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Workman v. Manigault

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

April 13, 2017

Olandio Ray Workman, Plaintiff,
v.
Dorothy Manigault; John I. Mauldin; Greenville County Public Defenders Office; Bill M., Engineered Product Inc. Co.; Montre Jeter; Caleb Davis; Chris Mattern; Tee Brokiskie; and Michael Compos, Defendants.

          ORDER

          R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Olandio Ray Workman, a state pretrial detainee proceeding pro se, brings multiple claims against multiple defendants. See ECF Nos. 1 & 1-1. The matter is before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation (“R & R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McDonald, 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. 10]. The Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court summarily dismiss this action without prejudice. R & R at 4.

         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).

         Background

         Plaintiff initiated this action by filing three separate documents mailed in the same envelope. See ECF Nos. 1, 1-1, & 1-2. The first document is a form “Complaint for a Civil Case” containing blanks with Plaintiff's handwritten responses; he names three defendants-Dorothy Manigault, John I. Mauldin, and the Greenville County Public Defenders Office (“GCPDO”)-and alleges constitutional violations relating to his ongoing criminal prosecution.[2] ECF No. 1. The second document is a mostly handwritten complaint[3] that names six defendants-“Bill M., ” Montre Jeter, Caleb Davis, Chris Mattern, Tee Brokiskie, and Michael Compos-and contains allegations relating to his employment at Engineered Products Corporation, a manufacturing plant in Greenville County.[4] ECF No. 1-1. The third document is a “Motion of Discovery” in which Plaintiff states he “need[s] a copy of [his] bond hearing court video” and other various other items. ECF No. 1-2.

         The Magistrate Judge has issued an R & R treating this case as a single action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and recommending summarily dismissal for failure to state a claim because the defendants were not acting under color of state law and therefore are not amenable to suit under § 1983. R & R at 1, 3-4.

         Plaintiff has filed objections to the R & R in which he states, “I sent two lawsuits not one. . . . We have 2 different lawsuits combined as one[.] We need to make them two.” Pl.'s Objs. [ECF No. 14] at 1. Plaintiff claims that “lawsuit number 1” involves his claims against Manigault, Mauldin, and the GCPDO[5] and that “lawsuit number two” involves his claims against Bill M., Jeter, Davis, Mattern, Brokiskie, and Compos. Id. at 1, 9-10, 13. Plaintiff asserts that the lawsuits “have nothing to do” with one another and that “[i]t was a file error” to have them combined into a single action. Id. at 9, 13. Besides his objections, Plaintiff has also filed a document that the Clerk docketed as a “Motion case to be divided into 2 separate cases.” ECF No. 13.

         Discussion

         I. First Complaint/Group of Defendants: Manigault, Mauldin, and the GCPDO

         Plaintiff specifically objects to the Magistrate Judge's proposed finding that Manigault and Mauldin, who are public defenders, [6] are not amenable to suit under § 1983 because they were not acting under color of state law.[7] Pl.'s Objs. at 11-12. Plaintiff cites two cases-Powers v. Hamilton County Public Defender Commission, 501 F.3d 592 (6th Cir. 2007), and Ballard v. Wall, 413 F.3d 510 (5th Cir. 2005)-in which the Sixth and Fifth Circuits concluded criminal defense attorneys' actions were under the color of state law. Id. at 12. Plaintiff apparently believes these cases permit him to maintain § 1983 claims against Manigault and Mauldin. However, the Court finds both cases are clearly distinguishable. Powers involved an exception to the general rule “that a public defender does not act under color of state law when performing a lawyer's traditional functions as counsel to a defendant in a criminal proceeding.”[8] Polk Cty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325 (1981). Ballard involved a plaintiff's allegation that his constitutional rights were violated when private attorneys conspired with a state court judge to keep the plaintiff in jail until he paid certain debts, and therefore the private attorneys could not be dismissed on the basis that they were not state actors. 413 F.3d at 518-20. Neither Powers nor Ballard (which are nonbinding authority) are applicable to the instant case, and the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Manigault and Mauldin are not amenable to suit under § 1983. See Polk, supra; Hall v. Quillen, 631 F.2d 1154, 1155 (4th Cir. 1980) (holding court-appointed attorneys are not amenable to suit under § 1983 because they do not act under color of state law). Accordingly, the Court will summarily dismiss Plaintiff's claims against Manigault, Mauldin, and the GCPDO.

         II. Second Complaint/Group of Defendants: Bill M., Jeter, Davis, Mattern, Brokiskie, and Compos

         The Magistrate Judge recommends dismissing Bill M., Jeter, Davis, Mattern, Brokiskie, and Compos because they were not acting under color of state law and are therefore not amenable to suit under § 1983. R & R at 3. In his objections, Plaintiff asserts that his lawsuit against these six defendants should be a separate action because it has “nothing to do” with his lawsuit against Manigault, Mauldin, and the GCPDO. Pl.'s Objs. at 1, 9-10, 13. In addition to his objections, as mentioned above, ...


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