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Spearman v. Epps

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

March 26, 2018

DUANE W. SPEARMAN PLAINTIFF
v.
CHRISTOPHER B. EPPS, et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          Debra M. Brown UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the February 5, 2018, Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Roy Percy. Doc. #49.

         I

         Procedural History

         On or about December 4, 2014, Duane W. Spearman filed a pro se prisoner complaint against several employees of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) alleging that they violated his constitutional rights by failing to provide him with out-of-state legal materials. Doc. #1. On August 14, 2015, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Doc. #23. On or about September 8, 2015, Spearman responded. Doc. #28. On March 24, 2016, this Court denied the motion for summary judgment without prejudice and requested that the parties submit supplemental briefing on the issue of whether MDOC was required to provide Spearman with out-of-state legal materials. Doc. #34.

         On May 18, 2016, the defendants submitted their supplemental briefing. Doc. #37. After this Court ordered Spearman to file his supplemental briefing, he did so on or about May 26, 2017. Doc. #44.

         On February 5, 2018, United States Magistrate Judge Roy Percy issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that the case be dismissed as to all defendants. Doc. #49. The Report and Recommendation concludes that MDOC violated Spearman's constitutional right of access to the courts by failing to provide him with out-of-state legal materials but that the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity because Spearman's right to out-of-state legal materials was not clearly established. Id. at 10-12.

         Spearman acknowledged receipt of the Report and Recommendation on February 6, 2018. Doc. #50. The defendants filed objections to the Report and Recommendation on February 16, 2018. Doc. #51. On or about February 26, 2018, Spearman filed a “Motion for Exten[s]ion.” Doc. #52. On or about March 9, 2018, Spearman filed objections to the Report and Recommendation. Doc. #53.

         II

         Analysis

         A. Standard

         Where objections to a report and recommendation have been filed, a court must conduct a “de novo review of those portions of the … report and recommendation to which the [parties] specifically raise objections. With respect to those portions of the report and recommendation to which no objections were raised, the Court need only satisfy itself that there is no plain error on the face of the record.” Gauthier v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., 644 F.Supp.2d 824, 828 (E.D. Tex. 2009) (citing Douglass v. United Servs. Auto. Ass'n, 79 F.3d 1415, 1428-29 (5th Cir. 1996)) (internal citation omitted).

         B. Objections

         In his objections to the Report and Recommendation, Spearman argues that the defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity because (1) the defendants “knew they were violating [his] rights” by failing to contact Arkansas authorities and (2) the ILAP, “being trained in Mississippi law and Federal law[, ] [was] unreasonable by having electronic means [to access Arkansas legal materials and] absolutely refused to help.” Doc. #53 at 1-2. The defendants object to the Report and Recommendation only to “request the Court clarify in its order in this matter that, with regard to jurisdictions outside of Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Corrections and its staff only need to provide inmates with ‘legal materials' from those jurisdictions in order to comport with constitutional requirements.” Doc. #51 at ¶ ...


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