United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge.
D'Angelo Montez Nelson, a state prisoner proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis, filed a complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the two above-captioned
Defendants, who have filed a motion for summary judgment.
See ECF Nos. 1 & 31. The matter is now before
the Court for consideration of the parties' objections to
the Report and Recommendation (“R & R”) of
United States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker, who
recommends denying Defendants' motion for summary
judgment. See ECF Nos. 45, 47, 48, &
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).
has filed a § 1983 complaint seeking injunctive and
monetary relief, alleging he was deprived of out-of-cell
exercise and recreation “while housed in the segregated
unit known as [the] Restricted Housing Unit (R.H.U.)”
at the South Carolina Department of Corrections
(“SCDC”). See Complaint [ECF No. 1].
Liberally construing Plaintiff's complaint and
attachments, the alleged events involve two different
prisons: Perry Correctional Insitution and Kershaw
Correctional Institution. Plaintiff names two defendants:
“Ms. Jones, RHU Unit Manager” and “Warden
Dunlap, Kershaw Correctional Institution”
(collectively, “Defendants”). Compl. at p. 1.
Defendants have answered and moved for summary judgment.
See ECF Nos. 19 & 31. The Magistrate Judge
recommends denying Defendants' motion for summary
judgment and dismissing as moot Plaintiff's claim for
injunctive relief. See R & R at pp. 1, 9.
Defendants have filed objections to the R & R, and
Plaintiff has filed two responses to the R &
See ECF Nos. 47, 48, & 51.
Plaintiff's Official Capacity Claims
the Court notes Plaintiff sues Defendants-who are SCDC
employees-for monetary damages in both their individual
and official capacities. See Compl. at pp.
2-3. Although neither the Magistrate Judge nor Defendants
address the official capacity claims, the Court notes these
claims are subject to summary dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e)(2)(B)(iii) because “[t]he Eleventh
Amendment bars suit against state officials in their official
capacity for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”
Lawson v. Union Cty. Clerk of Court, 828 F.3d 239,
278 (4th Cir. 2016); see 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e)(2)(B)(iii) (providing that in a proceeding in
forma pauperis, “the court shall dismiss the case
at any time if the court determines that . . . the
action . . . seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief” (emphasis added)); see,
e.g., Major v. Ruth, 5:16-cv-03605-MGL-KDW,
2016 WL 7974110, at *3 (D.S.C. Dec. 28, 2016), adopted
by, 2017 WL 345155 (D.S.C. Jan. 24, 2017)