McDuffie v. Williams et al
ORDER adopting Report and Recommendations of Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant; granting 37 Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs complaint is dismissed, with prejudice. Signed by Honorable Margaret B Seymour on 2/8/2017.(cwhi, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
) C/A No. 9:15-5109-MBS
ORDER AND OPINION
Sgt. M. Williams and A/W Willie Davis,
Plaintiff Deontai McDuffie is an inmate in custody of the South Carolina Department of
Corrections who currently is incarcerated at the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South
Carolina. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 on December 29, 2015, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated in various
Plaintiff alleges that a defective sprinkler caused his cell to flood. Plaintiff states that
Defendant Sgt. M. Williams approached his cell “in a very hostile manner,” retrieved a canister of
chemical munitions from her belt, and unsecured the food service flap on his cell door. Plaintiff
states that he held his mat up to the food service flap. Defendant Williams then pushed the mat aside
and released chemical munitions into Plaintiff’s cell. According to Plaintiff, sometime later
Defendant Williams returned and placed Plaintiff in a holding cell while the sprinkler was repaired.
Plaintiff states he was not seen by a nurse until the next day and that his cell was not properly
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment by the
excessive use of chemical munitions in his cell. In addition, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant A/W
Willie Davis inadequately responded to his grievances regarding the incident. Plaintiff seeks
compensatory damages and punitive damages. He also requests that criminal charges be brought
against Defendant Williams.
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 Bristow Marchant for pretrial handling. On November 21, 2016,
Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. By order filed November 30, 2016, pursuant to
Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Plaintiff was advised of the summary judgment
procedures and the possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately. Plaintiff did not file
a response to the motion for summary judgment.
On January 13, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation in
accordance with Williams v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 823 (4th Cir. 1991) (providing that verified
complaints by pro se prisoners are to be considered as affidavits). The Magistrate Judge first
observed that Plaintiff has no constitutional right to, or any judicially cognizable interest in, the
criminal prosecution of another person. The Magistrate Judge further found that Plaintiff has no
constitutional right of access to a prison grievance procedure, and, to the extent alleged by Plaintiff,
violation of a prison policy with respect to the force used during an incident is not a cognizable claim
under § 1983. The Magistrate Judge further noted that Defendants had submitted medical records
indicating that Plaintiff was brought to the medical unit for an examination after being exposed to
chemical munitions the day of the incident, August 12, 2015, and then seen a second time on August
13, 2015. See Medical Summary, ECF No. 37-2. The Medical Summary recounts that on August
13, 2015, Plaintiff reported some wheezing the previous day, and that his lower back was sore from
hitting the ground during the incident. An examination revealed no wheezing, respirations were even
and unlabored, and that Plaintiff’s back showed no bruising, deformities, redness, or swelling. Id.
Citing Williams v. Benjamin, 77 F.3d 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1996), Landman v. Peyton, 370 F.2d
135, 138, n.2 (4th Cir. 1966), and other precedent, the Magistrate Judge determined that the use of
chemical munitions was appropriate under the circumstances and did not constitute a deprivation of
Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. The Magistrate Judge also found no evidence that Plaintiff was not
provided adequate medical care or that Defendants knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to
Plaintiff’s health or safety. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994) (providing that prisons
must provide inmates with adequate medical care; a prison official can be held liable under the
Eighth Amendment for acting with deliberate indifference to inmate health or safety). The
Magistrate Judge therefore recommended that Defendants’ motion for summary judgment be
granted. Plaintiff filed no objections to the Report and Recommendation.
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation has
no presumptive weight. The responsibility for making a final determination remains with this court.
Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976). This 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)(1).
This court may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with
instructions. Id. In the absence of a timely filed objection, 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.” Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310,
315 (4th Cir. 2005).
The court has thoroughly reviewed the record. The court concurs in the Report and
Recommendation and incorporates it herein by reference. Defendants’ motion for summary
judgment (ECF No. 37) is granted, and Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed, with prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Margaret B. Seymour
Senior United States District Judge
Columbia, South Carolina
February 8, 2017
NOTICE OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
Plaintiff is 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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