United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
A. TRAUGER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
magistrate judge entered an Order (Doc. No. 106) on May 29,
2019, denying pro se plaintiff Randall Turner's
Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. No. 100), and, on June 7,
2019, issued a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) (Doc. No. 109), recommending that the
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 98) filed by defendants Jonathan
Lebo, Johnny Fitz, Charles Sweat, and Clayton Taylor (the
“State defendants”) be granted. Now before the
court are the plaintiff's Objections to the Order and his
separately filed Objections to the R&R. (Doc. Nos. 107,
110.) For the reasons set forth herein, the court will
overrule both sets of Objections.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
2018, the court conducted an initial review of the
plaintiff's original Complaint, granted leave to proceed
in forma pauperis, and dismissed claims against
several defendants while allowing claims against others,
including the State defendants, to proceed. The gravamen of
the plaintiff's claims against the State defendants is
that, although he is not a member of a gang, he has been
targeted by gang members, and prison officials have failed in
their responsibility to protect him from violence by other
prisoners. The initial order notified the plaintiff that,
despite issuance of process against the State defendants, the
magistrate judge retained the discretion to recommend the
dismissal of any claim for the reasons set forth in 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2), among which is the failure to state a
claim for which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §
plaintiff was granted leave to file an Amended Complaint in
September 2018. (Doc. Nos. 55, 56, 58.) The first Amended
Complaint was a single-page document that purported to extend
the claims already asserted in the original Complaint against
one new defendant. (Doc. No. 58.) Because the plaintiff had
already filed numerous piecemeal documents and affidavits,
the magistrate judge ordered him to file “one
consolidated, comprehensive Amended Complaint that sets forth
all allegations against all Defendants that Plaintiff wishes
to litigate in this matter.” (Doc. No. 66, at 5.) The
plaintiff, without objecting to that order, filed his second
Amended Complaint on December 10, 2018. (Doc. No. 70
(hereafter, “Complaint, ” except where necessary
to distinguish it from prior complaints).)
allegations in the Complaint regarding the State defendants
are, verbatim, as follows:
On November 9, 2017 I was strife [sic] search two times in
the kitchen restroom by three crip gang members inmate Gloss
# 379551, Anderson # 264830 and one other gang member,
Because inmate Gloss lost his drugs in the restroom and he
believe that I have found them. When they did not find any
drugs I was assault by inmate Gloss while the other two stood
by to aid him.
Plaintiff had two deep laceration over the left eye.
According to the Doctor and NP conversation that I needed
“specialist” but the prisoner did the have enough
staff to transport me to the hospital. The Doctor put
stitches in both lacerations. Defendants knows from past and
present history that housing non gang members inmates with
gang members created a serious risk of harm or death they
disregard that risk and house us together any. Which is a
violation of the plaintiff Eighth Amendment right of U.S.
The plaintiff seeks damages from each defendant, Lebo, Fitz,
Sweat, and Taylor in amount of two hundred and fifty thousand
dollars compensatory and punitive damages.
(Doc. No. 70, at 2.)
State defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss and supporting
Memorandum on May 16, 2019, arguing that the allegations in
the Complaint are insufficiently specific to state a claim
for which relief may be granted. (See Doc. No. 99,
at 5 (“Plaintiff's allegations in the Amended
Complaint, to the extent they can even be identified, are
precisely the type of conclusory allegations which are
insufficient to establish a cognizable cause of action, under
§ 1983 or on any other basis.”).
response to the defendants' Motion to Dismiss, the
plaintiff filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Doc. No.
101), Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Doc. No.
101), Responses [sic] to Defendants Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
No. 102), and Affidavit in Responses [sic] to Defendants
(State) Motion to Dismiss for Failure State Claim (Doc. No.
103). Following the magistrate judge's denial of the
Motion for Appointment of Counsel, the plaintiff filed
Objections to that Order. The magistrate judge thereafter
filed the R&R, recommending that the State
defendants' Motion to Dismiss be granted. The plaintiff
filed timely Objections to the R&R. (Doc. No. 110.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
standard of review applicable to a party's objections to
a magistrate judge's ruling depends upon whether the
objections pertain to a dispositive or non-dispositive
matter. This court's review of a magistrate judge's
resolution of a non-dispositive pretrial matter is limited to
determining whether the order is “clearly
erroneous” or “contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). See also Massey
v. City of Ferndale, 7 F.3d 506, 509 (6th Cir. 1993)
(“When a magistrate judge determines a non-excepted,
pending pretrial matter, the district court has the authority
to ‘reconsider' the determination, but under a
limited standard of review.”). “‘A finding
[of fact] is ‘clearly erroneous' when although
there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the
entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction
that a mistake has been committed.'” Adams Cty.
Reg'l Water Dist. v. Vill. of Manchester, 226 F.3d
513, 517 (6th Cir. 2000) (quoting United States v. U.S.
Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)). A legal
conclusion is contrary to law if it contradicts or ignores
applicable precepts of law, as found in the Constitution,
statutes, or case precedent. Gandee v. Glaser, 785
F.Supp. 684, 686 (S.D. Ohio 1992).
party files objections to a magistrate judge's report and
recommendation regarding a dispositive motion, the district
court must review de novo any portion of the report
and recommendation to which objections are
“properly” lodged. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) & (C). An
objection is “properly” made if it is
sufficiently specific to “enable the district judge
to focus attention on those issues-factual and legal-that are
at the heart of the parties' dispute.” Thomas
v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 147 (1985). “The filing of
vague, general, or conclusory objections does not meet the
requirement of specific objections and is tantamount to a
complete failure to object.” Special Learning, Inc.
v. Step by Step Acad., Inc., 751 Fed.Appx. 816, 819 (6th
Cir. 2018) (citations omitted). In conducting its review, the
district court “may accept, reject, or modify the
recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return
the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.”
Objections to the Denial of the Motion to ...