Harley v. Ward et al
ORDER ADOPTING 40 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION for 19 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by Thomas Harley, 15 Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Thomas Harley. It is ORDERED that Plaintiff's amended comp laint is DISMISSED without prejudice and without service of process as to Defendants Ward, Mauney, Claytar, and Popella. Plaintiff's claim for denial of access to courts is also DISMISSED without prejudice. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 15, and motion for judgment on the pleadings, ECF No. 19 are DENIED, without prejudice and with leave to refile at the appropriate time. Signed by Honorable R Bryan Harwell on 5/1/2014. (abuc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
ROCK HILL DIVISION
Robert Ward, Director; Larry
Cartledge, Warden; A/W Mauney; )
Maj. Earley; Cpt. Miller; Lt.
Cashwell; Sgt. McCall; C/O
Gardner; Harper, HCA; N/P Enloe; )
PRN Dean; State Class. Com.
Director; Lt. Lt Robinson; Sgt.
Popella; Plan Wk’er Ogunsile; A/W )
Civil Action No.: 0:13-cv-2350-RBH
Plaintiff Thomas Harley (“Plaintiff”), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his constitutional rights. See Am. Compl., ECF
No. 28 at 3.
The matter is now before the Court after the issuance of the Report and
Recommendation (“R & R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett.1 In the R & R, the
Magistrate Judge recommends that the Amended Complaint be summarily dismissed as to
Defendants Ward, Claytar, Mauney, and Popella, without prejudice and without service of process.
See R & R, ECF No. 40 at 6. The R & R also recommends that Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary
Judgment, ECF No. 15, and Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, ECF No. 19, be denied as
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 (D.S.C.), this matter was
referred to the Magistrate Judge for pretrial handling. The Magistrate Judge’s review of Plaintiff’s
complaint was conducted pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and
1915A. The Court is mindful of its duty to liberally construe the pleadings of pro se litigants. See
Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978); but see Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775
F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
untimely with leave to refile. See id. Finally, it recommends that Plaintiff’s denial of access to
courts claim be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See id. at 5.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the district court.
recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination
remains with the district court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270–71 (1976). The district
court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R to which
specific objection is made, and the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. §
The district court is obligated to conduct a de novo review of every portion of the Magistrate
Judge’s report to which objections have been filed. Id. However, the court need not conduct a de
novo review when a party makes only “general and conclusory objections that do not direct the
[C]ourt to a specific error in the [M]agistrate’s proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano
v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). The Court reviews only for clear error in the absence
of a specific objection. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th
After conducting a liberal construction of the Amended Complaint—which the Court notes
is mostly incoherent and vague—the Magistrate Judge determined that Plaintiff asserts the
following: various claims related to the conditions of his confinement, inadequate medical care,
excessive force, and harassment.2 See ECF No. 40 at 2–3. The Magistrate Judge conducted a
thorough review of Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, and recommended the Court find that it fails to
allege any facts showing personal involvement by Defendants Ward, Mauney, or Claytar in
connection with any alleged constitutional violation. See id. at 4–5. With regard to Plaintiff’s
denial of access to the courts, the Magistrate Judge recommended finding that, to the extent Plaintiff
raises this claim, he has not alleged any actual injury and thus has failed to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. See id. at 5. Finally, with regard to Defendant Popella, the Magistrate Judge
recommended finding that Plaintiff’s allegations that Defendant Popella failed to serve him a drink
with his meal on a single occasion did not rise to the level of the “extreme deprivation” required to
make a valid conditions of confinement claim. See id.
Plaintiff timely filed objections to the R & R. The Court may only consider objections to
the R & R that direct it to a specific error in the Magistrate Judge’s R & R. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
72(b); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 n.4 (4th Cir. 1984); Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d
841, 845–47 nn. 1–3 (4th Cir. 1985). “Courts have . . . held de novo review to be unnecessary in . .
. situations when a party makes general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a
specific error in the [Magistrate Judge’s] proposed findings and recommendation.” Orpiano, 687
F.2d at 47. Furthermore, in the absence of specific objections to the R & R, this Court is not
required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation. Camby, 718 F.2d at 199.
Plaintiff’s objections do not point the Court to any specific error by the Magistrate Judge.
Nevertheless, after conducting its own thorough review of the Amended Complaint, the Court finds
that it agrees with the Magistrate Judge. Therefore, the Court adopts the Magistrate Judge’s
analysis in the R & R as its own. See ECF No. 40 at 4–7.
The R & R contains a more extensive attempt at translating the allegations of the Complaint. See
ECF No. 40 at 1–2.
The Court has thoroughly reviewed the entire record, including Plaintiff’s amended
complaint, the R & R, Plaintiff’s objections to the R & R, and applicable law. For the reasons
stated above and by the Magistrate Judge, the Court hereby overrules Plaintiff’s objections and
adopts the Magistrate Judge’s R & R.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s amended complaint is DISMISSED
without prejudice and without service of process as to Defendants Ward, Mauney, Claytar, and
Popella. Plaintiff’s claim for denial of access to courts is also DISMISSED without prejudice.
Finally, Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 15, and motion for judgment on the
pleadings, ECF No. 19 are DENIED, without prejudice and with leave to refile at the appropriate
time. The remaining Defendants and other claims concerning them shall proceed as recommended
by the Magistrate Judge.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/ R. Bryan Harwell
R. Bryan Harwell
United States District Judge
Florence, South Carolina
May 1, 2014
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