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Crockett v. Alsirt

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Spartanburg Division

October 24, 2018

Timothy Dale Crockett, formerly 200598, Plaintiff,
v.
Julia Alsirt; Charlen Alexander; and the Estate of Jane Evelyn Penor-Copeland, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Timothy Dale Crockett (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this civil action seeking monetary damages and injunctive and declaratory relief. Plaintiff states that he is a federal detainee currently housed at the Spartanburg County Jail but will soon be moved to federal prison to serve a sentence issued on September 5, 2018. (ECF No. 22); (ECF No. 27 at 4). Pretrial proceedings in this action were referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge under Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(D.S.C.)

         On May 10, 2018, this Court issued an order advising Plaintiff that his case was not in proper form and directing him to bring the case into proper from by May 31, 2018. (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff brought his case into proper form on May 21, 2018. (ECF No. 13).

         After reviewing the pleadings, the Magistrate Judge assigned to this action[1] prepared a thorough Report and Recommendation (“Report”) and recommended that the district court decline to automatically give the plaintiff leave to amend his Complaint for the purpose of curing procedural defects and dismiss the action without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. (ECF No. 14). The Report sets forth, in detail, the relevant facts and standards of law on this matter, and this Court incorporates those facts and standards without a recitation.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A district court is required to conduct a de novo review only of the specific portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report to which objections are made. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); Carniewski v. W.Va. Bd. of Prob. & Parole, 974 F.2d 1330 (4th Cir. 1992). In the absence of specific objections to portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report, this Court is not required to give an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Thus, the Court must only review those portions of the Report to which Plaintiff has made a specific written objection. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 316 (4th Cir. 2005).

         “An objection is specific if it ‘enables the district judge to focus attention on those issues-factual and legal-that are at the heart of the parties' dispute.'” Dunlap v. TM Trucking of the Carolinas, LLC, No. 0:15-cv-04009-JMC, 2017 WL 6345402, at *5 n.6 (D.S.C. Dec. 12, 2017) (citing One Parcel of Real Prop. Known as 2121 E. 30th St., 73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996)). A specific objection to the Magistrate Judge's Report thus requires more than a reassertion of arguments from the Complaint or a mere citation to legal authorities. See Workman v. Perry, No. 6:17-cv-00765-RBH, 2017 WL 4791150, at *1 (D.S.C. Oct. 23, 2017). A specific objection must “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).

         “Generally stated, nonspecific objections have the same effect as would a failure to object.” Staley v. Norton, No. 9:07-0288-PMD, 2007 WL 821181, at *1 (D.S.C. Mar. 2, 2007) (citing Howard v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991)). The Court reviews portions “not objected to-including those portions to which only ‘general and conclusory' objections have been made-for clear error.” Id. (emphasis added) (citing Diamond, 416 F.3d at 315; Camby, 718 F.2d at 200; Orpiano, 687 F.2d at 47).

         Where an objection is “nonspecific, unrelated to the dispositive portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, or merely restate[s] . . . claims, ” the Court need not conduct any further review of that objection. Field v. McMaster, 663 F.Supp.2d 449, 452 (D.S.C. 2009); see McNeil v. S.C. Dept. of Corrections, No. 5:12-2880-MGL, 2013 WL 1102881, at *1 (D.S.C. Mar. 15, 2013) (finding petitioner's objections to be without merit where the objections were “non-specific, unrelated to the dispositive portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report, and consist[ed] of a reassertion of the arguments” made in the petition); Arbogast v. Spartanburg Cty., No. 07:11-cv-00198-GRA, 2011 WL 5827635, at *2 (D.S.C. Nov. 17, 2011) (finding that plaintiff's objections were not specific where the objections were “general and conclusory in that they merely reassert[ed] that his conviction was wrongful”).

         Plaintiff filed his Objections to the Report on June 6, 2018, in which he raised four objections. (ECF No. 20). While it is questionable whether several of the objections are related to the dispositive portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report, this Court reviews them all below out of an abundance of caution.

         A. Objection I: Nature of the Case as Involving the Handling and Disposition of the Assets and Estate of Jane Evelyn Penor-Copeland.

         Plaintiff first objects that the Report erroneously insinuates his Complaint “involves multiple issues surrounding the handling and disposition of assets and the estate of [Jane Evelyn Penor-]Copeland.” (ECF No. 14 at 2); (ECF No. 20 at 2). However, this objection does not appear to focus the Court's attention on an issue related to the dispositive portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report. Indeed, whether the case may involve adjudication of an estate rather than the causes of action articulated by the Plaintiff was not analyzed in the Report.

         One possibility is that Plaintiff is objecting to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that the Complaint be dismissed because of the absence of a federal question to give the Court subject matter jurisdiction over the present case. To the extent Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge's rationale, this Court agrees with the Report that Plaintiff has failed to allege a federal question and ...


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