United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Bryan Harwell, United States District Judge.
Arnold Parson Jr., proceeding pro se, brings this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the above-captioned
Defendants. The matter is before the Court for consideration
of the parties' objections to the Report and
Recommendation (“R & R”) of United States
Magistrate Judge Kaymani D. West, who recommends granting in
part and denying in part Defendants' motion to dismiss
Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint. See ECF No.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court.
The Magistrate Judge's recommendation has no presumptive
weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination
remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S.
261, 270-71 (1976). The Court must conduct a de novo review
of those portions of the R & R to which specific
objections are made, and it may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge
or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).
Court must engage in a de novo review of every portion of the
Magistrate Judge's report to which objections have been
filed. Id. However, the Court need not conduct a de
novo review when a party makes only “general and
conclusory objections that do not direct the [C]ourt to a
specific error in the [M]agistrate [Judge]'s proposed
findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence
of specific objections to the R & R, the Court reviews
only for clear error, Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc.
Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005), and the
Court need not give any explanation for adopting the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation. Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).
filed this § 1983 action alleging Defendants violated
his constitutional rights when executing a writ of assistance
and removing him from his foreclosed property in Mullins,
South Carolina, on November 2, 2015. The Court previously
granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff's motion to
amend and permitting the filing of his Third Amended
Complaint. See ECF No. 159 (order); ECF No. 161
(Third Am. Compl.). As explained in that prior order (ECF No.
159), Plaintiff's sole remaining claim is his § 1983
excessive force claim relating to his allegedly excessively
tight handcuffing during his arrest.
have now filed a motion to dismiss the Third Amended
Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), (2), and
(6). See ECF No. 166. The
Magistrate Judge recommends granting the motion as to
Plaintiff's official capacity claims and denying it as to
his individual capacity claims. See R & R [ECF
No. 189]. Plaintiff and Defendants have both filed objections
to the R & R. See ECF Nos. 192 & 194.
Plaintiff has filed a response to Defendants' objections.
See ECF No. 196.
objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that
Defendants are entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity as to
the official capacity claims. See Pl.'s
Objs. [ECF No. 194]; R & R at pp. 3-4.
a State nor its officials acting in their official capacities
are ‘persons' under § 1983, ” Will
v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989), as “Eleventh Amendment immunity protects the States,
their agencies, and officials from suit in federal
court.” Allen v. Cooper, 895 F.3d 337,
347 (4th Cir. 2018). “This jurisdictional bar applies
regardless of the nature of the relief sought.”
Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465
U.S. 89, 100 (1984).
the Eleventh Amendment bars Plaintiff's claims for
declaratory relief and monetary damages against Defendants in
their official capacities because they are state officials,
i.e., agents/employees of the Marion County Sheriff's
Department. See generally Gulledge v. Smart, 878
F.2d 379, 1989 WL 69302, at *2 (4th Cir. 1989) (“In
South Carolina a sheriff, and his deputies, are state actors.
A suit against them in federal court in their official
capacities is therefore barred by the [E]leventh
[A]mendment.” (internal citation omitted)); Brown
v. Middleton, 362 Fed.Appx. 340, 346 n.8 (4th Cir. 2010)
(same); Edwards v. Lexington Cty. Sheriff's
Dep't, 688 S.E.2d 125, 127 n.1 (S.C. 2010)
(“[U]nder South Carolina law, the sheriff and
sheriff's deputies are State, not county,
employees.”). The Court will overrule Plaintiff's
objections and dismiss his official capacity claims without
object to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that they are
not entitled to qualified immunity as to Plaintiff's
individual capacity claims. See Defs.' Objs.
[ECF No. 192]; R & R at pp. 4-5. Defendants assert the
Magistrate Judge failed to consider two cases from the
Eastern District of Virginia that-according to
“Plaintiff's alleged right to be free from