United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Marcus L. Watts, #316590, Plaintiff,
Bryan Sterling, S.C.D.C., Defendants.
F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge
L. Watts (“Plaintiff”) proceeding pro se and
in forma pauperis, filed this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of the First and
Fourteenth Amendments by Defendants Bryan
Stirling and the South Carolina Department of
Corrections (“SCDC”). ECF No. 30.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
February 12, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint against
Defendant Stirling. ECF No. 1. In addition, Plaintiff moved
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis under 28
U.S.C. § 1915, ECF No. 2, which was granted on February
22, 2016, by Magistrate Judge Kevin McDonald, ECF No. 7.
Between March 10, 2016, and March 14, 2016, Plaintiff filed
two motions to amend his complaint. ECF Nos. 13, 19. On March
31, 2016, Magistrate Judge McDonald issued an order granting
both motions to amend. ECF No. 24. On April 11, 2016,
Plaintiff filed his amended complaint against SCDC. ECF No.
27. On April 12, 2016, due to Plaintiff's incorporation
by reference, Magistrate Judge McDonald issued a docket text
order directing the Clerk of Court to file Plaintiff's
original complaint, first motion to amend, second motion to
amend with attachments, and amended complaint as one document
to be labeled as the amended complaint. ECF Nos. 1, 13, 19,
19-1, 27, 28, 30. On May 4, 2016, Defendants filed a motion
to dismiss Plaintiff's amended complaint. ECF No. 33.
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court entered an order
pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.3d 309 (4th
Cir. 1975), advising him of the importance of the motion and
of the need for him to file an adequate response. ECF No. 34.
On May 16, 2016, Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to
Defendants' motion to dismiss. ECF Nos. 39, 44. On May
25, 2016, Defendants filed a reply. ECF No. 42.
September 20, 2016, the Magistrate Judge assigned to this
action prepared a thorough Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) and opined that this
Court grant Defendants' motion to dismiss. ECF No. 55.
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 September 20, 2016. ECF Nos.
55-56. The Magistrate Judge gave the parties until October 7,
2016, to file objections. Id. On October 3, 2016,
Plaintiff filed objections to the Report. ECF No. 57. On
October 20, 2016, Defendants responded to Plaintiff's
objections. ECF No. 60. Thus, this matter is ripe for the
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).
alleged three claims in his amended complaint: (1) SCDC's
policy providing only two envelopes per month to indigent
prisoners violates his right to free speech under the First
Amendment; (2) said policy also violates the
constitutional rights of his non-incarcerated family and
friends to receive mail; and (3) SCDC's “Indigent
hygiene bags” are racially biased and violate the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. ECF No. 30.
Magistrate Judge opined that Plaintiff's amended
complaint should be dismissed: (1) Plaintiff failed to allege
he suffered an actual injury or specific instances regarding
the restriction of his rights due to SCDC's policy nor
did he show the policy was unconstitutional, ECF No. 55 at
5-6; (2) Plaintiff lacked standing to bring an action on
behalf of his family and friends, id. at 8; (3)
Plaintiff failed to allege that he has been treated
differently than other inmates as a result of intentional
discrimination, id. at 7; (4) Plaintiff failed to
allege any personal involvement by Defendant Stirling or
supervisory liability, id. at 3; (5) Defendants were
entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity from monetary
damages-Defendant Stirling in his official capacity,
id. at 4-5; and (6) Defendant Stirling was entitled
to qualified immunity in his individual capacity,
id. at 8.
essentially raises four specific objections to the
Report. ECF No. 57. Each objection will be
addressed in turn. However, no objection was made to the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation that Plaintiff did not
have standing to bring claims on behalf of his family and
friends. The Magistrate Judge's analysis is correct, and,
therefore, the recommendation with regard to Plaintiff's
lack of standing is adopted in full. See Thomas v.
Am., 474 U.S. 140, 151-53 (1985).
Objections as to Defendant Stirling and the ...