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Yepes v. Hininger

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

April 6, 2015

JUAN CADAVID YEPES, Plaintiff,
v.
DAMON T. HININGER; JOHN BAXTER; JEREMY WAUN; ISSAC JOHASTON; SHELDAN RICHARDSON; MINDY GRADAM; T. JOHNS; ROBYN CROSS; and S. WILLIS, Defendants.

ORDER

LISA GODBEY WOOD, Chief District Judge.

Presently before the Court are Plaintiff's Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Order and Report and Recommendation dated January 27, 2015. Dkt. No. 12. The Magistrate Judge ordered the denial of Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, dkt. no. 2, and recommended that Plaintiff's claims against certain Defendants be dismissed and that the others be transferred to the District of Kansas for disposition. Dkt. No. 9, p. 5; Dkt. No. 10, p. 5. After careful review, the undersigned OVERRULES Plaintiff's Objections and concurs with the Magistrate Judge's findings and recommendations. The Magistrate Judge's Order on Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis remains the Order of the Court, and his Report and Recommendation is hereby ADOPTED as the Opinion of the Court. Dkt. Nos. 9-10.

BACKGROUND

On October 23, 2014, Plaintiff, an inmate, filed this action contesting certain conditions of his confinement, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (2014) and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) Dkt. No. 1, p. 1.[1] Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that he received inadequate medical care, in violation of his constitutional rights, while housed at D. Ray James Correctional Facility in Folkston, Georgia, and, previously, at Leavenworth Detention Center in Leavenworth, Kansas. Id. at pp. 1, 3, 6, 8-9. Plaintiff names several Defendants. See id. at pp. 1-2. He brings suit against Leavenworth Detention Center supervisors and employees Jeremy Waun, Issac Johaston, Sheldan Richardson, and Mindy Gradam. Id. at p. 1. He has also asserts claims against Damon Hininger and John Baxter, two employees of Corrections Corporation of America, an entity that owns and operates Leavenworth Detention Center. Id. at pp. 1, 8. As to D. Ray James Correctional Facility, Plaintiff sues employees T. Johns, Robyn Cross, and S. Willis. Id. at pp. 1-2.

Along with his Complaint, Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. Dkt. No. 2; see also Dkt. No. 8, Ex. B. In that Motion, Plaintiff represented that he lacked sufficient funds to pay this Court's filing fees at that time and, therefore, requested permission to proceed without the prepayment of those fees. Dkt. No. 2, pp. 1-2; see also Dkt. No. 8, Ex. B, pp. 1-2.

In his Order and Report and Recommendation dated January 27, 2015, the Magistrate Judge recommended that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's claims against the employees of D. Ray James Correctional Facility-Defendants Johns, Cross, and Willis-for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Dkt. No. 10, p. 5. The Magistrate Judge explained that Plaintiff cannot sustain a Bivens claim against these Defendants, because D. Ray James Correctional Facility is privately operated and state law provides an adequate remedy under these circumstances. Id. at pp. 3-4 (citing Minneci v. Pollard, 132 S.Ct. 617, 620 (2012), and Alba v. Montford, 517 F.3d 1249, 1255-56 (11th Cir.

In addition, the Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiff's claims against the officials of Leavenworth Detention Center and Corrections Corporation of America- Defendants Waun, Johaston, Richardson, Gradam, Hininger, and Baxter-be transferred to the District of Kansas. Id. at p. S. The Magistrate Judge cited a lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue, reasoning that "these Defendants reside outside of Georgia and that Plaintiff's allegations against these Defendants relate only to events that allegedly occurred during his incarceration in Leavenworth, Kansas." Id. at pp. 4-5. Finally, the Magistrate Judge determined that Plaintiff could not proceed in forma pauperis. Id. at p. 5.

On February 19, 2015, Plaintiff filed Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Order and Report and Recommendation. Dkt. No. 12. In his Objections, Plaintiff states that the Order and Report and Recommendation violate federal law, because the Magistrate Judge never received Plaintiff's consent and "is not authorized to enter a final order." Id. at pp. 2-3 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73) Plaintiff further objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion as to the D. Ray James Correctional Facility employees; Plaintiff argues that his allegations of deliberate indifference to his medical needs, in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights, are sufficient to sustain Bivens claims against these Defendants. Id . Plaintiff also states that he opposes the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to transfer his remaining claims to the District of Kansas. Id. at p. 2.

DISCUSSION

The Magistrate Judge correctly stated the law applicable to Plaintiff's claims and properly applied the law to the allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint. The Court need not restate that analysis at length in this Order. However, the Court does specifically address the Plaintiff's Objections.

I. Plaintiff's Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Authority

Plaintiff cites 28 U.S.C. § 636 ("Section 636") and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for the proposition that the Magistrate Judge acted outside the scope of his authority in filing the Order and Report and Recommendation without Plaintiff's consent. Dkt. No. 12, pp. 2-3.

Section 636 sets forth the jurisdiction and powers of a United States magistrate judge, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are consistent with that mandate. See 28 U.S.C. § 636; Fed.R.Civ.P. 72-73. Under Section 636(b) (1) (A), a magistrate judge may "hear and determine any pretrial matter pending before the court, " subject to certain enumerated exceptions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) (1) (A); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a) (referring to such pretrial matters as those that are "not dispositive of a party's claim or defense"). When a magistrate judge rules on a nondispositive pretrial matter, a district judge may reconsider the matter only "where it has been shown that the magistrate judge's order is clearly erroneous or contrary to law." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) (1) (A); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a).

In addition, Section 636(b) (1) (B) provides that a magistrate judge may "submit to a judge of the court proposed findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition, by a judge of the court... of prisoner petitions challenging conditions of confinement." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) (1) (B); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b) (1) (noting that a magistrate judge may be "assigned, without the parties' consent, to hear... a prisoner petition challenging the conditions of confinement" and to "enter a recommended disposition"). If any party objects to a magistrate judge's findings and recommendations, a district judge must "make a de novo determination" and ...


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