Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Schuett v. LaRiva

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 12, 2017

Clifford J. Schuett, Plaintiff,
v.
L. LaRiva and M. Smith, Defendants.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AS MODIFIED

          Wilhelmina M. Wright United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the November 3, 2016 Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau. (Dkt. 88.) The R&R recommends that the Court grant Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff Clifford J. Schuett's amended complaint without prejudice because Schuett failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The R&R also recommends that the Court deny Schuett's remaining motions as moot. For the reasons that follow, the Court adopts the R&R as modified.

         BACKGROUND

         Schuett commenced this action on November 19, 2015, while incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center Rochester in Rochester, Minnesota (“FMC Rochester”). On December 10, 2015, Schuett amended his complaint (“Amended Complaint”). (Dkt. 4.) Schuett's Amended Complaint asserts claims against L. LaRiva, the warden at FMC Rochester, and M. Smith, the associate warden at FMC Rochester (collectively “Defendants”).[1] The Amended Complaint alleges that Defendants violated Schuett's civil rights by denying him appropriate medical care in the form of cataract-removal surgery, which resulted in injuries.[2]

         Specifically, Schuett alleges that: (1) he ran into a light pole in the facility yard and cut his right leg on September 20, 2015; (2) he was hit by a door and cut his right leg on September 24, 2015; (3) he fell out of his wheelchair when it went off the edge of the sidewalk on September 29, 2015; and (4) he was hit again by a door, causing a cut, bruising and swelling to his left leg on October 22, 2015. Schuett alleges that FMC Rochester denied his request for an examination by an ophthalmologist in October 2015 and that Defendants' conduct places him in imminent danger because he will suffer additional injuries and may become blind without cataract-removal surgery.

         Schuett's Amended Complaint seeks an order directing Defendants either to arrange for him to undergo cataract-removal surgery or to transfer him to a facility that will do so. Schuett also seeks $25 million in damages for pain and suffering. On March 14, 2016, Schuett was transferred from FMC Rochester to the United States Penitentiary Coleman I in Sumterville, Florida (“USP Coleman I”). Schuett subsequently was transferred to his current location at the United States Penitentiary Hazelton in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia (“USP Hazelton”).

         Defendants move to dismiss Schuett's Amended Complaint, arguing that Schuett failed to exhaust available administrative remedies, the Amended Complaint fails to allege sufficient personal involvement by Defendants for Schuett's injuries and that Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. In support of their motion, Defendants attach the Declaration of Paralegal Specialist Shannon Boldt (“Boldt Declaration”), which addresses-among other things-Schuett's utilization of available administrative remedies for the allegations in the Amended Complaint. The Boldt Declaration attaches eleven substantiating exhibits. Schuett counters that he need not exhaust his administrative remedies because the Amended Complaint alleges that he is in imminent danger.

         On June 2, 2016, Schuett filed a motion for miscellaneous relief, informing the Court of his transfer to USP Hazelton and alleging that he had been attacked and suffered injuries at that facility. Schuett also complains that, in retaliation for the filing of this lawsuit, Defendants illegally changed his custody-point level, which affects the type of facility in which he is incarcerated. Schuett seeks the Court's immediate intervention to prevent further injuries.

         Schuett moved to voluntarily dismiss the Amended Complaint on July 22, 2016, explaining that he is now completely blind and unable to prosecute this action. Schuett also contends that Defendants continue to transfer him to different facilities in order to impede this litigation.

         On October 17, 2016, Schuett moved to withdraw his motion to voluntarily dismiss his Amended Complaint because he “still wants to prosecute this action” and “is still being injured by the BOP through the defendants [sic] actions getting the Plaintiff transferred to another [facility].” Magistrate Judge Rau's November 3, 2016 R&R recommends converting Defendants' motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment and dismissing the Amended Complaint without prejudice because Schuett failed to exhaust available administrative remedies before filing this lawsuit. The R&R recommends denying Schuett's other motions as moot. In the alternative, the R&R recommends denying Schuett's motion for miscellaneous relief because it seeks relief unrelated to the Amended Complaint. Schuett timely objected to the R&R only as to its recommendation regarding Schuett's motion for miscellaneous relief.

         ANALYSIS

         In the absence of timely objections, this Court reviews the R&R for clear error. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); Grinder v. Gammon, 73 F.3d 793, 795 (8th Cir. 1996). However, a party “may file and serve specific written objections to a magistrate judge's proposed findings and recommendations.” LR 72.2(b)(1). A district court reviews de novo any portion of a magistrate judge's R&R to which objections are properly filed. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); LR 72.2(b)(3); United States v. Lothridge, 324 F.3d 599, 600 (8th Cir. 2003). Ordinarily, the district judge relies on the record of proceedings before the magistrate judge. LR 72.2(b)(3).

         I. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

         Because Schuett does not object to the R&R's recommendation to dismiss without prejudice his Amended Complaint, this aspect of the R&R is reviewed for clear error. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); Grinder, 73 F.3d at 795. The R&R properly converts Defendants' motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment because Defendants rely on the Boldt Declaration to substantiate their affirmative defense that Schuett failed to exhaust available administrative remedies prior to filing this lawsuit. See Gibb v. Scott, 958 F.2d 814, 816 (8th Cir. 1992). As a converted motion for summary judgment, “[a]ll parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material[s] . . . pertinent to the motion.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). But consideration of matters outside the pleadings without notice is appropriate when the nonmoving party has an adequate opportunity to respond to the motion and the material facts are neither disputed nor missing from the record. BJC Health Sys. v. Columbia Cas. Co., 348 F.3d 685, 688 (8th Cir. 2003); see also Van Zee v. Hanson, 630 F.3d 1126, 1129 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.