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Hill v. Milam

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Beckley Division

September 3, 2019

JERMAIN SANTELL HILL, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER MILAM, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          IRENE C. BERGEB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The Court has reviewed the Plaintiff's Affidavit (Document 1), hereinafter referred to as the Complaint, the Magistrate Judge's Proposed Findings and Recommendation (PF&R) (Document 60), and the Plaintiff's Objections to the Proposed Findings and Recommendation (Document 64). By Standing Order (Document 2) entered on June 4, 2018, this action was referred to the Honorable Omar J. Aboulhosn, United States Magistrate Judge, for submission to this Court of proposed findings of fact and recommendation for disposition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).

         On June 4, 2018, the Magistrate Judge submitted his PF&R, wherein he recommended that this Court grant the Defendants' motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, motion for summary judgment, deny the Plaintiff's motion for temporary restraining order and injunctive relief, deny the Plaintiff's letter-form motion for summary judgment, and remove this matter from the Court's docket. The Plaintiff timely objected to the PF&R. Following careful consideration, the Court finds that the Magistrate Judge's PF&R should be adopted, and the Plaintiff's objections should be overruled.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn's PF&R sets forth in great detail the procedural and factual history surrounding the Plaintiff's claims. The Court now incorporates by reference those facts and procedural history. In order to provide context for the ruling herein, the Court provides the following summary.

         On June 4, 2018, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint (Document 1) indicating the desire to initiate an action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), based upon alleged violations of his constitutional and civil rights. On July 5, 2018, the Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint (Document 9), naming the following Defendants: T. Milam, Unit Counselor; David Young, Warden; Mr. Hill; E. Stennet, Unit Manager; William Craddock; Amy Goode; Mr. Thompson; and Medical Staff. On July 25, 2019, the Plaintiff filed an Affidavit (Document 14), serving as an Amended Complaint, incorporating all claims and allegations.

         The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to provide adequate medical care. Specifically, the Plaintiff requested an MRI to determine the cause of his back pain, but the Defendants failed to provide that service. Additionally, the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants refused to provide him with a bottom bunk or lower-level cell, though climbing stairs and climbing into the top bunk caused him extreme back pain.

         The Plaintiff also alleged that the Defendants violated his Sixth Amendment right to confer with counsel regarding his pending Section 2255 proceedings. Finally, the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants have retaliated against him for filing administrative remedies in violation of the First Amendment by (1) attempting to have other inmates harass or attack Plaintiff, and (2) improperly denying Plaintiff visitation with his fiancée. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief.

         On September 27, 2018, the Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss, or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (Document 35), and Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (Document 37). On October 5, 2018, the Plaintiff filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Injunctive Relief (Document 39). The Plaintiff filed Plaintiff's Response to the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or Summary Judgment (Document 44), on October 26, 2018. On May 24, 2019, the Plaintiff filed a Letter-Form Motion for Summary Judgment (Document 58). The Magistrate Judge entered his PF&R on June 19, 2019, and following an extension of time, the Plaintiff filed his Objections to the Proposed Findings and Recommendations (Document 64) on July 23, 2019.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Objections to PF&R

         This Court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). However, the Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of the findings or recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). In addition, this Court need not conduct a de novo review “when a party makes 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). When reviewing portions of the PF&R de novo, the Court will consider the fact that Petitioner is acting pro se, and his pleadings will be accorded liberal construction. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291, 1295 (4th Cir. 1978).

         B. Summary Judgment

         The well-established standard for consideration of a motion for summary judgment is that summary judgment should be granted if the record, including the pleadings and other filings, discovery material, depositions, and affidavits, “shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)-(c); see also Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 549 (1999); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986); Hoschar v. Appalachian Power Co., 739 F.3d 163, 169 (4th Cir. 2014). A “material fact” is a fact that could affect the outcome of the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; News & Observer Publ'g Co. v. Raleigh-Durham Airport Auth., 597 F.3d 570, 576 (4th Cir. 2010). A ...


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