United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Spartanburg Division
Timothy M. Cain United States District Judge
a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed
this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil
Rule 73.02, D.S.C., this matter was referred to a magistrate
judge for pretrial handling. On October 20, 2017, and October
26, 2017, Plaintiff filed two Motions to Amend his Complaint.
(ECF Nos. 14, 15). The magistrate judge granted
Plaintiff's Motions to Amend. (ECF No. 16). On November
13, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
Complaint. (ECF No. 21). The court issued an Order pursuant
to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir.
1975), advising Plaintiff of the potential consequences if he
did not respond adequately to Defendant's motion. (ECF
No. 22). Plaintiff subsequently filed a third Motion to Amend
his Complaint (ECF No. 25) and filed a Response in Opposition
to the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 20).
Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment.
(ECF No. 34). The magistrate judge granted Plaintiff's
third Motion to Amend, noting that based on Plaintiff's
amendments, the court would “treat the Complaint as
filed against Defendant only in his individual
capacity.” (ECF No. 36). Defendant then filed a
Response in Opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 38) and a Reply to Plaintiff's Response in
Opposition of the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 40).
the court is the magistrate judge's Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) (ECF No. 42),
recommending that the court grant Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss (ECF No. 21). Plaintiff was advised of his right to
file objections to the Report. (ECF No. 42-1). After the
Report had been mailed to Plaintiff, Plaintiff filed a fourth
Motion to Amend his Complaint.(ECF No. 44). Plaintiff
subsequently filed objections to the Report (ECF No. 45) and
later supplemented those objections (ECF No. 47). Defendant
filed a Response in Opposition to the Motion to Amend. (ECF
No. 48). On May 7, 2018, Plaintiff filed a fifth Motion to
Amend his Complaint. (ECF No. 51). Defendant responded,
opposing the amendments (ECF No. 56), and Plaintiff replied
to Defendant's response. (ECF No. 58). Finally, on May
10, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Copies stating that he
has lost his copy of the Complaint due to a
“shakedown” of the prison and needs another copy.
(ECF No. 54).
recommendations set forth in the Report have no presumptive
weight, and this court remains responsible for making a final
determination in this matter. See Mathews v. Weber,
423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court is charged with making
a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to
which a specific objection is made, and the court may accept,
reject, modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of
the magistrate judge or recommit the matter with
instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). However, the court
need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only
“general and conclusory objections that do not direct
the court to a specific error in the magistrate's
proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence
of a timely filed, specific objection, the magistrate
judge's conclusions are reviewed only for clear error.
See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins.
Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on April 11, 2016,
Defendant, a narcotics investigator, along with an informant,
contacted Plaintiff and asked him to get drugs for Defendant
and the informant. (ECF No. 1 at 4). Plaintiff asserts that
Defendant and the informant told Plaintiff that if he got
them the drugs, they could get Plaintiff a job with their
construction business. Id. Plaintiff claims that
Defendant then met with Plaintiff and conducted a controlled
buy “without using the informant at the scene, ”
by personally giving Plaintiff $650 in exchange for
drugs.” Id. Plaintiff states that
Defendant's actions were wrongful because “no one
authorized” Defendant to make the controlled buy.
Id. at 5.
further asserted that Defendant's actions amounted to a
“4th Amendment Violation by virtue of 14th
Amendment.” Id. Plaintiff later clarified
this, stating that Defendant caused “a deprivation of
the Plaintiff's 14th Amendment right of due process of
law from which flowed an illegal invasion of a
constitutionally protected 4th Amendment right to
privacy.” (ECF No. 28-1 at 3). In relation to the
violation of due process, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
violated South Carolina law, specifically South Carolina Code
Sections 17-30-20 through 17-30-145, in not obtaining
authorization from the South Carolina Law Enforcement
Division (“SLED”), the Attorney General, or a
judge before conducting a controlled buy. (ECF No. 1 at 5).
Plaintiff, therefore, asserts that he was “illegally
arrested” on April 20, 2016.” Id. at 8.
Plaintiff notes that all charges based on the controlled buy
were nolle prossed on March 14, 2017. Id. at 12.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim should not be granted unless it
appears certain that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts
which would support his claim and entitle him to relief. Fed.
R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When considering a motion to dismiss, the
court should “accept as true all well-pleaded
allegations and should view the complaint in a light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Mylan Labs., Inc. v.
Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). However, the
court “need not accept the legal conclusions drawn from
the facts” nor “accept as true unwarranted
inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.”
E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd.
P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). While
“a plaintiff is not required to plead facts that
constitute a prima facie case in order to survive a motion to
dismiss . . ., factual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.”
Coleman v. Md. Court of Appeals, 626 F.3d 187, 190
(4th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted).
a plaintiff's complaint only needs to include “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
Additionally, when “evaluating a civil rights complaint
for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
” the court must be “especially solicitous of the
wrongs alleged.” Harrison v. U.S. Postal
Serv., 840 F.2d 1149, 1152 (4th Cir. 1988) (internal
citations omitted). Furthermore, when the plaintiff proceeds
pro se, the court is charged with liberally construing the
factual allegations of the complaint in order to allow
potentially meritorious claims to go forward. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Still, this
requirement of liberal construction does not mean that this
court may ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege
facts that set forth a cognizable claim for relief.
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387,
391 (4th Cir. 1990).
magistrate judge provided a thorough report that addressed
the sufficiency of Plaintiff's claims and recommended
that this court grant the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
(ECF No. 42). Plaintiff filed timely objections to this
Report, (ECF No. 45), and later supplemented those
objections, (ECF No. 47). The vast majority of
Plaintiff's objections simply restate his claims or
object generally to the magistrate judge's determinations
on issues of law without providing a specific basis for why
Plaintiff objects. However, the court does find that
Plaintiff has made the following specific objections to the
Report: (1) that the magistrate judge failed to address
Plaintiff's claims for invasion of privacy and
unreasonable search; (2) that the magistrate judge erred in
not ruling on Defendant's alleged violation of various
policies when determining whether or not Plaintiff alleged a
sufficient claim for violation of due process under the
Fourteenth Amendment; (3) that the magistrate judge erred in
ruling that Plaintiff's claims were frivolous due to the
claims hinging on a meritless false arrest
claim; and (4) that the magistrate judge erred in
not addressing Plaintiff's request for production. These
specific objections are discussed below.
Invasion of Right of Privacy and Unreasonable Search
states that the magistrate judge did not rule on his Fourth
Amendment claims for an unreasonable search that invaded his
right of privacy. (ECF No. 47 at 3). The magistrate judge did
discuss the Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claims within
the context of his claim for false arrest. (ECF No. 42 at 9 -
11). However, to the extent that Plaintiff's Complaint
and objections can also be liberally construed as asserting a
claim for unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment
regarding the ...