United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Howe Hendricks United States District Judge
matter is before the Court upon Plaintiff Tyrone Cornelius
Williams' pro se complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Sheriff
Deputy Levi Duyn used excessive and deadly force against
Plaintiff when he shot Plaintiff in the back while pursuing
Plaintiff on foot.
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil
Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), the matter was referred to a
United States Magistrate Judge for preliminary
determinations. On June 16, 2016, Magistrate Judge Thomas E.
Rogers, III, issued a report and recommendation
(“Report”) outlining Plaintiff's complaint
and recommending that the Court dismiss the action without
issuance and service of process as to Defendants Florence
County Sheriff's Department, Florence County, and
Florence County Detention Center. Specifically, the Magistrate
Judge determined that Defendant Florence County Sheriff's
Department is immune from suit pursuant to the Eleventh
Amendment; that Plaintiff failed to state a plausible §
1983 claim against Defendant Florence County; and that
Defendant Florence County Detention Center is not a
“person” amenable to suit under § 1983.
filed written objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report
on June 27, 2016; however, in his objections Plaintiff simply
reiterates his claim that Defendant Levi Duyn violated his
constitutional rights and nowhere does Plaintiff respond to
the Magistrate Judge's recommendations as to Defendants
Florence County Sheriff's Department, Florence County,
and Florence County Detention Center.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the 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 only of
those portions of the Report to which specific objections are
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. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of
specific objections, the Court reviews the matter only for
clear error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident
Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (stating
that “in the absence of a timely filed objection, 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.'”) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72
advisory committee's note).
review, and in the absence of specific objections, the Court
finds that the Magistrate Judge correctly summarized the
facts and applied the appropriate legal standards. First, as
the Magistrate Judge determined, Defendant Florence County
Sheriff's Department is entitled to Eleventh Amendment
immunity, as it is well-established in South Carolina that a
sheriff's office is an agency of the state, such that a
suit against a sheriff's office is a suit against the
State. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police,
491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989); Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S.
781, 782 (1978) (per curiam) (citations omitted). Next, the
Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff failed
to state a plausible § 1983 claim against Defendant
Florence County because Plaintiff's claims arise out of
the alleged actions of Defendant Sheriff Deputy Levi Duyn,
who serves at the pleasure of the Sheriff and not the county.
See Allen v. Fid. & Deposit Co., 515 F.Supp.
1185, 1190 (D.S.C. 1981) (“The county government [in
South Carolina] cannot hire or fire the deputies nor can it
tell the sheriff the manner or method by which he and his
deputies are to perform the official acts of his
office.”). In addition, as the Magistrate Judge noted,
Plaintiff has not averred that the alleged excessive force
was the result of an official policy or custom of Florence
County. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436
U.S. 658 (1978). Finally, the Court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge that Defendant Florence County Detention
Center is not a “person” amenable to suit under
42 U.S.C. § 1983.
based on the foregoing, the Court adopts and incorporates the
Magistrate Judge's Report (ECF No. 12); overrules
Plaintiff's objections (ECF No. 18); and dismisses
Defendants Florence County Sheriff's Department, Florence
County, and Florence County Detention Center without issuance
and service of process. This action remains pending against
Although the caption of Plaintiff's
complaint does not include Florence County Detention Center
as a Defendant, the Magistrate Judge, in liberally construing
Plaintiff's pro se filing, included the Florence County