United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
KEITH D. PHILLIPS, Petitioner,
THOMAS SMITH, WARDEN, Respondent.
C. DEVER III, Chief United States District Judge
August 2, 2016, Keith D. Phillips ("Phillips"), a
federal inmate proceeding pro se, filed a petition for writ
of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [D.E. 1] and
several exhibits [D.E. 1-2]. Phillips challenges the outcome
of a disciplinary proceeding that resulted in the loss of
good-time credits. On November 28, 2016, Magistrate Numbers
reviewed Phillips's petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2243 and allowed the petition to proceed [D.E. 11].
January 5, 2017, respondent filed a motion to dismiss [D.E.
16], along with an exhibit [D.E. 17-1]. On January 24, 2017,
Phillips responded with additional exhibits [D.E. 19].
Because the parties attached materials that are outside the
scope of the pleadings, Magistrate Judge Numbers construed
respondent's motion as a request for summary judgment,
and allowed Phillips additional time to file any further
materials. See [D.E. 24]; Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). On August 14,
2017, Phillips filed a supplemental response to the motion
for summary judgment, together with additional exhibits [D.E.
29]. On the same date, Magistrate Judge Numbers issued a
Memorandum and Recommendation ("M&R") and
recommended that the court grant respondent's motion for
summary judgment and dismiss the petition [D.E. 30]. On
September 1, 2017, Phillips filed objections [D.E. 31].
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." Orpiano 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).
court has reviewed the M&R, the record, and
Williams's objections. As for those portions of the
M&R to which Williams made no objection, the court
concludes that there is no clear error on the face of the
extent Williams continues to press his wholly unsupported
(and eleventh-hour) assertion that he did not receive a copy
of the incident report until September 10, 2015, the day of
the disciplinary hearing, see Objs. [D.E. 31] 1, the record
demonstrates that he received a copy of the incident report
on September 8, 2015. See Pet., Exs. [D.E. 1-2] 1, 14, 43;
Pet'r's Resp. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J. [D.E. 29] 6;
see also Resp't's Mot. Summ. J., Exs. [D.E. 17-1] 7;
cf. Pet'r's Resp. Opp'n Mot. Dismiss [D.E. 19]
1-2. However, even if the court accepts Phillips's
contention, " the record indicates he was not
prejudiced" by the alleged error. Brennan v.
United States, 646 F.App'x 662, 667 (10th Cir. 2016)
(unpublished); AH v. Hanks, 67 F.App'x 946, 949
(7th Cir. 2003) (per curiam) (unpublished). Phillips's
remaining objections reiterate arguments stated in his
petition and in opposition to summary judgment, and his
objections do not meaningfully rebut Judge Numbers's
recommendations. Compare Pet. [D.E. 1] and
Pet'r's Resp. Opp'n Mot. Dismiss [D.E. 19] and
Pet'r's Resp. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J. [D.E. 29], with
Objs. [D.E. 31]. Because Williams'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.
Alternatively, even if de novo review is required, the
objections lack merit and are overruled. See, e.g., Wolff
v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-66(1974);
Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 454 (1985);
Baker v. Lyles, 904 F.2d 925, 932-34 (4th Cir.
after reviewing the M&R, the record, and Williams's
objections, the court agrees with the legal conclusions in
the M&R. Accordingly, Williams's objections [D.E. 31]
are OVERRULED, and the court adopts the conclusions in the
M&R [D.E. 3 0]. The court GRANTS respondent's motion
for summary judgment [D.E. 16], and DISMISSES
petitioner's application for a writ of habeas corpus
[D.E. 1]. The court DENIES a certificate of appealability.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c); Miller-E ...