United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Timothy M. Cain United States District Judge
Robert Earl Williamson (“Williamson”), an inmate
proceeding pro se, filed these actions pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Defendants in Civil Action No. 8:16-177
removed the action from the Pickens County Court of Common
Pleas. (C/A No. 8:16-177, ECF No. 1). The magistrate judge issued
an Order and Report and Recommendation (“Report”)
(ECF No. 64) which denied Plaintiff's motions to amend
his complaint in both cases (ECF No. 62; C/A No. 8:16-177,
ECF No. 38) and recommended the court grant Defendants'
motions for summary judgment in both cases in regard to
Plaintiff's federal claims (ECF No. 51; C/A No. 8:16-177,
ECF No. 27); decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over any state law claims; and remand C/A No. 8:16-177 to the
Pickens County Court of Common Pleas. (ECF No. 64; C/A No.
8:16-177, ECF No. 40). Plaintiff timely filed objections.
(ECF No. 67). Defendants filed a response to Plaintiff's
objections. (ECF No. 69). Plaintiff filed a reply to
defendants' response. (ECF No. 70)
recommendations set forth in the Report have no presumptive
weight and the responsibility to make a final determination
in this matter remains with this court. See 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
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 with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
However, the court need not conduct a de novo review when a
party makes only “general and conclusory objections
that do not direct the court to a specific error in the
magistrate's proposed findings and
recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d
44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence of a timely filed,
specific objection, the magistrate judge's conclusions
are reviewed only for clear error. See Diamond v.
Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005).
magistrate judge summarizes the facts of this case in his
Report. Briefly, Plaintiff alleges that he served a term of
imprisonment from 2009 until February 1, 2012, for grand
larceny. (ECF No. 1 at 3). In early December 2014, he was
arrested for shoplifting and released later on a personal
recognizance bond. (ECF No. 40 at 2). On December 10, 2014, he was
arrested and served with an outstanding bench warrant
originally issued on October 2, 2009 by the Deputy Clerk of
Court in Pickens County ordering Plaintiff's arrest. (ECF
No. 51-2). Despite Plaintiff's protests that he had
already served full time on the charge, he was held in
custody for over a week. Plaintiff was released on December
19, 2014, after the Honorable G. Edward Welmaker, presiding
judge of the Court of General Sessions for Pickens County,
entered an order recalling the warrant. (ECF No.
original and amended complaints, Plaintiff alleged false
imprisonment, gross negligence, and violation of his due
process rights. (ECF Nos. 1 and 40, respectively). Upon
review, the court finds that many of Plaintiff's
objections merely restate his claims or are nonspecific and
unrelated to the dispositive portions of the Report. However,
the court was able to glean three specific objections.
Plaintiff asserts that the court lacks jurisdiction over his
claims. (ECF No. 67 at 1- 2). District courts have original
jurisdiction over civil actions involving a federal question
or diversity of citizenship. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331,
1332. In this case, jurisdiction depends on whether a federal
question was involved. See Id. at § 1441(a)
(authorizing removal to district court of state court civil
action “of which the district courts of the United
States have original jurisdiction”); id. at
§ 1331 (providing for original jurisdiction in the
district courts of “all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States”).
According to the Supreme Court, “a case arises under
federal law when federal law creates the cause of action
asserted.” Gunn v. Minton, 133 S.Ct. 1059,
1064 (2013). In this case, Plaintiff filed a claim alleging
violation of his due process rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, thus, subject matter jurisdiction is proper.
Plaintiff objects to the dismissal of his due process claim
by challenging the magistrate judge's reliance on
Mitchell v. Aluisi, 872 F.2d 577 (4th Cir. 1989).
The Fourth Circuit found no due process violation in
Mitchell when Plaintiff was arrested, detained, and
served with a facially valid bench warrant that had been
recalled, unbeknownst to the arresting officers. 872 F.2d at
579. Plaintiff claims that the case “is moot in its
entirety, ” “has no legal significance, ”
and is invalidated by the Fourth Amendment. (ECF No. 67 at
14, 17). However, Mitchell has not been overturned
or found to violate the Fourth Amendment and is not
“moot;” it is good law. See Etheridge v.
Norfolk & Western Ry.Co., 9 F.3d 1087
(4th Cir. 1993) (“A decision of a panel of
[the Fourth Circuit] court becomes the law of the circuit and
is binding on other panels unless it is overruled by a
subsequent en banc opinion of [the Fourth Circuit] court or
‘a superseding contrary decision of the Supreme
Court.'”) (quoting Busby v. Crown Supply,
Inc., 896 F.2d 833, 840-41 (4th Cir.1990)). Further,
Plaintiff appears to argue that the arrest occurred,
“knowing the bench warrant wasn't facially valid
. . . .” (ECF No. 67 at 17). However, it has been
determined that the warrant was indisputably facially valid
because it was not recalled until after his 2014
arrest. (ECF No. 51-4). As the Supreme Court held in
Baker v. McCollan, there was no violation of due
process when Plaintiff had been detained on a facially valid
warrant because of an inadvertent mistake. 443 U.S. 137
Plaintiff references two South Carolina statutes-neither of
which he raised in his original or supplemental complaint.
(ECF No. 67 at 18-20). However, these new arguments do not
challenge any part of the Report and Plaintiff cannot use
objections to plead new claims not alleged in his complaint.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (providing for
“de novo determination of those portions of the report
or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.”); Backus v. Cox,
2013 WL 5707328, at *2 (D.S.C. Oct. 18, 2013)
(“Plaintiff, however, cannot use his objections to
plead new claims or cure the factual defects of his existing
claims . . . .”). Further, Plaintiff's assertions
regarding state criminal statutes do not alter the analysis
of his federal claims.
thorough review of the entire record, including the Report
and Plaintiff's objections in accordance with the
standard referenced above, the court overrules
Plaintiff's objections, adopts the Report, and
incorporates it herein by reference. Defendants' motions
for summary judgment in both cases (ECF No. 51; C/A 8:16-177,
ECF No. 27) in regard to Plaintiff's federal claims are
GRANTED. Further, the court declines to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over any state law claims and remands those
claims in Civil Action 8:16-177 to the Pickens County Court
of Common Pleas.
IS SO ORDERED.