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Byerly v. Warden, Lebanon Correctional Institution

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

June 5, 2019

STEPHEN W. BYERLY, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN, LEBANON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, Defendants.

          Algenon L. Marbley Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER

          KIMBERLY A. JOLSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 24), Plaintiff's Motion for Injunction (Doc. 27), Plaintiff's Motion for Leave of Court to Amend Motion for Injunction (Doc. 29), Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery (Doc. 33), Plaintiff's Motion for an Order to Produce Discovery (Doc. 34), Plaintiff's Motion for Miscellaneous Relief (Doc. 46), Plaintiff's Objection (Doc. 51), and Defendants' Motion to Strike Objection (Doc. 54). For the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that: Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 24) be GRANTED; Plaintiff's Motion for Miscellaneous Relief (Doc. 46) be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part; and Plaintiff's Motion for Injunction (Doc. 27) and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave of Court to Amend Motion for Injunction (Doc. 29) be DENIED as moot. Further, Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery (Doc. 33), Plaintiff's Motion for an Order to Produce Discovery (Doc. 34), Plaintiff's Objection (Doc. 51), and Defendants' Motion to Strike Objection (Doc. 54) are DENIED as moot.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Stephen Byerly is a state prisoner at Marion Correctional Institution. He was formerly incarcerated at Lebanon Correctional Institution (“LECI”). Defendants are Thomas Scheitzer, the warden of LECI; the State of Ohio; Mike DeWine; Gary Mohr, the Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (“ODRC”); and Roger Wilson, the Chief Inspector for ODRC. (Doc. 10 at 4).

         Plaintiff suffers from vision impairments that allegedly impaired his ability to use the grievance process at LECI. (Id. at 8, 9; Doc. 10-1 at 1-2). Although difficult to follow, Plaintiff generally alleges that Defendants failed to respond to his grievances and that they denied him access to the courts. (Doc. 10 at 5-8). Specifically, Plaintiff appears to allege that, in August 2017, prison officials lost his motion for authorization to file a second or successive federal habeas petition.[1] (See Id. at 5 (“Lost legal motion handed to prison officials on August 8th 2017 - habeas corpus 28 U.S.C. 2244 denial federal right failed make it's destination sent to Circuit Judge Southern Dist. Court of Ohio.”); id. at 8 (“By losing legally mailed file habeas corpus - 28 U.S.C. 2244 is serious offence in Mr. Byerly's challenge to courts for proof of his innocences?”)). According to Plaintiff, prison officials, including Defendants, have failed to respond to his grievances and complaints regarding the same. (Id. at 5-8).

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on May 2, 2018 (Doc. 5). Several months later, he filed his Amended Complaint (Doc. 10). To address the alleged problems discussed above, Plaintiff requests that the Court: (1) provide an alternative grievance process for visually impaired inmates; (2) provide him with a magnification tool or handheld lens to allow him to read small print; (3) provide prison officials with retraining so they follow ODRC policy regarding their obligation to respond to prisoners' grievances; (4) find Plaintiff's lost legal motion; (5) order prison officials not to interfere with Plaintiff's mail; (6) order prison officials to facilitate his access to the courts; (7) order prison officials to implement a system by which prisoners can file paper, rather than electronic, grievances; and (8) order prison officials to pay for all costs and filing fees necessary to remedy these issues. (Id. at 9-12).

         Defendants filed their Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 24) on November 30, 2018. The briefing deadline for that Motion has passed, and the Motion is now ripe for resolution.

         II. DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS (Doc. 24)

         Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings for three reasons. First, they argue, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Doc. 24 at 2). Second, they assert, Plaintiff's claims are based on the doctrine of respondeat superior, which cannot be used to establish liability in § 1983. (Id.). Third, they contend, they are immune pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment. (Id.).

         A. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that, “after the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). “Judgment may be granted under Rule 12(c) where the moving parties clearly establish that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Williamson v. Recovery Ltd. P'ship, No. 2:06-CV-292, 2010 WL 3769136, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 24, 2010) (citations omitted).

         In examining a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c), the Court uses the same standard of review applied to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Mixon v. State of Ohio, 193 F.3d 389, 399-400 (6th Cir. 1999). Accordingly, the Court “must construe the complaint in a light most favorable to plaintiffs, accept all well-pled factual allegations as true, and determine whether plaintiffs undoubtedly can prove no set of facts in support of those allegations that would entitle them to relief.” Bishop v. Lucent Tech., Inc., 520 F.3d 516, 519 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing Harbin-Bey v. Rutter, 420 F.3d 571, 575 (6th Cir. 2005)). To survive a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the “complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory.” Bishop, 520 F.3d at 519 (internal quotation marks omitted). Consequently, a complaint that consists of “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” is insufficient. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         B. ...


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