United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division
DEAN A. HOLCOMB, Plaintiff,
LIEUTENANT JEFF KINDLEY; ASSISTANT SOLICITOR RUSSELL D. GHENT; LT. PENDERGRASS, also known as Pendergrass; and MAJOR STOWERS, also known as Marshall Stowers, all in their individual and official capacities, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR COPIES,
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ACCESS TO A LAW LIBRARY,
ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, AND DISMISSING
PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND WITHOUT
ISSUANCE AND SERVICE OF PROCESS
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case was filed as an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se. The matter is before the
Court for review of the Report and Recommendation (Report) of
the United States Magistrate Judge suggesting the Court
dismiss the complaint without prejudice and without issuance
and service of process. The Report was made in accordance
with 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the
District of South Carolina. Also pending before the Court are
Plaintiff's motion for copies and Plaintiff's motion
for access to a law library.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
those portions of the Report to which specific objection is
made, and the Court 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. §
document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally
construed.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976)). Courts are not, however, required to
“conjure up questions never squarely presented to
them” or seek out arguments for a party. Beaudett
v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
Magistrate Judge filed the Report on November 29, 2018, ECF
No. 8, and the Clerk of Court entered Plaintiff's
objections to the Report on December 10, 2018, ECF No. 10.
The Court has reviewed the objections, but holds them to be
without merit. Therefore, it will enter judgment accordingly.
first objects the Magistrate Judge “has her facts
wrong, ” and Plaintiff alleged Defendants Kindley and
Ghent made false statements in an earlier case before this
Court. ECF No. 10 at 1-2. The Court, however, disagrees. The
Magistrate Judge noted Plaintiff made allegations regarding
Defendants Ghent and Kindley's purported false statements
in court. ECF No. 8 at 2 (citing ECF No. 1 at 11-12). Those
allegations included allegedly false statements made before
this Court. ECF No. 1 at 11-12.
to the extent Plaintiff seeks to relitigate claims raised in
his earlier case before this Court, such claims would be
barred by res judicata. The doctrine of res
judicata bars the relitigation of a claim brought by the
same parties or their privies in a prior lawsuit, and finally
decided on the merits in the prior lawsuit. Martin v. Am.
Bancorp. Retirement Plan, 407 F.3d 643, 650 (4th Cir.
2005). Here, Plaintiff previously brought a lawsuit in this
Court, which was finally decided on the merits. Holcomb
v. Kindley, C/A No.: 1:16-cv-00672-MGL, ECF Nos. 39, 40
(D.S.C. Jan 10, 2017, Jan. 11, 2017). Thus, to the extent
Plaintiff is attempting to relitigate the claims finally
decided on the merits in the prior lawsuit, such claims would
be barred by res judicata. Accordingly, the Court
will overrule Plaintiff's objection regarding his
allegations of purported false statements by Defendants
Kindley and Ghent.
Magistrate Judge recommended Plaintiff's claims are
barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
Plaintiff argues Defendants Pendergrass and Stowers allegedly
hindering Plaintiff's access to his legal and other
documents is a constitutional violation. The Court agrees
with the Magistrate Judge.
Heck, the United States Supreme Court held:
in order to recover damages for an allegedly unconstitutional
conviction or imprisonment [as Plaintiff seeks in the instant
case] . . . a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the
conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal,
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called
into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus . . . .
Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87. Absent such invalidation
of the sentence or conviction, the § 1983 claim will not
lie. Id. at 487. Here, Plaintiff has made no showing
his sentence or conviction has been invalidated. Further,
Plaintiff notes he “can not comment on Heck v.
Humphrey at this time . . . .” ECF No. 10 at 2.
For those reasons, the Court will overrule Plaintiff's
objection regarding the application of Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
remaining objections parallel his motion for copies and his
motion for access to a law library. Those objections fail for
the same reasons Plaintiff's motions fail, as analyzed
below. Accordingly, the Court will overrule Plaintiff's
motion for copies, Plaintiff seeks complete free copies of
the case file in both the instant case, and his previous case
before this Court. ECF No. 11. Plaintiff's earlier case
is closed. Holcomb, C/A No.: 1:16-cv-00672-MGL. In
the instant case, the Court will overrule Plaintiff's
objections, adopt the Report, and dismiss Plaintiff's
complaint without prejudice. Thus, the Court holds Plaintiff
has failed to show the need for the free copies he requests.
See United States v. Glass, 317 F.3d 200, 202 (4th
Cir. 1963) (holding an indigent litigant is not entitled to a
free transcript absent a showing of need). Accordingly, the
Court will deny Plaintiff's motion for copies.
motion for access to a law library, Plaintiff asks the Court
to order the South Carolina Department of Correction to grant
him no less than 10 hours per week of access to the law
library computers, so he can litigate this and other cases.
ECF No. 12. “It is well established that absent the
most extraordinary circumstances, federal courts are not to
immerse themselves in the management of state prisons or
substitute their judgment for that of the trained penological
authorities charged with the administration of such
facilities.” Taylor v. Freeman, 34 F.3d 266,
268 (4th Cir. 1994). ...