United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
Donald E. Griffin, Jr., Plaintiff,
Alice Masico and Aaron Joyner, Defendants.
C. Coggins, Jr., United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Complaint and
Supplement alleging violations of his civil rights pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF Nos. 1, 62. In accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2),
(D.S.C.), this matter was referred to United States
Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett for pre-trial proceedings
and a Report and Recommendation (“Report”).
20, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF
No. 57. Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition. ECF No. 60.
On October 29, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report
recommending that the motion for summary judgment be granted.
ECF No. 82. Plaintiff filed objections to the Report, and
Defendants filed a Reply. ECF Nos. 84, 86.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a
specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the
Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate
Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. §
636(b). The Court will review the Report only for clear error
in the absence of an objection. See Diamond v. Colonial
Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th
Cir. 2005) (stating that “in the absence of timely
filed objection, a district court need not conduct a de
novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to
accept the recommendation.” (citation omitted)).
claims that Defendants violated his right to free association
and his right to marry. The Magistrate Judge recommends
granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge's Report.
objects to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation as to
his claim that Defendants violated his right to free
association. He contends that by denying his
fiancée's request for visiting privileges, they
have violated his constitutional rights. Briefly summarized,
he asserts that the denial was arbitrary and capricious, that
Defendants did not investigate whether his fiancée was
a security threat, and that the denial did not comport with
agency policy. The Court disagrees.
well established that an inmate has no absolute right to
prison visitation privileges. See Kentucky Dep't of
Corrs. v. Thompson, 490 U.S. 454 (1989) (“The
denial of prison access to a particular visitor is well
within the terms of confinement ordinarily contemplated by a
prison sentence and therefore is not independently protected
by the Due Process Clause.”); see also Overton v.
Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 131 (2003) (stating
“freedom of association is among the rights least
compatible with incarceration” and “some
curtailment of that freedom must be expected in the prison
context, ” and stating further that regulations
promoting internal security are among the “most
legitimate penological goals” under Turner);
Williams v. Ozmint, 716 F.3d 801, 805-07 (4th Cir.
2013) (emphasizing security concerns as a legitimate reason
to curtail visitation privileges in prisons). Accordingly,
Plaintiff's objections with respect to this claim are
next argues that Defendants violated his right to marry. The
Magistrate Judge determined that he lacked standing to pursue
this claim. In response, Plaintiff seems to contend that
because they denied his fiancée's visitation
request, it severely curtails their ability to either obtain
a marriage license or to marry. He contends that in Richland
County, South Carolina both parties must “personally
appear before the County Clerk for interview and signature to
obtain a marriage license.” He asserts that he
requested Defendants' help in getting married, and
Defendants failed to respond to his request.
discussed by the Magistrate Judge, inmates retain a
constitutional right to marry. However, the Court agrees with
the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate
that he has been injured or that Defendants caused the
injury. It does not appear that either Plaintiff or his
fiancée informed Defendants that their denial of her
visitation request would prevent their marriage. Plaintiff
also fails to identify what action should have been taken to
allow him to marry his fiancée or how approval of her
request for visitation would allow them to marry.
Accordingly, Plaintiff lacks standing to bring this claim.
based upon the foregoing, the Court adopts the Report of the
Magistrate Judge. Defendants' Motion for ...