McClain v. Fate et al
ORDER AND OPINION adopting the 89 Report and Recommendation and denying without prejudice Plaintiff's 29 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by Honorable Margaret B. Seymour on 3/30/2017. (bgoo) (Main Document 160 replaced on 3/31/2017 with corrected scan of document.) (bgoo)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
ROCK HILL DIVISION
Mr. McClain, Pro Se Plaintiff,
) Civil Action No. 0:15-4516-MBS-PJG
ORDER AND OPINION
Dir. Fate, et alia,
Plaintiff Daniel R. McClain (“Plaintiff”), an inmate in the custody of the South Carolina
Department of Corrections (SCDC), filed this pro se suit alleging violations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. ECF No. 1 at 6-11; ECF No. 9 at 5. Plaintiff also filed a
state law claim for medical malpractice. ECF No. 1 at 2. This matter is before the Court on
Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunctive relief, filed August 1, 2016. ECF No. 29.
I. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff is incarcerated at Turbeville Correctional Institution in Turbeville, South
Carolina. ECF No. 1 at 1. Defendant is the Medical Director of the SCDC. ECF No. 1 at 2. On
November 6, 2015, Plaintiff filed the underlying suit alleging that at various times throughout his
sixteen year duration in custody his “multiple illnesses have been abandoned by medical staff.”
ECF No. 1 at 6. Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from degenerative disc disease as previously
diagnosed by SCDC for which Plaintiff has undergone an MRI. ECF No. 1 at 6. Plaintiff further
alleges that he suffers from a variety of other illnesses that have not been treated because he is
unable to ambulate without adequate pain medication. These additional illnesses include:
diabetes, reflux disease, gall-bladder cramps, muscle seizures, vertigo, insomnia, fatigue, pain
and stress, and a blood clot in his left toe. Id. at 6-7. Plaintiff contends that these aliments go
unanswered by the medical staff who he alleges “refuse [him] emergency treatment for his
illnesses.” Id. The court has construed Plaintiff’s complaint to allege that Defendant violated
Plaintiff’s rights pursuant to the Eighth Amendment, which ensures humane conditions of
confinement, including adequate medical care. Plaintiff seeks both punitive and compensatory
damages for his pain, suffering, and inevitable future issues. ECF No. 1 at 11.
On August 1, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion for immediate injunctive relief where he
requests that the court intervene and direct S.L.E.D. and the F.B.I. to grant Plaintiff immediate
relief from “unenforced state and federal statutes at SCDC.” ECF No. 29. Specifically, Plaintiff
claims that SCDC personnel deliberately ignore his medical needs and fail to provide him with
adequate treatment. Id. Further, Plaintiff asserts that he is under continual harassment and abuse.
He claims that he is deprived of adequate hydration and nutrition and that he has been forced to
live in unsanitary quarters. Id. Plaintiff believes that SCDC officials and staff are
“experimenting to test the physical and mental limits of the plaintiff” and are attempting to
induce a stroke or heart attack through their assaults. ECF No. 29 at 1. Plaintiff argues that the
aforementioned aliments exist as a result of the “intentional failure” to address the underlying
cause of his degenerative disc by SCDC medical staff.1
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02, D.S.C., this matter was
referred to United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett for pre-trial handling. On December
14, 2016, Judge Gossett issued a Report and Recommendation (“Report”) recommending that
Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction be denied. ECF No. 89 at 4. Plaintiff filed
Plaintiff filed this matter alleging a claim of deliberate indifference to his medical needs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. While his complaint details a plethora of medical issues, Plaintiff’s primary allegation appears to be that his
degenerative disc disease was not sufficiently treated, and he continues to suffer as a result of that. See generally
ECF No. 45.
objections to the Report on December 21, 2016, and on January 9, 2017, respectively. ECF No.
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation
has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with this
court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court reviews de novo only
those portions of a Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation to which specific objections
are filed, and reviews those portions which are not objected to—including those portions to
which only “general and conclusory” objections have been made—for clear error. Diamond v.
Colonia Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005); Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198,
200 (4th Cir. 1983); Opriano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). The court may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit
to the Magistrate Judge for pretrial handling. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
For the reasons set forth below, the court adopts Judge Gossett’s Report and
Recommendation. Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction is DENIED.
The court may issue a preliminary injunction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
65. A preliminary injunction serves a limited purpose and is granted to “preserve the relative
positions of the parties until a trial on the merits can be held.” Univ. of Tex. v. Camenisch, 451
U.S. 390, 395 (1981). Injunctive relief regarding the administration of a state prison should be
granted only in compelling circumstances when only preliminary findings as to the likelihood of
success on the merits has been made. See Taylor v. Freeman, 34 F.3d 266, 269 (4th Cir. 1994).
A preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right.” Winter
v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008). Courts must balance competing claims of
injury while considering, in terms of each party, the effects of granting or withholding the relief.
Id. To obtain a preliminary injunction, the plaintiff must show four elements: (1) he is likely to
succeed on the merits; (2) he is likely to suffer irreparable harm if the preliminary injunction is
not granted; (3) the balance of equities is in his favor; and (4) the injunction is in the public
interest. See id. at 20; see also Machinery Solutions, Inc. v. Doosan Corp., No. 3:15-cv-03447,
2015 WL 5554357, at *2 (D.S.C. Sept. 18, 2015)(explaining that the Fourth Circuit no longer
recognizes a “flexible interplay” among the four criteria in order to grant a preliminary
injunction). Additionally, a plaintiff must make a clear showing that he is likely to suffer
irreparable harm absent injunctive relief. Id. at 21. A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction
must establish each of the elements to be granted relief. Id. at 20.
In the Report, Judge Gossett found that Plaintiff was seeking injunctive relief against
parties who were not named in the action and recommended dismissal of such claims. ECF No.
89 at 3. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a)(1). Judge Gossett further determined that Plaintiff failed to
establish that he is able to meet the first prong of the Winter test that requires that he show a
likelihood of success on the merits, and that Plaintiff failed to show that he would suffer
irreparable harm if the injunctive relief is not granted. ECF No. 89 at 3. Judge Gossett noted
that Plaintiff’s allegations that, without the court’s intervention, his life will be “prematurely
terminated” are unsupported and insufficient to clearly show that Plaintiff will suffer irreparable
harm absent injunctive relief. See Winter, 555 U.S. at 21.
Plaintiff’s first objection merely restates the claims already alleged in the record and do
not object to any specific error in the report. ECF No. 92. Therefore, the court is not bound to
review the matter de novo as to that objection. Taylor v. Tripp, No 6:11-2598, 2011 WL
5526069 (D.S.C. Nov. 14, 2011) (citing Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47-48 (4th Cir.
Plaintiff’s second objection describes matters, such as his allegation of mail fraud, not
fully pleaded in the complaint and therefore have no weight on the instant action. ECF No. 112
at 1. Plaintiff further objects to a Magistrate Judge handling pretrial matters. Yet, a court may
allow a Magistrate Judge to hear and determine pre-trial matters before the court and a judge may
review the Magistrate Judge’s findings under the clear error standard. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A). The court has reviewed the record de novo and found no clear error in Judge
After reviewing the entire record, the applicable law, the findings of the Magistrate
Judge, and Plaintiff’s objections, this court adopts the Magistrate Judge’s Report and
Recommendation as to the preliminary injunction. Plaintiff cannot show he is substantially likely
to succeed on the merits or suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted. Therefore,
Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Margaret B. Seymour
Margaret B. Seymour
Senior United States District Judge
Columbia, South Carolina
March 30, 2017
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