United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
ORDER AND OPINION
MARGARET B. SEYMOUR, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
March 2, 2017, Plaintiff Orlando Ira Brown, proceeding pro
se, brought this action alleging discrimination in violation
of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 12101, et seq. (ADA). Also on March 2, 2017,
Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment. In accordance
with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02, D.S.C.,
this matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge
Paige J. Gossett for pretrial handling.
alleges that he was a victim of a crime in November 2011. He
contends he attempted to report the crime, but that an
investigator in the Richland County, South Carolina,
Sheriff's Department required him to take a polygraph
examination. Plaintiff alleges he was treated differently
because he is mentally disabled and a drug user, in violation
of the ADA. See ECF No. 1, 5.
Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation on March
17, 2017. The Magistrate Judge reviewed the allegations of
the complaint and noted that the within action is the fourth
case filed by Plaintiff alleging that the Richland County
Sheriff's Department violated the ADA by requiring him to
take a polygraph test in November 2011. The Magistrate Judge
noted that Plaintiff's first complaint was summarily
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See
Brown v. South Carolina, C/A No. 3:12-221-MBS (D.S.C.
Jan. 24, 2012). The second complaint resulted in an order
granting summary judgment in favor of the Richland County
Sheriff's Department. See Brown v. Richland County
Sheriff's Dep't, C/A No. 3:12-3062-MBS (D.S.C.
Oct. 23, 2012). The third complaint was summarily dismissed
on the grounds of res judicata. See Brown v. South
Carolina, C/A No. 3:13-2983-MBS (D.S.C. Nov. 1, 2013).
The Magistrate Judge determined that the within action still
is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Accordingly, the
Magistrate Judge recommended that the within action be
summarily dismissed without prejudice and without issuance
and service of process. Plaintiff filed objections to the
Report and Recommendation on March 27, 2017.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270
(1976). This court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or
in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This court may
also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the
Magistrate Judge with instructions. Id. This court
is obligated to conduct a de novo review of every portion of
the Magistrate Judge's report to which objections have
been filed. Id. However, the district court need not
conduct a de novo review when a party makes only general and
conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a
specific error in the Magistrate Judge's proposed
findings and recommendations. Orpiano v. Johnson,
687 F.2d 44, 47-48 (4th Cir. 1982).
states his objection as follows:
I object to the rule of res judicata by which the Honorable
Paige Gossett presided with. Res judicata, at core function,
is to prevent judicial waste of time. This prayer is not a
waste of time. This prayer is such that justice would be
gained, as this Instant Action is, “as a matter of
law”. God hears all our prayers without barring how
many times we can pray about the same thing. The Honorable
Justices that preside over this prayer, as the Right Hand of
God, should hear this prayer. I am a layman, not a lawyer.
God says for us to come to Him as we are. I beg for this
Court's mercy and humbly ask that res judicata not be
applied to this prayer.
ECF No. 11.
court's view, Plaintiff's objections are general and
conclusory within the meaning of Orpiano.
Nevertheless, the court has thoroughly reviewed the record
and Report and Recommendation. As the Magistrate Judge
correctly noted, for the doctrine of res judicata to be
applicable, there must be: (1) a final judgment on the merits
in a prior suit; (2) an identity of the cause of action in
both the earlier and later suit; and (3) an identity of
parties or their privies in the two suits. Martin v. Am.
Bancorporation Ret. Plan, 407 F.3d 643, 650 (4th Cir.
2005). Further, res judicata not only “bar[s] claims
that were raised and fully litigated, ” but also
“prevents litigation of all grounds for, or defenses
to, recovery that were previously available to the parties,
regardless of whether they were asserted or determined in the
prior proceeding.” Peugeot Motors of Am., Inc. v.
E. Auto Distrib., Inc., 892 F.2d 355, 359 (4th Cir.
1989). Here, the Magistrate Judge found that res judicata
applies because (1) the court entered a final judgment on the
merits of Plaintiff's prior litigation against the
Richland County Sheriff's Department; (2) the allegations
in the instant complaint are nearly identical to, and stem
from, the same set of facts that gave rise to Plaintiff's
earlier filings; and (3) in South Carolina, a sheriff's
department is considered to be an arm of the state, so that
there is an identity of parties or their privies in both
actions. The court discerns no error in the Magistrate
Judge's analysis. Plaintiff's objections are without
reasons stated, the court adopts the Report and
Recommendation and incorporates it herein by reference.
Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed without prejudice and
without issuance and service of process. ...