United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
Earnest E. Vaughn, Sr., Plaintiff,
Agent E.W. Brooks, Ex Agent Larry Byrd, and Cpt Sam Watts, Defendants.
L. Wooten Senior United States District Judge.
Earnest E. Vaughn, Sr., proceeding pro se, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his
constitutional rights while he was a pretrial detainee. ECF
No. 1. This matter comes before the Court for review of the
Report and Recommendation (the Report) issued by United
States Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McDonald on August 1, 2018.
ECF No. 9. The Magistrate Judge recommends summary dismissal
of the Complaint based on res judicata. Id.
Plaintiff filed objections to the Report, ECF No. 11, and
this matter is now ripe for disposition.
Court is charged with conducting a de novo review of any
portion of the Magistrate Judge's Report to which a
specific objection is registered, and may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendations contained in
that Report. 28 U.S.C. § 636. In conducting its review,
the Court applies the following standard:
The magistrate judge makes only a recommendation to the
Court, to which any party may file written objections . . . .
The Court is not bound by the recommendation of the
magistrate judge but, instead, retains responsibility for the
final determination. The Court is required to make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified
findings or recommendation as to which an objection is made.
However, the Court is not required to review, under a de novo
or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of
the magistrate judge as to those portions of the report and
recommendation to which no objections are addressed. While
the level of scrutiny entailed by the Court's review of
the Report thus depends on whether or not objections have
been filed, in either case the Court is free, after review,
to accept, reject, or modify any of the magistrate
judge's findings or recommendations.
Wallace v. Housing Auth. of the City of Columbia,
791 F.Supp. 137, 138 (D.S.C. 1992) (citations omitted).
light of the standard set forth in Wallace, the Court has
reviewed, de novo, the filings and the relevant law in the
instant case. Plaintiff asserts that he received additional
information regarding the claims in the instant complaint,
and that the information was not available to him when he
filed his 2017 case, Earnest E. Vaughn, Sr. v. Larry
Robert Byrd, a.k.a. Robbie Byrd and Greenwood County,
C/A No. 8:17-cv-2232-TLW-KFM. ECF No. 11. In light of those
objections, the Court also reviewed the Complaint, relevant
filings, and Report and Recommendation issued in the 2017
Magistrate Judge notes in the Report for this case,
information related to Whitfield Brooks was clearly available
to the Plaintiff in the first 2017 action. Plaintiff
specifically names Brooks in the Amended Complaint that he
filed in the first action. ECF No. 9 at 2. In the 2017 case
and complaint, Plaintiff alleged the same conduct related to
Brooks and Byrd searching his person. See Id.
However, the first allegations of injury related to the
search after his arrest were raised by Plaintiff in the
second complaint, filed more than three years after his
arrest in 2015. To the extent Plaintiff's second
complaint raises claims against Defendant Watts, Plaintiff
merely alleges that Watts was the person who processed his
administrative grievance while housed at the Greenwood
Detention Center. ECF No. 11. As the Magistrate Judge notes,
Plaintiff's 2017 case also raised claims related to his
stay in the Greenwood Detention Center, and Plaintiff could
have raised any claims related to Watts in that prior
litigation. Id. at 4.
objections, Plaintiff does not specifically state why his
second filing is outside the doctrine of res judicata. While
he does state he “did not have accurate names” of
defendants that led to the filing of a second complaint,
Id. at 1, that is simply not the case. Both
Defendants Brooks and Byrd, were named in both the first and
second complaints. Facts related to his arrest were known to
the Plaintiff when he filed the first complaint. The record
reflects Plaintiff has not shown that the instant claims did
not exist at the time of the prior litigation, when he named
both defendants Brooks and Byrd. See Ali v. Jeng, 86
F.3d 1148 (4th Cir. 1996) (“[Plaintiff] may not bring
piece-meal litigation by naming different defendants and
alleging new causes of action when all of his claims arise
from the same operative facts.”); Meekins v. United
Transp. Union, 946 F.2d 1054, 1057 (4th Cir.
1991)(“[res judicata] prevents litigation of all
grounds for, or defenses to, recovery that were previously
available to the parties, regardless of whether they were
asserted or determined in the prior proceeding.”
(internal citations omitted)). In his objections, Plaintiff
fails to substantively object to the conclusions in the
Report, including that a final judgment on the merits was
rendered in a prior suit. The Plaintiff has not asserted,
either factually or legally, a basis to reject the Report and
the analysis by the Magistrate Judge. For these reasons, the
Court accepts the careful factual and legal analysis by the
Magistrate Judge in his Report. ECF No. 9.
the Report, ECF No. 9, is hereby ACCEPTED, the
Plaintiff's Objections, ECF No. 11, are OVERRULED, and
this case is DISMISSED with prejudice.
 The Court also notes that even if this
case was not barred by the doctrine of res judicata, this
action would nevertheless be barred by South Carolina's
three-year statute of limitations for § 1983 claims.
See e.g. Ford v. Georgetown Cty. Sch. Dist., No.