Hooks v. Chapman et al
ORDER RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION adopting 16 Report and Recommendation, dismissing Plaintiff's Complaint without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. Signed by Honorable G Ross Anderson, Jr on 12/21/2012. (jpet, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
ROCK HILL DIVISION
Donald Patrick Hooks,
B. Chapman; FNU Simms,
C/A No.: 0:12-cv-02416-GRA
This matter comes before the Court for review of United States Magistrate
Judge Paige J. Gossett’s Report and Recommendation made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), D.S.C., and filed on November
30, 2012. Plaintiff commenced this pro se action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown
Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 397 (1971) in the
Middle District of Florida, but it was transferred to the District of South Carolina on
August 20, 2012 because the case concerns claims that arose in the Federal
Correctional Institution in Bennettsville, South Carolina. Magistrate Judge Gossett
recommends that this Court dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint against Defendants without
prejudice and without issuance and service of process.
Plaintiff timely filed his
objections to the Report and Recommendation on December 12, 2012.1 ECF No. 18.
For the reasons stated herein, the Court adopts the magistrate’s recommendation in
Petitioner brings this claim pro se. This Court is required to construe pro se
pleadings liberally. Such pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those
Prisoner petitions are deemed filed at the time that they are delivered to prison authorities for mailing
to the court clerk. Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 276 (1988).
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drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). This
Court is charged with liberally construing a pleading filed by a pro se litigant to allow
for the development of a potentially meritorious claim. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S.
364, 365 (1982).
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final
determination remains with this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71
(1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions
of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made, and this
Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court may
also "receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate with
In the absence of specific objections to the Report and
Recommendation, this Court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the
recommendation. Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198 (4th. Cir. 1983).
Upon review, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s objections are without merit.
Plaintiff first objects to the portion of the Report and Recommendation that suggested
that “in the absence of any allegation of actual injury or any allegation of the
deprivation of a single identifiable human need, the plaintiff has failed to allege claims
which amount to a constitutional violation.” ECF No. 16. Specifically, Plaintiff states
that he is “unaware of any precedent of this court to effect that psychological pain is
not recognized for constitutional purposes.” ECF No. 18.
To make a prima facie showing that prison conditions violate the Eighth
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Amendment, a plaintiff must show “(1) a serious deprivation of a basic human need;
and (2) deliberate indifference to prison conditions on the part of prison officials.”
Strickler v. Waters, 989 F.2d 1375, 1379 (4th Cir. 1993). Certainly, subjecting “a
prisoner to lack of sanitation that is severe or prolonged” can rise to the level of a
“serious deprivation of a basic human need.” Anderson v. Cnty. of Kern, 45 F.3d
1310, 1314 (9th Cir. 1995); see McCray v. Burrell, 516 F.2d 357, 366–69 (4th Cir.
1974) (prisoner placed naked in a bare, concrete cell with excrement-encrusted pit
toilet for 48 hours without bedding, a sink, washing facilities, or personal hygiene
stated a claim). However, in this case, the Magistrate Judge correctly found that
Plaintiff’s claim that he was only temporarily denied access to a bathroom and had to
wait for a clean jumpsuit, while undoubtedly uncomfortable, did not rise to the level of
an Eighth Amendment violation. Plaintiff’s claim cannot be said to be a “severe or
prolonged” deprivation of a basic human need. Id.
Furthermore, to show that conditions are extreme enough to raise an Eighth
Amendment claim, a plaintiff must “produce evidence of a serious or significant
physical or emotional injury resulting from the challenged conditions or demonstrate a
substantial risk of such serious harm resulting from the prisoner’s unwilling exposure
to the challenged conditions.” Shakka v. Smith, 71 F.3d 162 (4th Cir. 1995) (internal
citations omitted). Thus, while emotional harm resulting from prison conditions may
sometimes state an Eighth Amendment claim, Plaintiff’s allegations that he suffered
“psychological harm” from temporarily being deprived of bathroom access and having
to wait on a clean jumpsuit on one occasion simply do not rise to the level of a
“serious or significant . . . emotional injury.” Moreover, Plaintiff is not entitled to bring
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a claim for emotional distress in the absence of a showing of physical injury. As the
Magistrate Judge correctly stated, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e) precludes a civil action “by a
prisoner confined in a . . . correctional facility, for mental or emotional injury suffered
while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury.”
Plaintiff fails to show a “serious or significant . . . emotional injury” and does not allege
any physical injury, his Eighth Amendment claim fails.
As to Plaintiff’s other objections, the Court finds that these objections are
conclusory, non-specific, or unrelated to the dispositive portions of the magistrate’s
Report and Recommendation.
Therefore, after a thorough review of the record, this Court finds that the
magistrate’s Report and Recommendation accurately summarizes this case and the
Accordingly, the Report and Recommendation is accepted and
adopted in its entirety.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Complaint is DISMISSED
without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
December 21, 2012
Anderson, South Carolina
NOTICE OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
Plaintiff has the right to appeal this Order within thirty (30) days from the date
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of the entry of this Order, pursuant to Rules 3 and 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate
Procedure. Failure to meet this deadline, as modified by Rule 4 of the Federal Rules
of Appellate Procedure, will waive the right to appeal.
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