United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Harwell United States District Judge.
Olandio Ray Workman, a state pretrial detainee proceeding pro
se, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Defendant Robert Joseph Perry, who has filed a motion
for summary judgment. See ECF No. 29. The matter is
now 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 granting Defendant's motion for
summary judgment. See ECF Nos. 65 & 67.
Review of the R & R
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. §
636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).
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).
judgment is appropriate when no genuine issue of material
fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Reyazuddin v. Montgomery Cty., Md.,
789 F.3d 407, 413 (4th Cir. 2015); see Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(a) (“The court shall grant summary judgment if
the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.”). “A party asserting that a fact
cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion
by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record
. . .; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The facts and
inferences to be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party,
Reyazuddin, 789 F.3d at 413, but the Court
“cannot weigh the evidence or make credibility
determinations.” Jacobs v. N.C. Admin. Office of
the Courts, 780 F.3d 562, 569 (4th Cir. 2015).
“the mere existence of some alleged factual
dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise
properly supported motion for summary judgment; the
requirement is that there be no genuine issue of
material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). “A dispute of
material fact is ‘genuine' if sufficient evidence
favoring the non-moving party exists for the trier of fact to
return a verdict for that party.” Seastrunk v.
United States, 25 F.Supp.3d 812, 814 (D.S.C. 2014). A
fact is “material” if proof of its existence or
nonexistence would affect disposition of the case under the
applicable law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
summary judgment stage, “the moving party must
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Once the moving party has met his burden, the nonmoving party
must come forward with some evidence beyond the mere
allegations contained in the pleadings to show that there is
a genuine issue for trial.” Baber v. Hosp. Corp. of
Am., 977 F.2d 872, 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992) (internal
citation omitted). Summary judgment is not warranted unless,
“from the totality of the evidence, including
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
affidavits, the [C]ourt believes no genuine issue of material
fact exists for trial and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Whiteman v.
Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., 729 F.3d 381, 385 (4th
Cir. 2013); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).
presently detained at the Greenville County Detention Center
on state charges,  filed a § 1983 complaint alleging
Defendant (who is a deputy employed by the Greenville County
Sheriff's Office) looked inside the mailbox at
Plaintiff's house in Piedmont, South Carolina, without a
search warrant. See ECF No. 1. Defendant filed a
motion for summary judgment with several exhibits, including
an affidavit in which he avers, “I have never opened
Olandio Workman's mailbox . . . .” See ECF
No. 29-1 at p. 3. The Magistrate Judge recommends granting
Defendant's motion for summary judgment because (1)
Plaintiff lacks standing and (2) Defendant is entitled to
qualified immunity and Eleventh Amendment immunity.
See R & R at pp. 3-6. Plaintiff objects to the
Magistrate Judge's recommendations. See ECF
No. 67 [Pl.'s Objs.] at pp. 1-2.
arguendo that Plaintiff has standing (contrary to
the Magistrate Judge's finding),  the Court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge that the Eleventh Amendment bars Plaintiff
from suing Defendant for monetary damages in his official
capacity. See Lawson v. Union Cty. Clerk of Court,
828 F.3d 239, 278 (4th Cir. 2016) (“The Eleventh
Amendment bars suit against state officials in their official
capacity for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”);
Gulledge v. Smart, 691 F.Supp. 947, 955 (D.S.C.
1988) (holding deputy sheriffs are state officials for §
1983 purposes), aff'd, 878 F.2d 379 (4th Cir.
1989); Cone v. Nettles, 417 S.E.2d 523, 524 (S.C.
Plaintiff's individual capacity claims fail because he
has not presented any actual evidence contradicting the sworn
statement in Defendant's affidavit that he never opened
Plaintiff's mailbox.See ECF No. 29-1 at p. 3.
Because it is undisputed that Defendant never opened
Plaintiff's mailbox (the crux of Plaintiff's claim),
Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on this basis.
See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248 (“[A] party
opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may
not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his
pleading, but must set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” (internal
quotation marks and ellipsis omitted) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e)). Similarly, Defendant is entitled to
qualified immunity because if he did not open Plaintiff's
mailbox, he could not have violated Plaintiff's Fourth
Amendment rights. SeeThompson ...