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. See ECF Nos. 8 & 10.
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 specific 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).
Plaintiff, a state pretrial detainee being held at the
Greenville County Detention Center, has filed this §
1983 action against the sheriff of Greenville County
(defendant Lewis), the mayor of Greenville (defendant Knox
White), and two Greenville County investigators (defendants
Robert Joseph Perry and J U Kalu). See ECF No. 1.
The Magistrate Judge has reviewed Plaintiff's complaint,
as well as public records,  and determined that Plaintiff
seems to allege he was charged with threatening the life of a
public official in retaliation for the lawsuits he has
filed. See R & R at pp. 1-2 (citing
ECF No. 1 at pp. 5-6, 9). That criminal charge is pending in
state court. See Footnote 3, supra. The
Magistrate Judge recommends summarily dismissing this action
because (1) Plaintiff fails to allege the second element of a
First Amendment retaliation claim; (2) regarding any claim for
false arrest, public records indicate there exists a valid
indictment for the charge of threatening the life of a public
official; and (3) Plaintiff fails to provide any specific
factual allegations against Defendants White and Lewis to
establish personal or supervisory liability against them. R
& R at pp. 3-5.
Plaintiff lodges several objections to the R & R,
see ECF No. 10, the Court finds Plaintiff's
claims fail not only for the reasons set forth in the R &
R but also for an additional reason not discussed in the R
& R-namely, that this Court should abstain from hearing
this action pursuant to the Younger abstention
doctrine. The Court finds Younger abstention is
appropriate because (1) Plaintiff is involved in 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 Sprint Commc'ns, Inc. v.
Jacobs, 134 S.Ct. 584 (2013) (addressing the appropriate
grounds for Younger abstention); Robinson v.
Thomas, 855 F.3d 278, 285 (4th Cir. 2017) (summarizing
the three Younger criteria). By alleging (in his
complaint and objections) that Defendants Perry and Kalu
violated his First Amendment rights by criminally charging
him (with threatening the life of a public official) in
retaliation for his lawsuits, and that Defendants Lewis and
White condoned this activity, Plaintiff is effectively asking
this Court to intervene in a pending state criminal matter.
He is also seeking such intervention by asking the Court to
“dismiss all charges” and to “clean [his]
arrest record.” ECF No. 10 at p. 3. See, e.g.,
Bradley v. Salisbury Police Dep't, 2013 WL
6592489 (D. Md. Dec. 13, 2013) (summarily dismissing a
complaint “requesting punitive, monetary, and
injunctive, declaratory relief” based on
Younger abstention where the plaintiff was involved
in ongoing state criminal proceedings), aff'd,
562 F. App'x 166 (4th Cir. 2014) (“[W]e affirm for
the reasons stated by the district court.”).
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.”). Accordingly, the Court modifies
the R & R to reflect this additional reason for
dismissal, and overrules Plaintiff's objections.
the foregoing reasons, the Court overrules Plaintiff's
objections, adopts the R & R [ECF No. 8] as modified
herein, and DISMISSES this action
without prejudice and without issuance and service
IS SO ORDERED.