United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND, GRANTING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME, ADOPTING THE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, AND DISMISSING THIS ACTION WITH
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
closed case was filed as an action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 (section 1983). Plaintiff Michael Alexander Collins
(Collins) is proceeding pro se. Pending before the Court are
Collins's motion to amend and motion for extension of
time. The matter is also before the Court for review of the
third Report and Recommendation (third Report or Report) of
the United States Magistrate Judge suggesting Defendants
Southern Health Partners, Dr. Garnett, Brandy Galloway, Nurse
Angel, S. Donaldson, B. Dehayes, Nurse Cindy, and Doctor
Williams's (collectively Defendants) motion for summary
judgment be granted. The Report was made in accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the
District of South Carolina. For the reasons that follow, the
Court will deny Collins's motion to amend, grant
Collins's motion for extension of time, adopt the Report,
grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and
dismiss this action with prejudice.
August 15, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued the first Report
suggesting then-Defendant Aiken County Detention Center
(ACDC) should be dismissed from the action without prejudice
and without issuance and service of process. ECF No. 25. On
August 30, 2018, this Court issued an Order overruling
Collins's objections to the first Report, adopting the
Report, and dismissing ACDC from the action without prejudice
and without issuance and service of process. ECF No. 33.
Magistrate Judge subsequently issued a second Report, which
was adopted by the Court. ECF Nos. 77, 94. The second Report
is not at issue in the current motions.
February 26, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued a third
Report, which recommended the Court grant Defendants'
motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 100. Collins failed to
timely file objections to the third Report. On April 2, 2019,
this Court issued an Order adopting the third Report,
granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and
dismissing this action without prejudice. ECF No. 104.
April 8, 2019, Collins filed a motion to amend, ECF No. 109,
and a motion for extension of time seeking to extend the time
to file objections to the third Report, ECF No.107. Collins
also filed his objections to the third Report. ECF No. 108.
The same day, Collins filed notice he was appealing the
Court's April 2, 2019 Order adopting the third Report to
the Fourth Circuit. ECF No. 111. On April 23, 2019,
Defendants filed a response to Collins's motion to amend,
ECF No. 117, a response to Collins's motion for extension
of time, ECF No. 119, and a reply to Collins's objections
to the third Report, ECF No. 118.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
preliminary matter, the Court notes as a general rule, it
loses jurisdiction over an action once said matter is
appealed to the Fourth Circuit. In re. Grand Jury
Proceedings Under Seal, 947 F.2d 1188, 1190 (4th Cir.
1991). “The rule is not absolute, however. One
exception to the rule is that a district court does not lose
jurisdiction to proceed as to matters in aid of the
appeal.” Id. Rendering a decision on the
merits of Collins's objections and instant motions will
aid the appeal. Accordingly, the Court has jurisdiction over
motion to amend, Collins seeks to amend his complaint to
substitute Aiken County Sherriff's Office (ACSO) as a
Defendant for ACDC. The standard for leave to amend is a
liberal one. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2)
(“The court should freely give leave [to amend] when
justice so requires.”). Leave need not be granted,
however, when such amendment would be futile. Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). The amendment Collins
seeks would be futile. As analyzed in the first Report and
the Court's Order adopting the first Report, ACDC is
administered by ACSO, which is an arm of the State of South
Carolina. ECF No. 25 at 4-5, ECF No. 33 at 3. As an arm of
the State of South Carolina, ACSO is immune from
Collins's claims under the Eleventh Amendment to the
United States Constitution; that immunity likewise shields
ACDC. ECF No. 25 at 4-6, ECF No. 33 at 3-5. Because ACSO,
like ACDC, would be immune from Collins's claims, the
Court will deny Collins's motion to amend.
motion for extension of time, Collins seeks to extend the
time for him to file objections to the third Report. In
support of his motion for extension of time, Collins avers he
notified the Clerk of Court of a change of address in
February, 2019, and received the third Report by mail after
his objections to the third Report were due. Collins has
shown good cause and excusable neglect for his failure to
timely file objections to the third Report. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 6(b)(1)(B) (allowing a Court to extend time after
a deadline has expired on a showing of good cause and
excusable neglect). Accordingly, the Court will grant
Collins's motion for extension of time and review
Collins's objections to the third Report.
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 ...