Palmer et al v. Elrod et al
OPINION and ORDER (1) Adopting Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, and (2) Granting Defendants' 18 27 Motions for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (RLou)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
DERRICK PALMER and
Case No. 16-13665
Honorable Linda V. Parker
ELROD, GEORGE STEPHENSON,
KRISTOPHER STEECE, P.C. JENKINS,
BRIDGES, TOM SCHULTE, L. MACEACHERN,
M. THOMAS, and GETTER,
OPINION AND ORDER (1) ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S
AUGUST 9, 2017 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [ECF NO. 36] AND
(2) GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
[ECF NOS. 18, 27]
This is a civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by Michigan
prisoners Derrick Palmer and Philip Berryman. At this time, Palmer is the only
remaining Plaintiff and Marlon Thomas, Amie Jenkins, Kristopher Steece, and
William Bridges are the only remaining defendants (hereafter “Defendants”). On
February 10, 2017, Jenkins, Bridges, and Steece filed a motion for summary
judgment based on Palmer’s alleged failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
(ECF No. 18.) On April 10, 2017, Thomas filed a similar motion. (ECF No. 27.)
This matter has been referred to Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford for all
pretrial proceedings, including a hearing and determination of all non-dispositive
matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and/or a report and recommendation
(“R&R”) on all dispositive matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).
On August 9, 2017, Magistrate Judge Stafford issued an R&R
recommending that this Court grant Defendants’ motions for summary judgment.
(ECF No. 36.) Magistrate Judge Stafford concludes that Palmer failed to exhaust
his administrative remedies prior to filing this lawsuit. (Id. at Pg ID 352.)
Magistrate Judge Stafford also concludes that Defendants are entitled to Eleventh
Amendment Immunity to the extent Palmer is suing them in their official
capacities for monetary damages and that they are entitled to qualified immunity.
(Id. at Pg ID 353.) As to the latter, Magistrate Judge Stafford finds that Palmer
fails to establish a violation of his constitutional rights based on Defendants’ false
accusations of misconduct. (Id. at Pg ID 354.) Magistrate Judge Stafford further
finds that Palmer fails to allege a First Amendment retaliation claim because he
does not show that he suffered an adverse action taken against him that would
deter a person of ordinary firmness from engaging in protected conduct and
because he makes only conclusory allegations to show that any adverse action was
motivated, even in part, by the protected conduct. (Id. at Pg ID 355-56.)
At the conclusion of the R&R, Magistrate Judge Stafford informs the parties
that they must file any objections to the R&R within fourteen days. (Id. at Pg ID
357.) She further advises that the “[f]ailure to file specific objections constitutes a
waiver of any further right of appeal.” (Id., citations omitted). No objections were
The Court has carefully reviewed the R&R and concurs with the conclusions
reached by Magistrate Judge Stafford. The Court therefore is adopting Magistrate
Judge Stafford’s August 9, 2017 R&R. Yet,the Court notes one disagreement with
Magistrate Judge Stafford’s analysis.
With respect to Palmer’s claims based on Defendants’ accusations of
misconduct, Magistrate Judge Stafford writes: “False accusations of misconduct do
not violate a prisoner’s constitutional rights.” (Id. at Pg ID 354, citing Jackson v.
Madery, 158 F. App’x 656, 662-63 (6th Cir. 2005).) This is not an accurate
statement of the law under Sixth Circuit precedent. False accusations of
misconduct may violate a prisoner’s constitutional rights; but, if the prisoner is
found guilty of the misconduct after a hearing, the claim fails. Jackson, 158 F.
App’x at 662 (quoting Henderson v. Baird, 29 F.3d 464, 469 (8th Cir. 1994) (“A
finding of guilt based upon some evidence of a violation of prison rules ‘essentially
checkmates a retaliation claim.’ ”)). Magistrate Judge Stafford correctly reasoned,
however, that Palmer’s claim fails for the additional reason that he received a fair
hearing with respect to the false misconduct report. Jackson, 158 F. App’x at 662
(citing Cale v. Johnson, 861 F.2d 943, 953 (6th Cir. 1988)) (“False accusations of
misconduct filed against an inmate do not constitute a deprivation of constitutional
rights where the charges are adjudicated in a fair hearing.).
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ motions for summary judgment (ECF
Nos. 18, 27) are GRANTED.
s/ Linda V. Parker
LINDA V. PARKER
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: September 25, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of
record and/or pro se parties on this date, September 25, 2017, by electronic and/or
U.S. First Class mail.
s/ R. Loury
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