n o x 's testimony concerning the Warden's statements. Even assuming for the sake of a rg u m e n t that the Warden's statements to Mr. Knox are inadmissible hearsay, Mr. Johnson co u ld not prevail on his First Amendment retaliation claim because the Magistrate Judge's a lte rn a tiv e findings (Doc. # 28 at 15-20) independently support the entry of summary ju d g m e n t in Defendants' favor. Mr. Johnson simply has failed to carry his burden to defeat D e f en d a n ts ' properly supported motion for summary judgment; he has not demonstrated that a genuine issue of material fact exists for trial on any of his claims. Accordingly, it is the ORDER, JUDGMENT and DECREE of the court that: 1. 2. 3. M r. Johnson's Objection (Doc. # 31) is OVERRULED. T h e Magistrate Judge's Recommendation (Doc. # 28) is ADOPTED. D e f e n d a n ts' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED (Doc. # 14) and this a c tio n is DISMISSED with prejudice. 4. T h e costs of this proceeding are TAXED against Mr. Johnson for which let e x e cu tio n issue. 3 A n appropriate judgment will be entered. D O N E this 29th day of September, 2008. /s/ W. Keith Watkins UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?