United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
JAMES C. MCNEILL, Plaintiff,
LIEUTENANT NORRIS, et al., Defendants.
C. DEVER III Chief United States District Judge
April 11, 2016, Magistrate Judge Numbers issued a Memorandum
and Recommendation ("M&R") [D.E. 10]. In that
M&R, Judge Numbers recommended allowing James C.
McNeill's ("McNeill") excessive-force claim
against defendants Lieutenant Norris and Correctional Officer
Nichols and McNeill's deliberate-indifference claim
against defendants Nurse Camesha Shepard and Nurse Collins to
proceed. However, Judge Numbers also recommended that the
court dismiss McNeill's claims against defendants
Lieutenant Jhon Juehrs, Dr. Ronald Sumners, and Warden
Carlton B. Joyner. On May 4, 2016, McNeill filed objections
to the M&R [D.E. 11].
Federal Magistrates Act requires a district court to make a
de novo determination of those portions of the magistrate
judge's report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made." Diamond
v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co.. 416 F.3d 310,
315 (4th Cir. 2005) (emphasis, alteration, and quotation
omitted); see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Absent a timely
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. 416 F.3d at 315
(quotation omitted). Moreover, the court need not conduct a
de novo review where 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." Qrpiano v. Johnson. 687 F.2d
44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982); see Wells v. Shriners Hosp..
109 F.3d 198, 200-01 (4th Cir. 1997). "Section 636(b)(1)
does not countenance a form of generalized objection to cover
all issues addressed by the magistrate judge; it contemplates
that a party's objection to a magistrate judge's
report be specific and particularized, as the statute directs
the district court to review only those portions of the
report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to
which objection is made." United States v.
Midgette. 478 F.3d 616, 621 (4th Cir. 2007) (emphasis
and quotation omitted).
objections reiterate arguments stated in his complaint, and
his objections do not meaningfully rebut the M&R.
Compare Compl. [D.E. 1], with [D.E. 11].
Because McNeill's boilerplate objections fail to
meaningfully address the M&R, de novo review is not
required. See. e.g.. Wells. 109 F.3d at
200-01; Qrpiano. 687 F.2d at 47.
McNeill's objections lack merit. Judge Numbers
recommended dismissing McNeill's deliberate-indifference
claim against defendant Sumners. The Eighth Amendment
prohibits prison officials from acting with deliberate
indifference to a prisoner's serious medical needs. See
Estelle v. Gamble. 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). To
establish deliberate indifference, an inmate must allege both
that he experienced a deprivation that was "objectively
sufficiently serious" and "that subjectively the
officials acted with a sufficiently culpable state of
mind." De'Lonta v. Angelone. 330 F.3d 630,
634 (4th Cir. 2003) (alteration, emphasis, and quotation
omitted). To satisfy the subjective prong of the Eighth
Amendment test, a plaintiff must establish that a defendant
acted with deliberate indifference. Gravson v. Peed.
195 F.3d 692, 695 (4th Cir. 1999). Prison officials
demonstrate deliberate indifference to a serious medical need
by completely failing to consider an inmate's complaints
or by acting intentionally to delay or deny the prisoner
access to adequate medical care. Estelle. 429 U.S.
at 104-05. In his complaint, McNeil concedes that defendant
Sumners provided him medical treatment. See,
e.g.. Compl. at 9-10. McNeill's claim against
Sumners amounts to a disagreement in the course of treatment
prescribed by Sumners, and allegations of negligence. These
allegations fail to state a claim. See Estelle. 429
U.S. at 105-06; Scinto v. Stansberry, 841 F.3d219,
225-26 (4th Cir. 2016); Jackson v. Lightsey, 775
F.3d 170, 178 (4th Cir. 2014); Russell v. Sheffer.
528 F.2d 318, 318-19 (4th Cir. 1975) (per curiam).
Judge Numbers recommended dismissing McNeill's claim that
defendant Juehrs violated his right to due process.
Specifically, McNeill contends that he was improperly placed
in administrative segregation for 60 days based on an
incident Juehrs investigated. Compl. at 1. The Due Process
Clause applies when government action deprives an individual
of a legitimate liberty or property interest. See
Morrissey v. Brewer. 408 U.S. 471, 481 (1972);
Incumaa v. Stirling. 791 F.3d 517, 526-27 (4th Cir.
2015). To retain a liberty interest in avoiding a particular
condition of confinement, a plaintiff must demonstrate that
the confinement imposed an atypical and significant hardship
on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison
life. See Sandin v. Conner. 515 U.S. 472, 484
(1995). Placement in administrative segregation, by itself,
does not create an atypical or significant hardship in
relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life. See
Incumaa. 791 F.3d at 527; Prieto v. Clarke.
780 F.3d 245, 249-51 (4th Cir. 2015); McNeill v.
Currie. 84 F.App'x 276, 277 (4th Cir. 2003) (per
curiam) (unpublished). Rather, inmates must make a greater
showing of hardship in order to meet this requirement.
See, e.g.. Incumaa. 791 F.3d at 527;
Prieto. 780 F.3d at 249-51; Beverati v.
Smith. 120 F.3d 500, 504 (4th Cir. 1997). Here, McNeill
failed to allege conditions of confinement that were
significantly more onerous than those of the general
Judge Numbers recommended dismissing McNeill's claims
against Warden Joyner. To the extent McNeill asserts that
Joyner inadequately responded to his grievances, such an
allegation fails to state a claim. See, e.g,, Adams v. Rice.
40 F.3d. 72, 75 (4th Cir. 1994). Alternatively, McNeill's
claims against Joyner fail because Joyner was named solely in
his supervisory capacity. See, $&,, Shaw v.
Stroud. 13 F.3d 791, 798-99 (4th Cir. 1994).
after reviewing the M&R, the record, and McNeill's
objections, the court is satisfied that there is no clear
error on the face of the record. Accordingly, McNeill's
objections [D.E. 11] are OVERRULED, and the court adopts the
conclusions in the M&R [D.E. 10]. McNeill's claims
against defendants Lieutenant Jhon Juehrs, Dr. Ronald
Sumners, and Warden Joyner are DISMISSED. McNeill may proceed
with his excessive-force claim against defendants Lieutenant
Norris and Correctional Officer Nichols and his
deliberate-indifference claim against defendants Nurse
Camesha Shepard and Nurse Collins. The clerk shall manage the
action pursuant to Standing Order ...