Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

LaSure v. Scaturo

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division

December 19, 2016

Alfred W. LaSure, a/k/a Alfred William LaSure, Plaintiff,
v.
Holly Scaturo; Kimberly Poholchuk, B.M.C. Program Director; Cynthia Helff, B.M.C.; Dr. Kelly Gothard; Dr. Gordon Brown, Psychologist; Dr. Rozanna Trass, Psychologist; Dr. Amy Swan, Psychologist; Marie Gehle, Evaluator; Dr. Donna Schwartz-Watts, Psychologist; Capt. Frank Abney, P.S.O. Supervisor; Galen Sanders, Chief Nursing Administrator; Harold Alexander, R.N.; Charlene Hickman, R.N.; Dr. John McGill, Director of Department of Mental Health; and Allen Wilson, Attorney General, Defendants.

          ORDER

          R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Alfred William LaSure, a state civilly committed person proceeding pro se, has filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the above-captioned Defendants. See ECF No. 1. 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 Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina.[1] See R & R, ECF No. 15. The Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court summarily dismiss Plaintiff's complaint without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. R & R at 7. Plaintiff has filed timely objections to the R & R. See Pl.'s Objs., ECF No. 17.

         Standard of Review

         The 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. § 636(b)(1).

         The 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).

         Discussion[2]

         Plaintiff is a civilly committed person in the South Carolina Department of Mental Health pursuant to the South Carolina Sexually Violent Predator Act, SC Code Ann. §§ 44-48-10 through -170. Plaintiff has filed a complaint against fifteen defendants, purporting to sue them under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See ECF No. 1. The Magistrate Judge recommends summarily dismissing Plaintiff's complaint for the following reasons: (1) Plaintiff fails to request any relief in his complaint; (2) to the extent Plaintiff has requested to be released or has challenged his civil commitment, the Supreme Court's holding in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), bars such claims; (3) the complaint fails to state a plausible, nonfrivolous § 1983 claim; (4) Plaintiff cannot maintain a § 1983 claim based on supervisory liability; and (5) Plaintiff fails to allege sufficient facts to state a constitutional or other federal claim against Defendant Swan. R & R at 4-7.

         Plaintiff lodges two main objections to the R & R.[3] First, he claims Defendant “Swan is nothing more than a hired gun” for the Sexually Violent Predator Treatment Program administered by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. Pl.'s Objs. at 1. Plaintiff further asserts such “indefinite long term care and treatment . . . is essentially . . . equivalent to [a] criminal's life sentence and treatment is . . . punitive action as seen with the 33 pages within Case No # 9:15-cv-1357-RBH-BM.” Id. Based on this statement, Plaintiff appears to be referring to a complaint (which had thirty-three pages of attached exhibits) in another case that he previously filed in this Court. See LaSure v. S.C. Mental Health et al., No. 9:15-cv-01357-RBH (D.S.C.).[4] In that case, Plaintiff presented a similar argument challenging the constitutionality of the Sexually Violent Predator Act (“SVPA”) and its allegedly punitive nature, which the Court rejected as follows:

[C]ourts have consistently upheld the constitutionality of the SVPA and determined it is a non-punitive form of civil commitment. See, e.g., Seling v. Young, 531 U.S. 250 (2001); Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346 (1997); In re Matthews, 345 S.C. 638, 648-51, 550 S.E.2d 311, 315-17 (2001) (citing the United States Supreme Court's decision in Hendricks as “controlling” and concluding the SVPA is civil rather than criminal and that confinement under the SVPA is non-punitive), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 1062 (2002); In re Allen, 351 S.C. 153, 568 S.E.2d 354 (2002); In re Treatment & Care of Luckabaugh, 351 S.C. 122, 568 S.E.2d 338 (2002). See also Michau v. Charleston Cty., 434 F.3d 725, 727 (4th Cir. 2006) (“Michau is presently being detained under the SVPA, which creates a system of civil, not criminal, detention.” (emphasis added)).

No. 9:15-cv-01357-RBH, at ECF No. 95 p. 13. For the same reason, the Court rejects Plaintiff's argument and overrules his objection.

         Second, Plaintiff addresses the Magistrate Judge's initial finding that Plaintiff has failed to request any relief in his complaint. See R & R at 4. Plaintiff states, “Relief Plaintiff would seek is declaratory as well [as] injunctive relief over the mental stress, mental anguish, lack of therapeutic treatment, and a monitory [sic] sum in the order of $2, 735, 000.00 from each defendant.” Pl.'s Objs. at 2. Plaintiff further states he “wish[es] to request more time as to make his amended pleading.” Id. Plaintiff has not, however, challenged the Magistrate Judge's recommendations regarding the additional, independent reasons why his complaint must be dismissed. See Diamond, 416 F.3d at 315 (stating that absent specific objections, a district court need only review the magistrate judge's R & R for clear error). As the Magistrate Judge reported, (a) Heck bars Plaintiff's challenge to his civil commitment; (b) Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a plausible, nonfrivolous § 1983 claim; and (c) Plaintiff cannot maintain a § 1983 claim based on supervisory liability. The Court finds these three reasons are independent grounds for summary dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint.[5]

         Conclusion

         The Court has thoroughly reviewed the entire record, including Plaintiff's complaint, the R & R, and Plaintiff's objections. See ECF Nos. 1, 15, & 17. For the reasons stated in this Order and in the R & R, the Court overrules Plaintiff's objections, adopts and incorporates the R & R [ECF No. 15] by reference, and DISMISSES this action without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.

         IT ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.