United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Supreme Raheem Ackbar, #182864, a/k/a Ronald Gary, #257886, Plaintiff,
William R. Byers, Jr., et al, Defendants.
ORDER AND OPINION
Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of the Magistrate Judge, recommending that Defendants'
motion to dismiss be granted. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation.
is serving a life sentence for murder in the custody of the
South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDC").
Plaintiff alleges that on February 17, 2015, Defendants
Skipper, Cooper, and Wilson searched his cell for contraband
and confiscated Plaintiffs "God Center Culture
Islam" materials. Those materials appear to relate to
the Nation of Gods and Earths, also known as "five
percenters, " an offshoot of the Nation of Islam. It
also appears that the materials have been lost; prison
officials have offered to replace them if Plaintiff would
provide a list itemizing the materials. (See Dkt.
No. 1-1 at 3-4.)
filed the present action on April 19, 2017, seeking immediate
return of the materials and $500, 000 in damages for
violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Defendants have moved to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On January
22, 2018, the Magistrate Judge recommended dismissal.
Plaintiff filed timely objections, but his objections are
merely non-specific boilerplate that raises no substantive
Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71
(1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo
determination of those portions of the Report and
Recommendation to which specific objection is made.
Additionally, the 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. Where the plaintiff fails to file any specific
objections, "a district court need not conduct a de novo
review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there is no
clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation, " see Diamond v. Colonial Life &
Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005)
(internal quotation omitted), and this Court is not required
to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation of
the Magistrate Judge, Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198
(4th Cir. 1983).
Motion to Dismiss
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits the
dismissal of an action if the complaint fails "to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted." Such a motion
tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint and "does
not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of the
claim, or the applicability of defenses. . . . Our inquiry
then is limited to whether the allegations constitute 'a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief" Republican Party of
N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992)
(quotation marks and citation omitted). In a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion, the Court is obligated to "assume the truth of
all facts alleged in the complaint and the existence of any
fact that can be proved, consistent with the complaint's
allegations." E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs.
Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000).
However, while the Court must accept the facts in a light
most favorable to the non-moving party, it "need not
accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable
conclusions, or arguments." Id.
survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570(2007). Although the
requirement of plausibility does not impose a probability
requirement at this stage, the complaint must show more than
a "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). A complaint has "facial plausibility"
where the pleading "allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Id.
incarcerated prisoner "retains those First Amendment
rights that are not inconsistent with his status as a
prisoner or with the legitimate penological objectives of the
corrections system." Pell v. Procunier, 417
U.S. 817, 822 (1974). To state a claim under the Free
Exercise clause of the First Amendment, a plaintiff must
allege facts sufficient to show that he holds a sincere
belief that is religious in nature and that prison
regulations impose a substantial burden on his right to free
exercise of that religious belief. O'Lone v. Estate
of Shabazz,482 U.S. 342, 349 (1987). A regulation
imposes a "substantial burden" if it "puts
substantial pressure on an adherent to modify his behavior
and to violate his beliefs." Lovelace v. Lee,472 F.3d 174, 187 (4th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks
omitted). No. substantial burden occurs if the government
action merely makes the "religious exercise more
expensive or difficult" or inconvenient, but does not