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Robinson v. Morris

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 23, 2019

TONY TERRELL ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
R. MORRIS, T.G. WERLICH, LT. SMITH, and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation (“Report”) (Doc. 66) of Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly recommending that the Court grant the motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment filed by the defendant United States of America (Doc. 47); grant the motion to dismiss filed by defendants R. Morris, Lt. Smith, and T.G. Werlich (Doc. 50); and, alternatively, grant the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Lt. Smith (Doc. 49). Plaintiff Tony Terrell Robinson has objected to the Report (Doc. 67), and the defendants have responded to that objection (Doc. 68). The Court also considers Robinson's motion for leave to file an amended pleading (Doc. 69).

         I. Report Review Standard

         The Court may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in a report and recommendation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). The Court must review de novo the portions of the report to which objections are made. Id. “If no objection or only partial objection is made, the district court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear error.” Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999).

         II. Background

         This matter arose after Robinson, at all relevant times an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institute at Greenville, Illinois (“FCI-Greenville”), complained to Warden Werlich, and other prison staff about a new library policy and was then terminated from his prison job as an orderly in the law library. The new policy provided that inmates who wished to visit the law library after 4:00 p.m. would be required to stay there during the evening meal so they would miss the meal.[1] In his discussions with prison staff about the new policy, Robinson speculated that there was enough prison staff to allow inmates to visit the library and eat their evening meal. Shortly thereafter, Morris terminated Robinson from his orderly position, telling him it was because he posed a security threat by paying too much attention to the comings and goings of staff. Later, after Robinson inquired further about his termination, Lt. Smith threatened to ship him to a place he would not like if he continued to ask about the safety and security of FCI-Greenville and to file so many grievances.

         In his First Amended Complaint, Robinson brings a claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), against Morris for terminating him in retaliation for his complaints in violation of the First Amendment (Count 1); a claim against the United States for retaliatory discharge under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) (Count 2); a Bivens claim against Smith for threatening to transfer him in retaliation for his complaints in violation of the First Amendment (Count 3); and a Bivens claim against Morris and Werlich for the new library policy in violation of the Eighth Amendment (Count 4).

         In the Report, Magistrate Judge Daly recommends that the Court not recognize the Bivens actions in Counts 1, 3 and 4 and that the Court find Robinson failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to Counts 2 and 3. Robinson objects to the entirety of the Report.

         III. Analysis

         In its de novo review of the matter, the Court addresses Robinson's objections along with the portion of the Report to which each objection pertains.

         A. Incomplete Findings of Fact

         Robinson faults Magistrate Judge Daly for not fully describing the facts, the bases for Robinson's claims, the adverse actions taken against him, and his efforts to exhaust his administrative remedies. The only specific example to which he points is her failure to mention that Robinson's original complaint did not plead an FTCA cause of action.

         The Court has reviewed the evidence in the file and the facts set forth in the Report and finds that the Report recounts accurately all the facts necessary and relevant to the questions before the Court at the moment. As for Magistrate Judge Daly's omission of the “fact” that there was no FTCA claim pled in Robinson's original complaint, she was right to do so because this Court has already found-twice-that it contained such a claim, and has already dismissed the claim as stated in Robinson's original complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies (Doc. 1 at 11; Doc. 8 at 7-9). The Report accurately states the procedural history of this case.

         B. Recognition ...


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