United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
RICHARD MARK GERGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
the Court is the Report and Recommendation ("R &
R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 21) recommending
the Court dismiss Plaintiffs Complaint. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court adopts the R & R as the order of
the Court and Plaintiffs Complaint is dismissed. Further,
Plaintiffs Motions for Recusal (Dkt. Nos. 13, 14) are denied.
November 26, 2018, Plaintiff Supreme Raheem Ackbar filed a
Bivens complaint claiming that the Defendants
deprived him of certain constitutional rights. (Dkt. No. 1.)
On January 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint
(Dkt. No. 15). Defendants Connor, Ishida, Stump, and Sewell
are allegedly Fourth Circuit court clerk employees, Judge
Gergel is a United States District Court Judge, and Judge
Rogers is a United States Magistrate Judge. Plaintiffs claim
are based on his disagreement regarding the Defendants'
disposition of prior cases. (Id.)
Pro Se Pleadings
Court liberally construes complaints filed by pro se
litigants to allow the development of a potentially
meritorious case. See Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319
(1972); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). The
requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the
Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege
facts which set forth a viable federal claim, nor can the
Court assume the existence of a genuine issue of material
fact where none exists. See Weller v. Dep't of Social
Services, 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).
Report and Recommendation
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court
that has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a
final determination remains with the Court. See Mathews
v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court may
"accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate
judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court must make
a de novo determination of those portions of the R
& R Plaintiff specifically objects. Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2). Where Plaintiff fails to file any specific
objections, "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." Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (internal quotation omitted). "Moreover, in the
absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court
need not give any explanation for adopting the
recommendation." Wilson v. S.C. Dept of Corr.,
No. 9:14-CV-4365-RMG, 2015 WL 1124701, at *1 (D.S.C.
Mar. 12, 2015). See also Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d
198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983). Plaintiff did not file objections
in this case, and the R & R is therefore reviewed for
has long been settled that a judge is absolutely immune from
a claim for damages arising out of his judicial
actions." Chu v. Griffith, 771 F.2d 79, 81 (4th
Cir. 1985). Judicial immunity is a threshold question which
requires dismissal. See Siegert v. Gilley, 500 U.S.
226, 232 (1991); Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511,
526 (1985). Consequently, a claimant cannot maintain a suit
against a judge if the alleged violation involves the
judge's performance of an official task. Plaintiffs
claims against Judge Gergel and Judge Rogers are based on
their official participation and judicial rulings made in
relation to Plaintiffs cases and are therefore barred by the
doctrine of absolute judicial immunity. As a result,
Plaintiff cannot maintain his claims against Judge Gergel and
Judge Rogers. Id. (absolute immunity "is an
immunity from suit rather than a mere defense to
Connor, Ishida, Stump, and Sewell are allegedly Fourth
Circuit court clerk employees, and "a court clerk is
generally entitled to quasi-judicial immunity" for tasks
undertaken as a part of the judicial process. Ross v.
Baron, 493 Fed. App'x. 405, 406 (4th Cir. 2012).
Every violation alleged by Plaintiff involves Defendants'
performance of official tasks. Therefore, because court
clerks are entitled to quasi-judicial immunity for tasks
performed as part of the judicial process, Plaintiff cannot
maintain his claims against Defendants Connor, Ishida, Stump,
Plaintiffs motions for the recusal of Judge Gergel and Judge
Rogers are denied. See Liteky v. United States, 510
U.S. 540, 551 (1994) ("[T]he judge is not...recusable
for bias or prejudice, since his knowledge and the opinion it
produced were properly and necessarily acquired in the course
of the proceedings, and are indeed sometimes... necessary to
completion of the judge's task").
Plaintiffs complaint is dismissed with prejudice. See
McQune v. Hutto, 2017 WL 3868796 at *2 (D.S.C. Sep. 5,
2017) ("[Dismissal on judicial or quasi-judicial