United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
JOSEPH C. SEBA, Plaintiff,
CARLTON JOYNER, et al., Defendants.
TERRENCE W. BOYLE United States District Judge
matter is before the court on the Order and Memorandum and
Recommendation ("Order and M&R") of United
States Magistrate Judge Robert T. Numbers, II, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). D.E. 14.
The court ADOPTS the Order and M&R. Additionally, the
court allows Seba's request to amend his Complaint to add
parties and claims to the lawsuit in the manner set out
February 22, 2016, plaintiff Joseph C. Seba
("Seba"), a state inmate proceeding pro
se, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Central Prison Warden Carlton Joyner and three
unnamed Central Prison staff members (D.E. 1). On that date,
Seba also filed a motion to appoint counsel (D.E. 3). Seba
seeks monetary damages as well as declaratory and injunctive
relief for injuries he allegedly suffered as a result of an
assault by the unnamed staff members and subsequently,
inadequate medical care for the injuries. Additionally, Seba
claims he was transferred from Central Prison to Bertie
Correctional Institution in retaliation for preparing to file
his § 1983 Complaint, which caused him to lose his
prison job and be separated by a greater distance from his
family in violation of his First Amendment
26, 2016, the court conducted a frivolity review pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915. Judge Numbers ordered that Seba's
motion to appoint counsel be denied and that his claims
against the unnamed Sergeant, unnamed corrections officer,
and unnamed nurse in their individual capacities be allowed
to proceed. See Order and M&R, D.E. 14. Judge Numbers
recommended that the claims against the Defendants in their
official capacities be dismissed; his claims against Warden
Joyner in his individual capacity be dismissed; and his
claims for declaratory and injunctive relief be dismissed as
moot. See id As to Seba's claims against the unnamed
defendants, Judge Numbers ordered the North Carolina
Department of Public Safety ("NCDPS") to provide
Seba with documentation that would assist him in identifying
the unnamed defendants. Order and M&R, D.E. 14. The NCDPS
complied. See Notice, D.E. 17. On October 24, 2016, Seba
filed an amended complaint naming the individuals he claims
violated his constitutional rights. See Am. Compl., D.E. 24.
interim, Seba filed objections to Judge Numbers' Order
and M&R. See Obj., D.E. 15.
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).
court has reviewed the Order and M&R, the record, and the
pleadings. As explained below, the court overrules Seba's
objections and adopts the findings and conclusions in the
Order and M&R.
Add Parties to Eighth Amendment Claim
response to Judge Numbers' Order and M&R, Seba filed
an Amended Complaint identifying six individuals who, he
claimed, violated his constitutional rights: Ramel Freeman,
John Raymond, Chukwudi Amaechi, Jamela Dunbar, DeShone Joyner
and Derrick Smith. Am. Compl., D.E. 24. However, in his
original Complaint Seba named only three unknown defendants.
See Compl., D.E. 1. The court construes Seba's
identification of six individuals as defendants as a request
to amend his Complaint to add three additional parties. Under
Rule 15(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
"[a] party may amend its pleading once as a matter of
course within ... 21 days after serving it." For any
subsequent amendment, a party must seek leave from the Court.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). "The court should freely give
leave when justice so requires." Id. Here,
because Seba's Complaint has not yet been served on
defendants, Seba may amend his Complaint to add the foregoing
defendants. As no defendant has been served, the court finds
Objections to the Order and M&R
First Amendment Claim
first objects to Judge Numbers' recommendation that his
First Amendment retaliation claim against Warden Joyner be
dismissed. See Obj. at 1-4. Judge Numbers concluded that
Seba's transfer from Central Prison did not violate his
constitutional rights because an inmate has no constitutional
right to choose his place of incarceration. See Meachum
v, Fanno. 427 U.S. 215, 225 (1976); Johnson v.
Ozmint456 F.Supp.2d 688, 695 (D.S.C. 2006) (citing
Ajaj v. Smith. 108 F.App'x 743, 744 (4th Cir.
2004)). Judge Numbers moreover noted that "Seba's
only factual support for his retaliation claim is his
conclusory allegations that the decision to transfer him from
Central Prison was made in retaliation for preparing to file
the instant lawsuit." Order and M&R at 8, D.E. 14.