Rainey v. Bethea et al
ORDER AND OPINION adopting the 56 Report and Recommendation and granting the Defendants' 50 motion for summary judgment. Signed by Honorable Richard M. Gergel on 7/20/2017. (bgoo)
IN THE UNITED ST ATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
ROCK HILL DIVISION
Larry Jerome Rainey,
Classification Mr. Bethea; Mrs. Roberts;
Ms. Styles; Mr. Willie Eagleton,
Civil Action No. 0:16-2113-RMG
ORDER AND OPINION
This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate
Judge, recommending that Defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted. For the reasons
set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation.
Plaintiff was incarcerated at Evans Correctional Institution of the South Carolina
Department of Corrections on September 22, 2015 , when he asserts that as he was taking the stairs
to his room, he fell and broke three ribs on his right side. He claims he has a "medical profile"
indicates that he should not climb or lift anything over ten pounds, but Defendants nevertheless
placed him in a housing unit that required him to walk down stairs to access his bed. He also
claims that using stairs caused his left knee to swell. Plaintiff filed this action on June 20, 2016,
alleging Defendants placed Plaintiff in improper housing based on his medical profile in violation
of the Eighth Amendment. On June 29, 2017, the Magistrate Judge recommended summary
judgment for Defendants. Plaintiff filed no objections to the Report and Recommendation.
Report and Recommendation
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation
has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making 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. Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). This Court
may also "receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions." Id. Where the plaintiff fails to file any specific objections, "a district court need not
conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face
of the record in order to accept the recommendation," see Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident
Ins. Co., 416 F .3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted), and this Court is not
required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, Camby
v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198 (4th Cir. 1983).
Summary judgment is appropriate if a party "shows that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact" and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a). In other words, summary judgment should be granted "only when it is clear that there is no
dispute concerning either the facts of the controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those
facts. " Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). "In determining
whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities in
favor of the nonmoving party." HealthSouth Rehab. Hosp. v. Am. Nat'! Red Cross, 101F.3d1005,
1008 (4th Cir. 1996). The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of
demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
Once the moving party has made this threshold demonstration, the non-moving party, to
survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings.
Id. at 324. Rather, the non-moving party must demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that
give rise to a genuine issue. Id. Under this standard, "[c]onclusory or speculative allegations do
not suffice, nor does a 'mere scintilla of evidence"' in support of the non-moving party's case.
Thompson v. Potomac Elec. Power Co., 312 F.3d 645, 649 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Phillips v.
CSX Transp., Inc., 190 F.3d 285, 287 (4th Cir. 1999)).
To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) that a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was
committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
The present complaint, which alleges failure to provide appropriate medical care or
accommodations, is properly construed as a claim of deliberate indifference to medical needs in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. A deliberate indifference claim requires an inmate to establish
( 1) a sufficiently serious deprivation occurred, resulting "in the denial of the minimal civilized
measure of life's necessities," and (2) that the prison official had a sufficiently culpable state of
mind. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994).
The Magistrate Judge recommends summary judgment for Defendants because Plaintiff
has produced no evidence that a serious deprivation of medical care or accommodations has
occurred. The Court agrees. Plaintiff has not even stated what condition prevents him from using
stairs. Medical records show that while Plaintiff has a history of reporting back, neck, and knee
issues, medical personnel have found nothing wrong with Plaintiff's back, neck, or knee and
believed Plaintiff was malingering. Further, there is no evidence Plaintiff suffered broken ribs on
September 22, 2015. Because there is no evidence Plaintiff has suffered any deprivation of
medical care, much less a deprivation sufficiently serious to violate the Constitution, Defendants
are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 56) as the Order of the Court and GRANTS Defendants' motion for
summary judgment (Dkt. No. 50.).
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.
Richard Mark Gergel
United States District Court Judge
July i !D, 2017
Charleston, South Carolina
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