United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
Charles R. Campbell, Plaintiff,
Ms. Hollie S. Bennett; Dr. Karen K. Shelton; The Honorable Tony M. Jones; Ms. Catherine A. Stone; Mr. Charlton B. Hall; Ms. Emily H. Farr; Mr. Dean Grigg; Ms. Christa T. Bell; Mr. David B. Love; Board of Examiners in Pyschology; South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation; Ms. Shirley A. Vickery; South Carolina Bar; South Carolina Bar Board of Governors; Mr. M. Dawes Cooke, Jr.; Ms. Beverly A. Carroll; Dr. J. Patrick Goldsmith, Defendants.
F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge
Charles R. Campbell, proceeding pro se, brings this
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
violations of his right to due process and right to counsel
arising out of his divorce proceeding. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. (ECF No. 1). In
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.), the case was referred to the
Magistrate Judge. The Magistrate Judge assigned to this
action prepared a thorough Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) and opines that
Plaintiff’s complaint should be summarily dismissed
with prejudice and without issuance and service of process.
(ECF No. 9). 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.
The Magistrate Judge required Plaintiff to file objections by
June 12, 2019 (ECF No. 9), and Plaintiff timely filed his
Objections in two parts (ECF No. 12, 18). Plaintiff also
filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief. (ECF No.
19). Accordingly, the Complaint is ripe for review.
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 Magistrate
Judge’s Report, this 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.”).
Report, the Magistrate Judge recommends summary dismissal of
Plaintiff’s claims because they are frivolous as they
lack an arguable basis in either law or fact. (ECF No. 9).
Briefly, Plaintiff’s claims arise out of
Plaintiff’s divorce from his ex-wife and the
termination of his parental rights. In the Final Order and
Decree of Divorce, Plaintiff was barred from visiting or
contacting his three children. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff claims
he was denied due process during the parental evaluation
phase of the divorce proceedings, and as such, the family
court judgment should be reversed by this Court. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff seeks damages from the Defendants and various forms
of injunctive relief. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff’s Claims Against Five Defendants Should be
Dismissed Because They are Not State Actors.
complaint, Plaintiff has named Ms. Hollie Bennett, guardian
ad litem appointed by the family court, Dr. Karen K. Shelton,
a psychologist in private practice, Ms. Catherine A Stone,
social worker, Mr. Charlton B. Hall, a therapist, and Dr. J.
Patrick Goldsmith, a psychologist in private practice. To be
successful on a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must
establish two essential elements: 1) that a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated,
and 2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person
acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins,
487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). The Magistrate Judge found that there
was no indication that these Defendants performed conduct on
behalf of or in the interest of the State. (ECF No. 9). As
such, the Magistrate Judge concluded Plaintiff’s §
1983 claims against these Defendants should be dismissed
because these Defendants are not subject to suit under that
statute. (ECF No. 9).
Objections, Plaintiff asserts that Bennett meets the public
function test and nexus/joint action test. (ECF No. 18).
Plaintiff argues Bennett meets the public function test
because Bennett performed solely public functions as a
protective order concerning the children’s neglect,
need, or danger was never an issue in his case. (ECF No. 18).
Also, Plaintiff asserts Bennett meets the requirements of the
nexus/joint action test. (ECF No. 18). Although the public
function test and nexus/joint function test can be used to
determine whether a private party qualifies as a state actor,
it has been established that guardian ad litem are not state
actors. “Guardian ad litem are not state actors for
purposes of § 1983, because they give their
‘undivided loyalty to the minor, not the state.”
Parkell v. South Carolina, 687 F.Supp.2d 576, 587
(D.S.C. 2009); See Higdon v. Smith, 565 F.
App’x 791, 793 (11th Cir. 2014); See also Meeker v.
Kercher, 782 F.2d 153, 155 (10th Cir. 1986). Therefore,
the Court dismisses Plaintiff’s claims against
Defendant, Bennett, because Bennett is not subject to suit
under § 1983.
the Magistrate Judge concluded that Defendant, Dr. Karen
Shelton, was also not a state actor and as such, not subject
to suit. Plaintiff quotes portions of Shelton’s
services contract to prove that her conduct meets the public
function test because she stated her work is done “for
the Court.” (ECF No. 18). However, Shelton is a
psychologist in private practice and was retained by the
parties. (ECF No. 9). Plaintiff’s argument concerning
Shelton’s status is unpersuasive. ...