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Jones v. Weaver

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

July 11, 2019

MR. M. WEAVER, DR. E. ANDERSON, and PA C. GHERKE, Defendants.



         Pending before the Court is a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) by United States Magistrate Judge Michael J. Aloi. In the R&R, Judge Aloi recommends that the Court grant the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, deny the Plaintiff's Motion for Discovery, and deny and dismiss the Plaintiff's Complaint. For the reasons discussed below, the Court adopts the R&R.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff, Linwood Lamont Jones (“Plaintiff”), was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution Gilmer (“FCI Gilmer”) in West Virginia from August 28, 2009, to May 5, 2015, at which time he was transferred to the Federal Medical Center Lexington (“FMC Lexington”) in Kentucky. ECF No. 43-1 at 1. He originally brought this Bivens[1] action against six defendants at FCI Gilmer.[2] The Court dismissed three defendants in an earlier ruling, and only three defendants remain: Dr. E. Anderson (“Anderson”), PA C. Gherke (“Gherke”), and Mr. M. Weaver (“Weaver”) (together, “Defendants”). ECF No. 34. He brings five causes of action: (1) “[d]enial and delay of meidcal [sic] care in the most effective manner”; (2) negligence; (3) malpractice; (4) deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs; and (5) ”wanton infliction of crel [sic] and unusual punishment.” ECF No. 1 at 7- 14. He alleges violations of his rights under 5th, 8th, and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution. Id. at 12.

         Plaintiff claims that he suffers from spinal stenosis, and because of a misdiagnosis, he did not receive an emergency surgery when he needed it. Id. at 14. Now he is paralyzed and suffers from atrophy and neuropathy. Id. Plaintiff requests the following relief: a jury trial on punitive damages; $1, 000, 000.00 per defendant for exemplary and compensatory damages; retraining of all involved staff; and an investigation into the medical care at the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”).

         The R&R includes a very detailed summary of the “Factual History” in this case, which the Court, for the sake of brevity, incorporates by reference. ECF No. 57 at 3-20. Defendants filed the pending Motion to Dismiss on May 7, 2018. ECF No. 42. Plaintiff filed a Response and, within that Response, a Motion for Discovery. ECF No. 49. Judge Aloi entered his R&R on March 12, 2019, and Plaintiff's objections were filed on May 14, 2019. ECF Nos. 57, 64.


         When reviewing a magistrate judge's R&R, the Court must review de novo only the portions to which an objection has been timely made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Otherwise, “the Court may adopt, without explanation, any of the magistrate judge's recommendations to which the [parties do] not object.” Dellarcirprete v. Gutierrez, 479 F.Supp.2d 600, 603-04 (N.D. W.Va. 2007) (citing Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983)). Courts will uphold portions of a recommendation to which no objection has been made unless they are clearly erroneous. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).

         Here, the R&R stated that parties had 14 days to object to it. ECF No. 57 at 39. Plaintiff received the R&R on April 1, 2019. ECF No. 60. After the Court granted an extension for Plaintiff to file objections, he did so on May 14, 2019. ECF No. 64. Specifically, Plaintiff objected to Judge Aloi's findings regarding Plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies; the applicability of the statute of limitations; and the dismissal of claims against Weaver. He also objected to a number of instances in which Judge Aloi allegedly made findings without citing to the record. Accordingly, the Court will conduct a de novo review of the Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff's Complaint will be liberally construed because he is proceeding pro se. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976).

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a defendant to move for dismissal upon the ground that a complaint does not “state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court “must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint.” Anderson v. Sara Lee Corp., 508 F.3d 181, 188 (4th Cir. 2007) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). A court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).

         A court should dismiss a complaint if it does not contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Plausibility exists “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A motion to dismiss “does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 942, 952 (4th Cir. 1992). “[T]he Court may consider documents attached to the Complaint, as well as those attached to the motion to dismiss, ‘so long as they are integral to the complaint and authentic.'” Richardson v. Williams, No. 3:14-cv-129, 2015 WL 3937004, at *3 (N.D. W.Va. June 26, 2015) (quoting Sec'y of State for Defence v. Trimble Navigation Ltd., 484 F.3d 700, 705 (4th Cir. 2007), aff'd, 627 Fed.Appx. 279 (4th Cir. 2016)).

         B. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate “if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The movant “bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The nonmoving party must “make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which he has the burden of proof.” Id. at 322. Summary judgment is proper “[w]here the record taken as a ...

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