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Sanders v. Wilson

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Spartanburg Division

November 24, 2014

Launeil Sanders, Plaintiff,
v.
Alan Wilson, South Carolina Attorney General Authorized Representative; Burts, Turner, and Rhodes, and its authorized insurance representative; Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina and its authorized insurance agent or representative; Janneth E. Sanders, Defendants.

ORDER

R. BRYAN HARWELL, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court after the issuance of the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of United States Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McDonald.[1] Plaintiff Launeil Sanders, proceeding pro se, filed this civil action on July 22, 2014, seeking damages and injunctive relief related to a family law case filed against him in a South Carolina family court.[2] The Magistrate Judge issued his R & R on July 29, 2014, see R & R, ECF No. 10, and Plaintiff filed timely objections to the R & R, see Pl.'s Objs., ECF No. 12. In the R & R, the Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court dismiss this action without prejudice and without issuance and service of process due to Plaintiff's failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See generally ECF No. 10. The R & R also recommends that the Court deny Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. See id. at 7.

The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R to which specific objection is made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b)(1).

The right to de novo review may be waived by the failure to file timely objections. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). The Court need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only "general and conclusory objections that do not direct the [C]ourt to a specific error in the [M]agistrate's proposed findings and recommendations." Id. Moreover, in the absence of objections to the R & R, the Court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation. Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). However, in the absence of objections, the Court must "satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.'" Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note).

The Magistrate Judge recommends dismissing the action without prejudice and without issuance and service of process due to Plaintiff's failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Specifically, the Magistrate Judge reports that the Office of the Governor and Office of the Attorney General of the State of South Carolina are immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. See R & R, ECF No. 10 at 3-4. Moreover, the Rooker-Feldman abstention doctrine is applicable to the facts alleged in Plaintiff's complaint, as he requests that this Court review a state family court judgment. See R & R, ECF No. 10 at 4; see also D.C. Ct. of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983) ("[A] United States District Court has no authority to review final judgments of a state court in judicial proceedings."). Next, the Magistrate Judge notes that the Defendant law firm of Burts, Turner, and Rhodes and Defendant Janneth Sanders are also subject to summary dismissal as they have not acted under color of state law. See ECF No. 10 at 4-5; see also Fleming v. Asbill, 42 F.3d 886, 890 (4th Cir. 1994) ("Private lawyers do not act under color of state law' merely by making use of the state's court system"); Brummett v. Camble, 946 F.2d 1178, 1184 (5th Cir. 1991) ("[A] private person does not act under color of state law simply because [s]he invokes state authority."). The Magistrate Judge also explains that this Court does not have diversity jurisdiction to consider any state law claims because Plaintiff and Defendants are citizens of South Carolina. See ECF No. 10 at 5.

The Magistrate Judge then examined Plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, and determined that he failed to make the requisite showing on any of the four criteria. See ECF No. 10 at 6-7; see also Winter v. Natural Resources Def. Counsel, 555 U.S. 7, 19-20 (2008) ("A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest."). Moreover, the Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis should be denied, as this action is frivolous. See ECF No. 10 at 7. Finally, the Magistrate Judge notes that this is the third civil rights action filed against the Burts, Turner, and Rhodes law firm by Plaintiff and the second against Attorney General Alan Wilson and Janneth Sanders of which were dismissed. See Order, Sanders v. Wilson, No. 7:14-837-RBH-KFM (D.S.C. June 21, 2014); Order, Sanders v. Burts Turner & Rhodes, No. 13-cv-02946 (D.S.C. Apr. 21, 2014).

In his objections, Plaintiff does not specifically address the Magistrate Judge's recommendation, rehashing only the allegations of his complaint and making a generalized claim that he is entitled to injunctive relief. The Court may only consider objections to the R & R that direct it to a specific error in the Magistrate Judge's recommendation. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 n.4 (4th Cir. 1984); Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 845-47 nn.1-3 (4th Cir. 1985). "Courts have... held de novo review to be unnecessary in... situations when a party makes general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the [Magistrate Judge's] proposed findings and recommendation." Orpiano, 687 F.2d at 47. Furthermore, in the absence of specific objections to the R & R, this Court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation. Camby, 718 F.2d at 199. After a review of the R & R in light of Plaintiff's objections, the Court finds no clear error. Therefore, the Magistrate Judge's recommendation is proper, and Plaintiff's objections are overruled.

CONCLUSION

The Court has thoroughly reviewed the entire record, including the complaint, the R & R, objections to the R & R, and applicable law. For the reasons stated above and by the Magistrate Judge, the Court hereby overrules Plaintiff's objections and adopts the Magistrate Judge's R & R.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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