Crawford v. Washington et al
OPINION and ORDER (1) Rejecting Plaintiff's 32 Objections to Magistrate Judge's 25 Report and Recommendation; (2) Adopting 25 Report and Recommendation; and (3) Granting 22 Motion to Dismiss and/or for Summary Judgment Filed by Defendants Heidi Washington and Michigan Department of Corrections. Signed by District Judge Linda V. Parker. (JOwe)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Civil Case No. 17-11423
Honorable Linda V. Parker
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS, CRAIG HUTCHINSON,
QUALITY CORRECTIONAL CARE OF
MICHIGAN, and MICHIGAN CORRECTIONS
OPINION AND ORDER (1) REJECTING PLAINTIFF’S OBJECTIONS TO
MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; (2)
ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; AND (3) GRANTING
MOTION TO DISMISS AND/OR FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT FILED BY
DEFENDANTS HEIDI WASHINGTON AND MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT
This is a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
alleges deliberate indifference to his medical needs in violation of his rights under
the Eighth Amendment. On August 29, 2017, Defendants Michigan Department of
Corrections (“MDOC”) and MDOC Director Heidi Washington (“Washington”)
filed a motion to dismiss and/or for summary judgment. (ECF No. 22.) The
matter has been assigned to Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti for all pretrial
proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B). (ECF No. 9.)
On November 7, 2017, Magistrate Judge Patti issued a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) in which he recommends that this Court grant
Defendants’ motion. (ECF. No. 25.) Magistrate Judge Patti first concludes that
MDOC is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. He then concludes that
Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to his claim
against Washington. Alternatively, Magistrate Judge Patti finds that Plaintiff fails
to allege direct involvement in the alleged unconstitutional conduct to impose
liability on Washington.
At the conclusion of the R&R, Magistrate Judge Patti informs the parties of
their right to file objections. Plaintiff filed objections to the R&R on November
22, 2017, which Plaintiff signed and dated on November 16, 2017. (ECF No. 32.)
Standard of Review
When objections are filed to a magistrate judge’s R&R on a dispositive
matter, the court “make[s] 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. § 636(b)(1). The court, however, “is not required to articulate all of the
reasons it rejects a party’s objections.” Thomas v. Halter, 131 F. Supp. 2d 942,
944 (E.D. Mich. 2001) (citations omitted). A party’s failure to file objections to
certain conclusions of the R&R waives any further right to appeal on those issues.
See Smith v. Detroit Fed’n of Teachers Local 231, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373 (6th Cir.
1987). Likewise, the failure to object to certain conclusions in the magistrate
judge’s R&R releases the court from its duty to review independently those issues.
See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985).
Objection & Analysis
Plaintiff lists six “objections” in his November 22, 2017 filing; however,
many of those objections do not assert an error in the R&R. For example, in two
of his objections, Plaintiff simply asserts that Defendants’ motion should have
been denied. In one objection, Plaintiff only acknowledges that MDOC is entitled
to Eleventh Amendment immunity. Plaintiff though does assert that Defendants’
motion should not have been granted before he was allowed an opportunity to
amend his Complaint and conduct discovery. He also challenges Magistrate Judge
Patti’s conclusion that he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to
Washington and that he failed to state an Eighth Amendment deliberate claim
As to any amendment of his Complaint, Plaintiff has not moved to amend
and has not indicated what any amendment would include to save his claims
against MDOC or Washington. Plaintiff indicates only that he would amend his
Complaint to withdraw his claim against the State and its entities. (Obj. at 2-3,
ECF No. 32 at Pg ID 174-75.)
In response to Defendants’ motion, Plaintiff did not identify any facts that
were unavailable to him and necessary to respond to Defendants’ arguments. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d). Moreover, Magistrate Judge Patti’s recommendation for
dismissal is based on the face of the Complaint and issues (immunity and
exhaustion) for which further discovery would not provide relevant information.
In other words, this Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Patti that additional
discovery on these issues could not change the outcome.
With respect to the exhaustion issue, Plaintiff refers the Court “to the
defendants’ own confession of exhaustion for [his] claims against both
defendants.” (Id. at 3, Pg ID 175.) Defendants, however, never conceded that
Plaintiff exhausted his claims against Washington. What they did concede was
that he fully exhausted three grievances in accordance with MDOC policy. (R&R
at 11, ECF No. 25 at Pg ID 141, citing ECF No. 22-3 at 2-4.) Defendants
contended that Washington was not named in any of those grievances. Plaintiff
has not demonstrated otherwise. As such, this Court agrees with Magistrate Judge
Patti that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to his
claim against Washington.
In Plaintiff’s objections to Magistrate Judge Patti’s holding that he failed to
state a claim against Washington, Plaintiff reasserts the same arguments he made
in response to Defendants’ motion—that is, that Washington is liable because of
her role as MDOC Director. Plaintiff identifies neither specific personal
involvement by Washington in his medical care nor her responsibility for any
policy that was the “moving force” behind the alleged deliberate indifference. As
Magistrate Judge Patti thoroughly explained in his R&R, Sixth Circuit precedent
requires a plaintiff to show that the defendant “‘either encouraged the specific
incident of misconduct or in some other way directly participated in it.’” (R&R at
22, ECF No. 25 at Pg ID 152, quoting Hays v. Jefferson Cty., Ky., 668 F.2d 869,
874 (6th Cir. 1982), emphasis added in R&R.) Further, in the Sixth Circuit, “[t]he
‘denial of administrative grievances or the failure to act’ by prison officials does
not subject supervisors to liability under § 1983.” Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567,
576 (6th Cir. 2008) (quoting Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999)).
For these reasons, the Court rejects Plaintiff’s objections to Magistrate Judge
Patti’s November 7, 2017 R&R. The Court, therefore, adopts the magistrate
judge’s recommendations in the R&R.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ motion to dismiss and/or for summary
judgment is GRANTED and Defendant MDOC and Washington are DISMISSED
from this action.
Dated: February 7, 2018
s/Linda V. Parker
U.S. District Court Judge
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of
record on February 7, 2018, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
s/Julie Owens acting in the absence of Richard Loury
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?