United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of the Magistrate Judge, recommending summary dismissal of
the complaint. The Court adopts the Report and Recommendation
and dismisses the complaint without prejudice and without
service of process.
pro se Plaintiff has filed suit against his parents,
alleging that they have made unspecified statements
concerning Plaintiffs "mental health and competence, and
the state of Plaintiffs personal and professional
lives." (Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 9.) Plaintiff proceeds in
diversity jurisdiction to bring state law claims against his
parents for alleged "breach of fiduciary relationship,
" constructive fraud, civil conspiracy, and defamation.
For relief, Plaintiff seeks "an award of all actual,
compensatory, consequential, and incidental damages, "
punitive damages, and the costs of suit. Although Plaintiff
is proceeding pro se, he asks for "attorney
fees." (Dkt. No. ¶ 141.)
13, 2016, the Magistrate Judge recommended summary dismissal
of this action. (Dkt. No. 12 at 11.) Plaintiff has not
objected to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261,
270-71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de
novo determination of those portions of the Report and
Recommendation to which specific objection is made.
Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by
the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This
Court may also "receive further evidence or recommit the
matter to the magistrate judge with instructions."
Id. Where the plaintiff fails to file any specific
objections, "a district court need not conduct a de novo
review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there is no
clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation, " see Diamond v. Colonial
Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (internal quotation omitted), and this Court is not
required to give any explanation for adopting the
recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198 (4th Cir. 1983).
is frivolous "where it lacks an arguable basis either in
law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325-27 (1989), Plaintiffs claims lack any arguable basis
in law or in fact and are, therefore, frivolous.
causes of action for purported "Breach of Fiduciary
Duty, "Constructive Fraud, " and "Civil
Conspiracy" all rest on the premise that Plaintiffs
parents have breached a duty by refusing to support him as an
adult. In South Carolina, parents have a duty to support only
a minor child. Peebles v. Disher, 310 S.E.2d 823,
825 (S.C. Ct. App. 1983). Plaintiff is an adult who was
employed in 2009-10 as a professional accountant. In a 2014
action brought in this Court, Plaintiff indicated that he was
hired in 2009 as "accounting manager" for the
Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina. See Greenspan v.
Brothers Property Corporation, Civil No.
2:14-3875-RMG-MGB (D.S.C. Apr. 30, 2015). The complaint thus
attempts to assert claims premised on a fiduciary
relationship that does not exist as a matter of law. The
existence of a parental relationship, standing alone, does
not constitute or create a "fiduciary
relationship." Peebles, 279 S.E.2d at 825.
Although Plaintiff makes a vague reference to a promise to
support him, the complaint makes no mention of any cognizable
basis for the existence of a fiduciary duty.
support of his cause of action for defamation, Plaintiff
complains that his parents made statements concerning his
"mental health and competence" without alleging
what specific statements were made, when those statements
were made, to whom, or what damages resulted. (Dkt. No. 1 at
2, ¶ 9.) Even with liberal construction, Plaintiffs
allegations of defamation are vague, conclusory, and patently
sues his parents for their refusal to support him as an adult
and for their alleged criticism of him to unspecified
persons. His claims lack an arguable basis in law or in fact,
and, consequentially, Defendants are entitled to summary
dismissal of Plaintiffs frivolous claims without service of
process. See Ross v. Baron, 493 Fed.App'x 405,
406 (4th Cir. 2012).