Burwell v. Dorning et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala on 6/30/2016. (KMG)
2016 Jun-30 PM 05:56
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
SHERIFF BLAKE DORNING, et al.,
Case No. 5:15-cv-00008-MHH-JHE
On April 18, 2016, the magistrate judge filed a report in which he screened
plaintiff Vincent Burwell’s pro se complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
(Doc. 11). Based on his evaluation of the factual allegations in Mr. Burwell’s
complaint (Doc. 1) and the legal defenses which he anticipated to Mr. Burwell’s
claims, the magistrate judge recommended that the Court dismiss Mr. Burwell’s
complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. (Doc. 11). The magistrate judge advised Mr. Burwell that he had the
opportunity to file specific written objections to the report and recommendation
within fourteen (14) days, and the magistrate judge explained that failure to object
to his factual findings would bar review of those findings “except for plain error.”
(Doc. 11, p. 8). The Court has not received written objections from Mr. Burwell.
On this record, the Court reviews the magistrate judge’s report and
A district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). A
district court reviews legal conclusions in a report de novo and reviews for plain
error factual findings to which no objection is made. Garvey v. Vaughn, 993 F.2d
776, 779 n.9 (11th Cir. 1993); see also LoConte v. Dugger, 847 F.2d 745, 749
(11th Cir. 1988); Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 Fed. Appx. 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006).1
The Court finds no misstatements of law in the magistrate judge’s report.
The Court finds no plain error in the magistrate judge’s findings that the Madison
Metro Jail is not a legal entity subject to suit and that Mr. Burwell has not named
Officers Jordan, William, and Bell as defendants. (Doc. 11, pp. 5-6). The Court
also finds no plain error in the magistrate judge’s description of the factual
allegations concerning the City of Huntsville and Judge Zimmerman. (Doc. 11,
The report’s description of the factual allegations concerning the supervisory
liability claim against Sheriff Dorning is a bit too narrow. The report states that
Mr. Burwell “described only two incidents where jail staff allegedly violated his
When a party objects to a report in which a magistrate judge recommends dismissal of the
action, a district court must “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. §§
constitutional rights by denting him a disciplinary hearing.” (Doc. 11, p. 5). In his
complaint, Mr. Burwell described two specific incidents in which he allegedly was
deprived of a disciplinary hearing, but he also alleged that “[t]he jail does all
inmates like that.” Viewing the allegations in the complaint in the light most
favorable to Mr. Burwell and construing his allegations liberally because he is
proceeding pro se,2 the Court finds that Mr. Burwell has alleged widespread abuse
that, if proven, would put “the responsible supervisor on notice of the need to
correct the alleged deprivation.” (Doc. 11, p. 4). Nevertheless, the Court finds that
Mr. Burwell’s supervisory liability claim is subject to dismissal because Mr.
Burwell asks the Court to reprimand the jail staff for violating his due process
rights, but Mr. Burwell no longer is incarcerated in the Madison Metro Jail. (Docs.
4, 5, 11). Therefore, Mr. Burwell’s claim is moot.
Consequently, the Court accepts the magistrate judge’s recommendation and
finds that this action should be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b)(1) for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
A Final Judgment will be entered.
DONE and ORDERED this June 30, 2016.
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
See Boxer X v. Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006).
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