United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
HAROLD ALBRITTON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the court on the Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge (#45) and the Plaintiff's Objection
thereto (Doc. #46).
a 42 U.S.C. §1983 action in which the Plaintiff claims
that he was denied adequate medical care while incarcerated
in the Montgomery County Detention Facility. He sued the
Sheriff of Montgomery County (Cunningham), the Director of
Detention at the Montgomery County Jail (Robinson), and the
Chief Deputy District Attorney for Montgomery County
(Bailey). Bailey was never served. The Magistrate Judge
treated Defendants Cunningham and Robinson's Supplemented
Special Report as a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies available to him at the Detention
Facility before filing this action.
Magistrate Judge held an evidentiary hearing on December 8,
2016 on the exhaustion issue and on February 1, 2017 entered
her Recommendation that the suit be dismissed as to
Cunningham and Robinson for failure of the Plaintiff to
exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to filing
suit and that the claims against Bailey be dismissed on
grounds of absolute immunity.
accordance with the law of this circuit, the court has
conducted a de novo review of the Magistrate
Judge's Recommendation, including reading the transcript
of the evidentiary hearing; considering all exhibits before
the court; and fully considering the objections of the
Defendant. See Jeffrey S. by Ernest S. v. State Bd. Of
Educ. of State of Georgia, 896 F.2d 507, 513 (11th Cir.
district court judge has broad discretion to accept, reject,
or modify a magistrate judge's proposed findings.
United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 680 (1980).
“Credibility findings of a magistrate judge, ‘who
personally observed and listened to the testimony of live
witnesses, may be accepted unless the district judge, in his
de novo review, finds reason to question the magistrate's
assessment of the evidence.'” U.S. v.
Jennings, 491 F.Supp.2d 1072, 1075 (M.D. Ala. 2007)
(quoting Blizzard v. Quillen, 579 F.Supp. 1446, 1449
(D. Del.1984)). De novo review does not require a
new hearing of witness testimony, but it does require
independent consideration of factual issues based on the
record. Jeffrey S., 896 F.2d at 513. If the
magistrate judge makes findings based on the testimony of
witnesses, the district court is obliged to review the
transcript or listen to a tape-recording of the proceedings.
reviewing the record and reading the transcript of the
evidentiary hearing, the court makes an independent factual
determination and finds no reason to question the Magistrate
Judge's credibility assessments.
Plaintiff contended that he did file grievance forms before
filing suit and Cunningham testified that he did not, because
the forms would be in the facilities' records, and are
not, and the Plaintiff would have been given copies of
responses. The Magistrate Judge's findings on this issue
depended on her credibility judgments after seeing and
hearing the witnesses and reviewing the
reading a transcript of the hearing the court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge's credibility determinations and factual
findings that the Plaintiff failed to exhaust his available
administrative remedies, for the reasons set out in the
Recommendation. The Plaintiff's Objection merely
disagrees with that finding and the court finds the objection
to be without merit.
Plaintiff's objection to the Magistrate Judge's
recommendation as to dismissal of the suit as to Bailey on
the basis of absolute immunity is, likewise, without merit.
it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
Plaintiff's Objection is OVERRULED.
court adopts the Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge.
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #21) is GRANTED to the extent that it
seeks dismissal for Plaintiff's failure to exhaust an