United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY, United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff King Grant-Davis'
objections to United States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon
Baker's report and recommendation (“R &
R”) (ECF Nos. 92 & 89), and Plaintiff's motion
for leave to amend his complaint (ECF No. 93). The Magistrate
Judge recommends granting Defendants' motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons stated herein, the Court overrules
Plaintiff's objections, adopts the R & R, and grants
Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The Court denies
Plaintiff's motion to amend as futile.
Magistrate Judge issued her R & R on January 26, 2018.
Plaintiff filed his objections to the R & R on February
9, and Defendants did not reply. Plaintiff also filed his
motion for leave to amend on February 9. Accordingly, this
matter is now ripe for review.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The R & R has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71
(1976). Parties may make written objections to the Magistrate
Judge's recommendations and proposed findings within
fourteen days after being served with a copy of the R &
R. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court must conduct a de
novo review of any portion of the R & R to which a
specific objection is made, and the Court may accept, reject,
or modify the Magistrate Judge's findings and
recommendations in whole or in part. Id.
Additionally, the Court may recommit the matter to the
Magistrate Judge with instructions. Id. A
party's failure to object is taken as the party's
agreement with the Magistrate Judge's conclusions.
See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 151-52 (1985).
Absent a timely, specific objection-or as to those portions
of the R & R to which no specific objection is made-this
Court “must ‘only satisfy itself that there is no
clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation.'” Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's
claims arise out of Title II of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He makes a number of
objections that are irrelevant as they fail to address the
critical points of the Magistrate Judge's analysis. As a
result, the Court need not discuss them. The Magistrate Judge
analyzed Plaintiff's claims in the order set forth above,
so the Court organizes its opinion the same way.
stated by the Magistrate Judge, claims under Title II and
Section 504 are analyzed together because they are
substantially similar. See Baird ex rel. Baird v.
Rose, 192 F.3d 462, 468 (4th Cir. 1999). The Magistrate
Judge recommends granting Defendants' motion for summary
judgment as to these claims because a one-year statute of
limitations applies, and Plaintiff failed to file this action
within a year of the actions in question. Plaintiff objects,
arguing that his individualized plan for employment under the
Rehabilitation Act is in the nature of a contract and
therefore South Carolina's three-year breach of contract
statute of limitations applies. However, Plaintiff does not
point to any law that contradicts this Court's
well-settled jurisprudence that a one-year statute of
limitations applies to Title II and Section 504 causes of
action. See, e.g., Cockrell v. Lexington Cty.
Sch. Dist. One, No. 3:11-cv-2042-CMC, 2011 WL 5554811
(D.S.C. Nov. 15, 2011). Plaintiff misapprehends the
application of the statute of limitations, as the breach of
contract statute of limitations only applies when a plaintiff
brings a breach of contract cause of action. Here, the Title
II and Section 504 statute of limitations applies because
Plaintiff has brought those causes of action. Accordingly,
the Court overrules that objection. Plaintiff also
generically argues that equitable tolling should apply
because Defendants never made him aware of his rights and
privileges. However, Plaintiff does not point to any specific
error in the Magistrate Judge's thorough analysis of the
circumstances under which South Carolina law permits
equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. Having
independently reviewed that analysis, the Court agrees with
the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff is not entitled to
equitable tolling of the statute of limitations under these
Court now turns to Plaintiff's claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The Magistrate Judge recommends granting
Defendants' motion for summary judgment as to this claim
as well. Specifically, she concluded that there was
“[n]o genuine issue of material fact that
Plaintiff's completion of driver's education classes
was not a government entitlement protected by the due process
clause.” (R & R, ECF No. 89, at 10.) The Magistrate
Judge based her conclusion on the fact that the driving
lessons were subject to the discretion of vocational
rehabilitation officials, and were “therefore not
‘a protected entitlement.'” (Id. at
12 (quoting Town of Castle Rock, Colo. v. Gonzales,
545 U.S. 748, 756 (2005) (“Our cases recognize that a
benefit is not a protected entitlement if government
officials may grant or deny it in their
discretion.”)).) She further concluded that even if the
lessons were a protected entitlement, Defendants provided
Plaintiff with “a full hearing before a disinterested
party.” (Id.) Here, Plaintiff argues that he
has a protected interest in his driving lessons, but he has
failed to show that the vocational rehabilitation officials
lack discretion as to whether Plaintiff can continue those
lessons. Because the Supreme Court has clearly determined
that a discretionary benefit is not a protected entitlement,
the Court concludes that the Magistrate Judge correctly
analyzed Plaintiff's § 1983 claim. Accordingly, the
Court overrules his objection to her analysis.
the Court turns to Plaintiffs motion to amend his complaint.
Plaintiffs motion is intended to address Defendants'
argument that he named the improper parties for purposes of
§ 1983 when he named the Office of the Governor and the
Vocational Rehabilitation Department as defendants. Because
Plaintiff's proposed change of parties would not impact
the disposition of his claims as set forth above, the Court
concludes that his proposed amendments would be futile.
Consequently, the Court denies his motion.
reasons stated herein, it is ORDERED that
Plaintiffs objections are OVERRULED, that
the R & R is ADOPTED, and that
Defendants' motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED. It is further
ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion to amend his
complaint is DENIED