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Wright v. Chatman

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

November 14, 2017

TAMARKUS LAKEITH WRIGHT, Plaintiff,
v.
Warden BRUCE CHATMAN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION TO THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          C. ASHLEY ROYAL, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         On October 12, 2107, the Court adopted [Doc. 55] the Order and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge [Doc. 29]. A day later, on October 13, 2017, the Court received Plaintiff's untimely Objection [Doc. 56]. The Court CONSTRUES Plaintiff's Objection as a Motion to File an Out of Time Objection [Doc. 56], which is hereby GRANTED. The Court has now fully considered Plaintiff's Objection and the record in this case, and has investigated de novo those portions of the Order and Recommendation to which Plaintiff objects.

         For the reasons explained below, the Court's Order [Doc. 55] on October 12, 2017, adopting the Order and Recommendation is hereby VACATED; the Order and Recommendation [Doc. 29] is ADOPTED-IN-PART and REJECTED-IN-PART; Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 20] is GRANTED-IN-PART AND DENIED-IN- PART; Plaintiff's Motion to Amend [Doc. 24] is GRANTED-IN-PART AND DENIED- IN-PART; and Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel [Doc. 25] is DENIED.

         As explained below, only Plaintiff's procedural due process claims arising after October 28, 2015, against Defendants Bruce Chatman, June Bishop William Powell, William McMillian, [1] Rufus Logan, Rodney McCloud, Michael Cannon, Caldwell, Betty Dean, Homer Bryson, Victor Walker, Timothy Ward, and Rick Jacob, in their individual capacities and official capacities may go forward. All other claims against all other Defendants must be DISMISSED.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 28, 2016, Plaintiff Tarmarkus Lakeith Wright, filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C § 1983 alleging Defendants violated his procedural due process rights by confining him to long-term administrative segregation without sufficient procedural protections. Plaintiff named as Defendants Warden Bruce Chatman; Deputy Wardens June Bishop and William Powell; Unit Managers William McMillian and Rufus Logan; and Superintendent Rodney McCloud. Plaintiff seeks punitive and compensatory damages, and declaratory and injunctive relief from Defendants in their individual and official capacities. The Court conducted a frivolity review of Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) and, construing the allegations liberally in favor of Plaintiff, determined that Plaintiff's due process claims were not entirely frivolous and thus allowed to go forward.

         On March 14, 2017, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff did not file a response to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Instead, Plaintiff submitted an Amended Complaint attempting to add claims for excessive force, deliberate indifference to medical needs, and violation of his due process rights relating to a 2012 prison riot. Plaintiff also attempts to add a federal deliberate indifference to medical needs claim, and a state law tort claim relating to a slip and fall incident; Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) claims; and access to the courts claims. Plaintiff asks for a temporary restraining order and adds new facts and Defendants to his original due process claims.

         Thereafter, the United States Magistrate Judge issued the Order and Recommendation currently before the Court in which he conducted a preliminary frivolity review of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and addressed Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

         DISCUSSION

         The Court will now conduct a de novo review of the Order and Recommendation to which Plaintiff objects.

         1. Plaintiff's Claims Newly Raised in his Amended Complaint

         Pursuant to its frivolity review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Order and Recommendation recommends that (1) Plaintiff's excessive force, deliberate indifference to medical needs, and due process claims relating to the 2012 prison riot be dismissed as time-barred; (2) Plaintiff's tort law and deliberate indifference claims relating to the slip and fall incident, his RLUIPA claims, and his access to the courts claims be dismissed as unrelated his original due process claims; and (3) Plaintiff's proposed temporary restraining order be denied.

         a. New Claims Relating to 2012 Prison Riot

         The Court is unconvinced by Plaintiff's objection that his excessive force, deliberate indifference to medical needs, and due process claims relating to a 2012 prison riot are not time-barred because they are continuing violations. The continuing violation doctrine allows a plaintiff to sue on a claim that would otherwise be time- barred when the violation has continued into the statutory period. The doctrine does not extend the statute of limitations for the continuing effects of a discrete violation.[2]Additionally, the Eleventh Circuit has limited the continuing violation doctrine “to situations in which a reasonably prudent plaintiff would have been unable to determine that a violation occurred. If an event should have alerted a reasonable plaintiff to assert his rights, then the plaintiff cannot rely on the continuing violation doctrine.”[3]

         Here, Plaintiff's claims are all based on discrete occurrences which should have alerted him to assert his rights at the time they occurred in 2012. Therefore, Plaintiff cannot use the continuing violation doctrine to save these time-barred claims. “[T]he fact that he may ...


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