United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
F. ANDERSON, JR.UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Respondent Warden S.
Lewis's (“Respondent”) Motion for Summary
Judgment (“Motion”) (ECF No. 25) as to Petitioner
Howard Lee Sims' (“Petitioner”) Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
(“Petition”) (ECF No. 1). Petitioner is a state
prisoner proceeding pro se. (ECF No. 1). Petitioner
exhausted his state court remedies through a direct appeal
and PCR appeal before filing his § 2254 Petition with
this court. (ECF No. 33 at 3-6, 14). The Petition alleges ten
grounds of ineffective assistance of trial counsel and one
ground of lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1 at
reviewing the pleadings, the Magistrate Judge assigned to
this action prepared a thorough Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) and recommends that
Respondent's Motion be granted and that the
Petitioner's Petition be denied. (ECF No. 33 at 20). 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. (ECF No. 33).
was advised of his right to file objections to the Report,
which was filed by the Magistrate Judge on September 17,
2018. (ECF No. 33 at 21). The Magistrate Judge required
Petitioner to file objections to the Report by October 1,
2018. (ECF No. 33 at 21). Petitioner filed his objections on
October 4, 2018 and the Court accepted his late filing
pursuant to the prisoner mailbox rule.
Review of Magistrate Judge's Report.
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); see also
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 Report, the Court is not required to give
an explanation for adopting the Report. 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 specific written objections. Diamond
v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 316
(4th Cir. 2005).
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).
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).
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 also 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.”).
judgment is appropriate “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.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “Only disputes over facts that
might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law
will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). “[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the dispute
about a material fact is ‘genuine,' that is, if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
summary judgment stage, the Court must view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all
justifiable inferences in its favor. Id. at 255.
However, “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly
preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that
are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.”
Id. at 248. The moving party has the burden of
proving that summary judgment is appropriate. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the
moving party makes this showing, however, the opposing party
may not rest upon mere allegations or denials, but rather
must, by affidavits or other means permitted by the Rule, set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.