Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Saunders v. Johnson

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Bluefield

September 28, 2017

EDWARD HAROLD SAUNDERS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
B. J. JOHNSON, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David A. Faber, Senior United States District Judge.

         Pending before the court is “Plaintiff's Objections to the Magistrate's Findings and Recommendations.” ECF No. 72. Plaintiff objects to Magistrate Judge Omar J. Aboulhosn's Proposed Findings and Recommendation (“PF&R”), which recommended that this court grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 59, and dismiss plaintiff's Complaint. ECF No. 69.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiff sued 12 correctional officers (“Defendants”) on October 27, 2016 alleging violations of his constitutional and civil due process rights under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). ECF No. 3. Specifically, plaintiff alleges defendants withheld his personal belongings - newspapers, magazines, books, and family pictures - while he was in solitary confinement (“Special Housing Unit” or “SHU”) of Federal Correctional Institution, McDowell (“FCI McDowell”). ECF No. 3, p. 4-5.

         On November 16, 2016, plaintiff filed a “Motion Requesting Leave to Amend Complaint” to (1) modify the names of defendants and (2) provide additional factual details regarding plaintiff's allegations. ECF No. 26. The Motion was accompanied by plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). ECF No. 29. Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn granted plaintiff's motion and directed that the FAC be filed. ECF No. 28. The PF&R extensively details the factual modifications in the FAC. ECF No. 69, p. 3-4. Of note, plaintiff's FAC includes affidavits of other FCI McDowell inmates to illustrate that other SHU inmates were provided additional items of mail, inconsistent with the SHU Rules and Regulations, and thus plaintiff was targeted unfairly. ECF No. 66-1, pp. 6-12.

         Two months later, defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment and accompanying Memorandum of Law in Support. ECF Nos. 59 and 60. Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn recommended that defendants' motion be granted on July 24, 2017. ECF No. 69.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was incarcerated at FCI McDowell from February 17, 2016 to December 1, 2016. ECF No. 69-2. Plaintiff was placed in SHU on March 9, 2016, after refusing to voluntarily change prison cells. Upon placement in SHU, plaintiff received a copy of the SHU Rules and Regulations and signed a Receipt and Acknowledgement Form. ECF No. 59-1, pp. 62-63. SHU Rules and Regulations limit the personal belongings an inmate may possess. ECF No. 59-1, pp. 62-63, 65. Importantly, the Regulation lists “Authorized Items” to include “2 paperback books (book cart only)” and “Mail (received in SHU only) - 10 pieces.” ECF No. 59-1, pp. 62-63, 65. Defendants state that limitations on personal property in SHU cells are necessary because of “fire safety, security, and sanitation/housekeeping issues based upon limited cell space in SHU.” ECF No. 60, p. 5.

         On two occasions in March 2016, plaintiff asked SHU correctional officer defendants, J. Moore and B.J. Johnson, to explain why he was not receiving his personal property since placement in SHU. FAC at ¶ 50-52. Both correctional officers allegedly responded that consistent with a memorandum signed by FCI McDowell's warden, B.J. Johnson, (“Warden Memorandum”), plaintiff's belongings were being retained by FCI McDowell until his release from SHU. Id. Plaintiff requested a copy of the Warden Memorandum but never received a copy. Id.

         Defendants do not dispute that plaintiff never received a copy of this Warden Memorandum (or affirm or deny that any Warden Memorandum exists) but instead state that defendants' actions complied with SHU Rules and Regulations, for which the plaintiff signed a Receipt and Acknowledgement Form. ECF No. 59-1, pp. 62-63, 67.

         Plaintiff remained in SHU at FCI McDowell until his transfer to FCI Forrest City in Arkansas on December 1, 2016. Despite plaintiff's belief that he was treated unfairly in SHU, upon transfer, plaintiff's personal property was inventoried and found to be consistent with SHU policy and included two books, legal materials, and 20 photographs (more than SHU policy). ECF No. 59-1, pp. 68-69.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation bears no presumptive weight, and it is this court's responsibility to make a final determination. See Mathews v. Weber,423 U.S. 261 (1976). The court is charged with making a de novo determination of any portion of the PF&R to which a specific objection is made. The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.