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, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against the above-captioned Defendants. See ECF No.
1. 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 this
action without prejudice and denying Plaintiff's three
pending motions. See ECF Nos. 13 & 15.
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).
Magistrate Judge recommends summarily dismissing this action
because (1) Defendants Greenville County Solicitors Office,
Greenville County Police Department, and Greenville County
SWAT Team are not “persons” as required by §
1983; (2) Defendant Hudson has judicial immunity; (3)
Defendant Pophancila has prosecutorial immunity; and (4) the
Court should abstain from hearing this action (including any
claims against Defendants Perry, Hayes, and Hammett) pursuant
to the Younger abstention doctrine. R & R at pp.
5-8. The Magistrate Judge also recommends that the Court
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's state law claims (if any). Id. at p.
vast majority of Plaintiff's objections consists of a
recitation of case summaries and legal authorities, while
other parts of his objections rehash and supplement the
allegations in his complaint. See Pl.'s Objs.
[ECF Nos. 15 & 17]. The Court reiterates it need only
review those portions of the R & R to which Plaintiff has
made a specific objection. See Orpiano, 687 F.2d at
47; Diamond, 416 F.3d at 315; Camby, 718
F.2d at 199-200. Additionally, Plaintiff does not object to
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that the Court
should dismiss his three pending motions (for discovery, a
change of venue, and an evidentiary hearing). However, the
Court has liberally construed Plaintiff's objections and
identified several specific objections that he makes.
Plaintiff appears to argue that Defendants
Pophancila (a prosecutor) and Hudson (a magistrate
judge) are not entitled to immunity. See ECF No. 15
at pp. 1, 7; ECF No. 17 at p. 2. While Plaintiff provides law
that discusses exceptions to the doctrines of prosecutorial
and judicial immunity, he alleges no facts suggesting these
immunity doctrines do not apply to his claims against
Defendants Pophancila and Hudson. As the Magistrate Judge
explained, Pophancila's alleged misconduct relates to
actions taken during grand jury proceedings while
Hudson's alleged misconduct arose out of his judicial
actions. See R & R at pp. 5-6. See generally
Dababnah v. Keller-Burnside, 208 F.3d 467, 470 (4th Cir.
2000) (“A prosecutor enjoys absolute immunity for
prosecutorial functions ‘intimately associated with the
judicial phase of the criminal process.'” (quoting
Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430 (1976)));
King v. Myers, 973 F.2d 354, 356 (4th Cir. 1992)
(“The Supreme Court has held that judges are absolutely
immune from suit for a deprivation of civil rights brought
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, under certain conditions.”
(citing Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 (1967))).
Plaintiff appears to assert this Court should not abstain
from hearing this action pursuant to the Younger
abstention doctrine. See ECF No. 15 at pp. 2-3, 6,
11; ECF No. 17 at p. 1. The Court agrees with the Magistrate
Judge that Younger abstention is appropriate because
(1) there are ongoing state criminal proceedings (2) that
implicate important state interests, and because (3)
Plaintiff has an adequate opportunity to raise his federal
claims in the state proceedings. See R & R at
pp. 6-7; see generally Robinson v. Thomas, 855 F.3d
278, 285 (4th Cir. 2017) (summarizing the three
Younger criteria). Moreover, Plaintiff has not made
a showing of “extraordinary circumstances”
justifying federal interference with the state proceedings.
See Robinson, 855 F.3d at 286 (“A federal
court may disregard Younger's mandate to abstain
from interfering with ongoing state proceedings only where
‘extraordinary circumstances' exist that present
the possibility of irreparable harm.”).
Plaintiff appears to argue Defendants Greenville County
Solicitors Office, Greenville County Police Department, and
Greenville County SWAT Team could be held liable under §
1983 on a theory of municipal liability. See ECF No.
15 at pp. 4-5. But Plaintiff has not named a municipality as
a defendant. Also, as the Magistrate Judge correctly
explained, these three defendants are not
“persons” within the meaning of § 1983,
see R & R at p. 5, and therefore they cannot be
sued under § 1983 for municipal liability or any other
claim. See generally 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.”); Jones
v. Lexington Cty. Det. Ctr., 586 F.Supp.2d 444, 451
(D.S.C. 2008) (“Inanimate objects-such as buildings,
facilities, and grounds-do not act under color of state
law.”); Shadoan v. Florence Cty. Det. Ctr. Med.
Dep't, 2013 WL 6408347, at *2 (D.S.C. Dec. 6, 2013)
(“[U]se of the term ‘staff, '
‘department, ' or the equivalent as a name for
alleged defendants, is not adequate to state a claim against
a ‘person' as required in § 1983 actions. . .
. [G]roups of people are not amenable to suit under §
foregoing reasons, the Court overrules Plaintiff's
objections, adopts the R & R [ECF No. 13], and
DISMISSES this action without prejudice
and without issuance and service of
process. The Court DENIES AS MOOT
Plaintiff's motion for discovery [ECF No. 3], motion to
change venue [ECF No. 4], and motion for evidentiary hearing
[ECF No. 6].