United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
Alfred William LaSure, a state civilly committed person
proceeding pro se, has filed this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his constitutional
rights. Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment.
The matter is before the Court for review of the Report and
Recommendation (“R & R”) of United States
Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant, made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 73.02 for the
District of South Carolina. See R & R, ECF No.
82. The Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court grant
Defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismiss this
case. R & R at 14. Plaintiff has filed objections to the
R & R. See ECF No. 84.
Review of the Magistrate Judge's R & R
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court.
The Magistrate Judge's recommendation has no presumptive
weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination
remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S.
261, 270-71 (1976). The Court must conduct a de novo review
of those portions of the R & R to which specific
objections are made, and it may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge
or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. §
Court must engage in a de novo review of every portion of the
Magistrate Judge's report to which objections have been
filed. Id. However, 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 [Judge]'s proposed
findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence
of specific objections to the R & R, the Court reviews
only for clear error, Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc.
Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005), and the
Court need not give any explanation for adopting the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation. Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).
judgment is appropriate when no genuine issue of material
fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Reyazuddin v. Montgomery Cty., Md.,
789 F.3d 407, 413 (4th Cir. 2015); see Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(a) (“The court shall grant summary judgment if
the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.”). “A party asserting that a fact
cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion
by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record
. . .; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The facts and
inferences to be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party,
Reyazuddin, 789 F.3d at 413, but the Court
“cannot weigh the evidence or make credibility
determinations.” Jacobs v. N.C. Admin. Office of
the Courts, 780 F.3d 562, 569 (4th Cir. 2015).
is a civilly committed person in the South Carolina
Department of Mental Health (“SCDMH”) pursuant to
the South Carolina Sexually Violent Predator Act
(“SVPA”), SC Code Ann. §§ 44-48-10
through -170. Plaintiff has filed an amended complaint, with
attached exhibits, against the SCDMH, John McGill, and
Cynthia Helff (collectively, “Defendants”)
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging he has been
subjected to several unconstitutional conditions of
confinement including: (a) restriction of his canteen
privileges; (b) placement on therapeutic room restriction;
and (c) being restrained in shackles and handcuffs during
transport. See Pl.'s Am. Compl. & Exhs., ECF
No. 8. Plaintiff also alleges a deprivation of property claim
and challenges the constitutionality of the SVPA, claiming it
is punitive in nature. Id.
Magistrate Judge recommends granting summary judgment as to
all three Defendants and dismissing this case. R & R at
14. Plaintiff has filed objections to the R &
See Pl.'s Objs., ECF No. 84. Defendants have
filed a response to Plaintiff's objections, and Plaintiff
has filed a reply to Defendants' response. See
ECF Nos. 85 & 87.
Defendants SCDMH and McGill
initial matter, the Court notes Plaintiff does not
specifically object to the Magistrate Judge's
recommendation that Defendants SCDMH and McGill be dismissed.
See R & R at 9-11. Finding no clear error, the
Court adopts this recommendation and will dismiss these two
defendants from this action. See Diamond, 416 F.3d
at 315; Camby, 718 F.2d at 199-200.
does object to the Magistrate Judge's discussion
regarding Defendant Helff, his conditions of confinement
claims (those involving restriction of his canteen privileges
and use of restraints), and his deprivation of property
claim. See Pl.'s Objs. at 3-4.
Conditions of Confinement Claims
the professional judgment standard articulated in
Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 324 (1982), the
Magistrate Judge has concluded Defendant Helff is not subject
to liability as to Plaintiff's canteen privileges claim.
See R & R at 11-14. In Youngberg, the
Supreme Court recognized that a person who is involuntarily
committed to a state hospital retains constitutionally
protected liberty interests, and that protection of those
interests generally requires the exercise of professional
judgment. 457 U.S. at 319-23. The Supreme Court held a
“decision, if made by a professional, is presumptively
valid; liability may be imposed only when the decision by the
professional is such a substantial departure from accepted