United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge.
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. See R & R [ECF No. 10]. The
Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court summarily dismiss
this action without prejudice. R & R at 4.
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).
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. ECF No. 1. The second document is a mostly
handwritten complaint 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. 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.
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.
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 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.
First Complaint/Group of Defendants: Manigault, Mauldin, and
specifically objects to the Magistrate Judge's proposed
finding that Manigault and Mauldin, who are public defenders,
not amenable to suit under § 1983 because they were not
acting under color of state law. 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.” 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
Second Complaint/Group of Defendants: Bill M., Jeter, Davis,
Mattern, Brokiskie, and Compos
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,