United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
BRYAN HARWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Olandio Ray Workman, a pretrial detainee proceeding pro se,
has filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against eighteen defendants. See ECF Nos. 1 &
57. The matter is before the Court for consideration of
Plaintiff's objections to the Report and Recommendation
(“R & R”) of United States Magistrate Judge
Kevin F. McDonald, who recommends summarily dismissing
Defendants Greenville County Council and Greenville County
Food and Mail Services. See ECF Nos. 18 & 22.
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).
is a pretrial detainee housed at the Greenville County
Detention Center. He alleges various claims relating to his
conditions of confinement at that jail. The Magistrate Judge
recommends summarily dismissing Defendants Greenville County
Council and Greenville County Food and Mail Services because
they are not “persons” within the meaning of
§ 1983. R & R at p. 4. Plaintiff objects to
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation. See ECF
Greenville County Council
the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Greenville
County Council is not a proper defendant for purposes of
§ 1983. The Greenville County Council is the governing
body for Greenville County, consisting of individual council
members who comprise the membership of the Council, none of
whom have been individually named as party defendants in this
case. See Crouchman v. Pickens Cty.
Council, No. CV 9:16-0804-CMC-BM, 2017 WL 767185, at *9
(D.S.C. Feb. 3, 2017), adopted by, 2017 WL 749393
(D.S.C. Feb. 27, 2017) (finding the Pickens County Council
was not a proper § 1983 defendant and explaining a
“group of people or use of such collective terms to
name a § 1983 defendant has been found improper and
inadequate” (internal quotation marks omitted));
Hodges v. Mayor & City Council of Annapolis,
2016 WL 4140954, at *3 (D. Md. Aug. 3, 2016) (recognizing
“a county council is not sui juris”).
See also Dunbar v. Metts, No. CA 2:10-1775-HMH-BHH,
2011 WL 1480279, at *5 (D.S.C. Mar. 31, 2011), adopted
by, 2011 WL 1480096 (D.S.C. Apr. 19, 2011)
(“Lexington City Council is not a ‘person'
and is not responsible for the alleged violations of
Plaintiff's rights.”); Smith-Berch, Inc. v.
Baltimore Cty., 68 F.Supp.2d 602, 626-27 & n.1 (D.
Md. 1999) (finding the Baltimore County Council was not a
“person” within the meaning of § 1983).
objections, Plaintiff indicates he is attempting to assert a
municipal liability claim, as he cites Monell v.
Department of Social Services of City of New York, 436
U.S. 658 (1978), and related cases. See ECF No. 22
at pp. 1-2. Under Monell, “municipalities and
other local government units” (such as cities and
counties) can be liable under § 1983 if an official
policy or custom causes a deprivation of constitutional
rights. See 436 U.S. at 690-91. However, to the
extent Plaintiff has attempted to sue Greenville County, such
a claim is foreclosed by the fact “that, under South
Carolina law, it is the Sheriff of the County who is
responsible for the operation of county detention centers,
not the County.” Crouchman, 2017 WL 767185, at
*9 (citing S.C. Code Ann. § 24-5-10). As such, the
sheriff of Greenville County-not Greenville County or its
individual county council members-is responsible for
operating the Greenville County Detention
Center. Plaintiff has made no allegations calling
into question the existence and applicability of this state
law to his claims. See Cobb v. South Carolina, No.
2:13-CV-02370-RMG, 2014 WL 4220423, at *2, 7 (D.S.C. Aug. 25,
2014) (summarizing Fourth Circuit and South Carolina law
holding that because the county has no control over the
operations or policy of the jail, it cannot be held liable
for events that take place there). Accordingly, the Court
will dismiss Greenville County Council.
Greenville County Food and Mail Services
Greenville County Council, Greenville County Food and Mail
Services is not a person within the meaning of § 1983.
See, e.g., Harden v. Green, 27 F. App'x
173, 178 (4th Cir. 2001) (“The medical department of a
prison may not be sued, because it is not a person within the
meaning of § 1983.”); Nelson v. Lexington Cty.
Det. Ctr., No. 8:10-CV-02988-JMC, 2011 WL 2066551, at *1
(D.S.C. May 26, 2011) (“Plaintiff has failed to
establish that Food Service Supervisors, as a group of people
and not individuals, are amenable to suit under §
1983.”). Accordingly, the Court will dismiss Greenville
County Food and Mail Services.
foregoing reasons, the Court overrules Petitioner's
objections, adopts and incorporates by reference the R &
R [ECF No. 18], and DISMISSES Defendants
Greenville County Council and Greenville County Food and Mail