Lytle v. Samuels et al
ORDER RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION: The court declines to adopt the Magistrate Judge's Report (ECF No. 21 ) and incorporates it herein. This matter is recommitted to the Magistrate Judge for further handling. Furt her, the Clerk of Court is ORDERED to change the nature of this suit from a prisoner civil rights action to a habeas action. As Plaintiff paid a filing fee of $400 (See ECF No. 17 -Receipt SCX400011815), he is entitled to a refund of $395 (the $400 filing fee he paid minus the $5.00 filing fee required in a habeas action). Accordingly, the Clerk of Court is ORDERED to issue Plaintiff a refund in the amount of $395.00 IT IS SO ORDERED. Signed by Honorable Timothy M Cain on 1/19/2017. (mcot, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Curtis Jerome Lytle,
Charles Samuel; Christopher
Zych; Curtis Mabe; and Dale Rupert,
Civil Action No. 5:16-2277-TMC
Plaintiff Curtis Jerome Lytle, proceeding pro se, filed this action pursuant to Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). (ECF No. 1,
Compl.). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02, D.S.C., this
matter was referred to a magistrate judge for pretrial handling. Before the court is the magistrate
judge’s Report and Recommendation (“Report”), recommending that the complaint be dismissed
without prejudice. (ECF No. 21). Plaintiff was advised of his right to file objections to the
Report. (ECF No. 21 at 9). Plaintiff timely filed objections. (ECF No. 24).
The Report has no presumptive weight and the responsibility to make a final
determination in this matter remains with this court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 27071 (1976). The court need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only “general and
conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate’s proposed
findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In that
case, the court reviews the Report only for clear error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident
Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).
In his Complaint, Plaintiff is challenging a 2012 disciplinary conviction from his
incarceration in USP-Lee in Pennington Gap, Virginia.
As a result of this disciplinary
conviction, Plaintiff alleges he lost 82 days of good time credit and was placed in a higher
security custody level. (Compl. at 4). In her Report, the Magistrate Judge finds that this
complaint should be summarily dismissed without prejudice because Plaintiff has pursued the
wrong remedy. (Report at 6). She states that a Bivens action cannot provide Plaintiff with the
relief he seeks, restoration of good time credit, but Plaintiff may seek relief pursuant to a habeas
action filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Report at 4-5). The Magistrate Judge then continues
that, even if the court were to find that this action could continue as a Bivens action, the court
lacks personal jurisdiction over the Defendants who reside outside of South Carolina. Id. at 6.
In his objections, Plaintiff states that he “feels this [complaint] was the 2241 just
expressed on the wrong forms.” (Objections at 1). He further states it is his understanding that
he should be filing the Bivens, or § 1983 action, in Virginia. Id.
The court agrees that a Bivens action is not the proper remedy for the reasons stated by
the Magistrate Judge. Additionally, the court notes that a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or Bivens action
challenging disciplinary convictions is barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) whether it is filed here or in Virginia. See also Poston v. Shappert, 222 F. App'x 301, 301 (4th
Cir.2007) (unpublished) (applying Heck rationale to bar claims for damages under § 1983 and
Bivens). In Heck, the Court held that a § 1983 claim is not cognizable if it implies the invalidity
of a conviction. Heck, 512 U.S. 487. See also Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 648 (1997)
(extending Heck to disciplinary convictions). Heck bars a prisoner's claim for damages under §
1983 or Bivens where success of the action would implicitly question the validity of the
conviction or duration of the sentence, unless the prisoner can demonstrate that the conviction or
sentence has been successfully challenged. In this case, a favorable determination on the merits
of the Plaintiff's claims would imply the invalidity of Plaintiff's disciplinary conviction.
The Magistrate Judge recommends that this action be dismissed. (Report at 6). However,
after reviewing the record in this action and Plaintiff’s objections, the court finds that the
complaint should not be dismissed. Rather, the court finds it should construe the action as a
habeas action filed pursuant to § 2241. As to Plaintiff’s request for a refund of his $400 filing
fee, the court grants Plaintiff’s request due to the unusual circumstances in this case.
Therefore, after a thorough review of the record in this action, the court declines to adopt
the Magistrate Judge's Report (ECF No. 21). This matter is recommitted to the Magistrate Judge
for further handling. Further, the Clerk of Court is ORDERED to change the nature of this suit
from a prisoner civil rights action to a habeas action. As Plaintiff paid a filing fee of $400 (See
ECF No. 17 - Receipt SCX400011815), he is entitled to a refund of $395 (the $400 filing fee he
paid minus the $5.00 filing fee required in a habeas action). Accordingly, the Clerk of Court is
to ORDERED to issue Plaintiff a refund in the amount of $395.00.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Timothy M. Cain
United States District Judge
January 19, 2017
Anderson, South Carolina
NOTICE OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
The parties are hereby notified of the right to appeal this order pursuant to Rules 3 and 4
of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.
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