United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
F. ANDERSON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Joseph Coyne (“Coyne”), filed this action pro se
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the South Carolina
Secretary of State (“SCSOS”) and the South
Carolina Republican Party (“SCGOP”) seeking a
declaration that the filing fee and loyalty pledge
requirements violate his rights under the First, Fourteenth,
and Twenty-Fourth Amendments to the United States
Constitution. ECF No. 1.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
September 15, 2015, Coyne filed his complaint and a motion
for preliminary injunction. ECF Nos. 1, 2. On November 16,
2015, SCGOP filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). ECF No. 18. On
November 18, 2015, SCSOS filed a motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
ECF No. 21. Because Coyne is proceeding pro se, the Court
entered orders pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528
F.3d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising him of the importance of
the motions and of the need for him to file adequate
responses. ECF Nos. 19, 22. On December 10, 2015, Coyne
timely responded to both motions to dismiss. ECF No. 24. On
December 29, 2015, Coyne filed a motion for summary judgment.
ECF No. 25. On March 18, 2016, SCSOS supplemented its motion
to dismiss for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 31.
July 26, 2016, the Magistrate Judge assigned to this
action prepared a thorough Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) and opined that this
Court deny Coyne's motion for preliminary injunction,
grant SCSOS's motion to dismiss, deny SCGOP's motion
to dismiss, and deny Coyne's motion for summary judgment.
ECF No. 36. The Report set forth in detail the relevant facts
and standards of law on this matter, and this Court
incorporates those facts and standards without a recitation.
The parties were advised of their right to object to the
Report, which was entered on the docket on July 26, 2016.
Id. The Magistrate Judge gave the parties until
August 12, 2016, to file objections. Id.
August 30, 2016, after receiving no objections, this Court
entered an order adopting the Report. ECF No. 38. Thereafter,
however, the Court received various documents from Coyne
asserting that he did not know of the Report's existence
prior to the Court's order filed on August 30, 2016. ECF
Nos. 42-45. Therefore, on September 13, 2016, the Court
vacated its order and provided Coyne with an opportunity to
receive and object to the Report. ECF No. 46. On September
26, 2016, Coyne's objections to the Report were filed.
ECF No. 50. Thus, this matter is ripe for the Court's
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The
Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those
portions of the Report 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.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of
specific objections to the Report of the Magistrate Judge,
this Court is not required to give an explanation for
adopting the recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718
F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983).
essentially raises three specific objections to the
Report. ECF No. 50. Each objection will be
addressed in turn. In reviewing his response, the Court will
not consider the objections raised to its order dated August
30, 2016, because the order was vacated in an effort to
ensure Coyne received due process with regard to this matter.
ECF No. 46, p. 2.
First Objection - SCSOS's Motion to Dismiss
first objection relates to the Magistrate Judge's
recommendation to grant SCSOS's motion to dismiss. ECF
No. 50, pp. 2-3. Coyne claims SCSOS failed to comply with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 (“Rule 12”)
because it did not respond to his complaint within the
timeframe required, and, therefore, concludes that SCSOS
“has NO legal standing in this case.” ECF No. 50,
p. 2. Furthermore, Coyne claims “SCSOS had and has NO
legal authority to file any motion or introduce any new
evidence and/or procedure(s) because of its decision to
violate Rule 12.” Id. Finally, Coyne claims
that SCSOS made an “illegal initial motion”
violating Rule 12. Id. at 4.
or after filing the complaint, the plaintiff may present a
summons to the clerk for signature and seal. If the summons
is properly completed, the clerk must sign, seal, and issue
it to the plaintiff for service on the defendant.” Fed
R. Civ. P. 4(b). “A summons must be served with a copy
of the complaint.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c). A defendant must
answer or respond by motion within the appropriate timeframe
of being served. Fed R. Civ. P. 12. “When a party
against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has
failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is