United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
Charles Sampson, proceeding pro se, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the three
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 Kaymani D. West, made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2)(e) for the District of South
Carolina. See R & R, ECF No. 11. The
Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court summarily dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint without prejudice. R & R at 6.
Plaintiff has filed objections to the R & R. See
ECF No. 13.
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).
complaint, Plaintiff alleges his home in Latta, South
Carolina, was illegally searched by the Latta Police
Department, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
(“SLED”), and the Dillon County Sheriff's
Office (collectively, “Defendants” or “the
originally named defendants”). See ECF No. 1
at 5. Plaintiff elaborates on this allegation in a
supplemental pleading attached to his complaint, asserting
the allegedly illegal search occurred on June 5,
2014. See ECF No. 1-1 at 1, 9.
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages for the alleged violation of
his federal constitutional rights. ECF No. 1 at 5. The
Magistrate Judge recommends summarily dismissing this action
because Plaintiff has failed to name a defendant that may
properly be sued based upon the allegations in his
complaint. R & R at 3-6.
objections, Plaintiff does not challenge the Magistrate
Judge's finding that he cannot maintain claims against
the three named Defendants. Having found no clear error in
the R & R, the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge
that these Defendants should be dismissed from this action.
See Diamond, 416 F.3d at 315 (stating a district
court need only review the magistrate judge's R & R
for clear error in the absence of specific objections).
does, however, make the following statement in his
objections: “My defendants are Derrick Cartwright Latta
Police Department, Andy Bethea Sled[, ] and Troy Jones Dillon
County Sheriff Officer.” ECF No. 13. Similarly, in the
case caption for his objections, Plaintiff lists Cartwright,
Bethea, and Jones as the named defendants. See ECF
No. 13. The Court construes Plaintiff's objections as a
motion to amend his complaint to substitute the newly named
defendants for the originally named defendants. See
generally Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)
(stating “[a] document filed pro se is ‘to be
liberally construed'” (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976))).
[C]ourt should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so
requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). “[A]
request to amend should only be denied if one of three facts
is present: the amendment would be prejudicial to the
opposing party, there has been bad faith on the part of the
moving party, or amendment would be futile.”
Mayfield v. Nat'l Ass'n for Stock Car Auto
Racing, Inc., 674 F.3d 369, 379 (4th Cir. 2012)
(internal quotation marks omitted). “[L]eave to amend
shall be freely given when justice so requires; this mandate
is to be heeded. If the underlying facts or circumstances
relied upon by a plaintiff may be a proper subject of relief,
he ought to be afforded an opportunity to test his claim on
the merits.” Pittston Co. v. United States,
199 F.3d 694, 705 (4th Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks
omitted) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182
supplemental pleading filed with his complaint, Plaintiff
makes several factual allegations relating to the three
defendants-Cartwright, Bethea, and Jones-that he names in his
objections/motion to amend. See ECF No. 1-1. For
example, Plaintiff alleges that Cartwright (an acting interim
police chief) authorized the warrantless search of his home,
and indicates Bethea (a SLED special agent) and Jones (a
deputy sheriff) participated in the illegal search.
See Id. at 1, 9. Additionally, on his complaint
form, Plaintiff indicates he wishes to sue these
defendants-underneath each named defendant, he also writes
“acting chief, ” “special agent, ”
and “Dillon County Sheriffs.” See ECF
No. 1 at 2-3.
Court finds that Plaintiff's proposed amendment would not
be prejudicial because no opposing party has been served, and
that there is no indication of bad faith on Plaintiff's
part. Moreover, amendment does not readily appear to be
futile as to Cartwright, Bethea, or Jones. Therefore, out of
an abundance of caution, the Court will grant Plaintiff's
motion to amend and permit him to substitute Cartwright,
Bethea, and Jones as the named defendants in this case.
The Court will recommit this case to the Magistrate Judge for
further screening of Plaintiff's complaint and
supplemental pleading in light of Plaintiff's newly named
defendants. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72; Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.).
Court has thoroughly reviewed the entire record, including
Plaintiff's complaint and supplemental pleading, the R
& R, and Plaintiff's objections/motion to amend.
See ECF Nos. 1, 11, & 13. The Court hereby
adopts and incorporates the R & R [ECF No. 11] by
reference and DISMISSES the Latta Police Department, SLED,
and the Dillon County Sheriff's Office from this action
without prejudice and without issuance and service of
process. The Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to
amend [ECF No. 13] and DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to
SUBSTITUTE Derrick Cartwright, ...