United States District Court, D. South Carolina
F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge.
Owen Harriot, (“Plaintiff”), a prisoner
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this complaint
against the United States of America
(“Defendant”) seeking damages under the Federal
Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”). (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 assigned to this action prepared a
thorough Report and Recommendation (“Report”) and
opines that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed
without issuance and service of process. (ECF No. 13). 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.
Court is charged with making a de novo determination
of those portions of the Report to which specific objections
are made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge,
or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with
instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
However, a district court is only required to conduct a
de novo review of the specific portions of the
Magistrate Judge's Report to which an objection is made.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b);
Carniewski v. W. Virginia Bd. of Prob. & Parole,
974 F.2d 1330 (4th Cir. 1992). In the absence of specific
objections to portions of the Report of the Magistrate, this
Court is not required to give an explanation for adopting the
recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198,
199 (4th Cir. 1983).
Report recites the factual and procedural background giving
rise to this action in detail, which is incorporated by
reference. Briefly, Plaintiff has brought claims for false
arrest and imprisonment under the FTCA. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff has requested $15 million in damages, appointment
of counsel, and any other relief the court may provide. (ECF
Plaintiff's Claims are Barred by Heck
Magistrate Judge correctly opines that Plaintiff's claims
concerning his alleged false arrest and imprisonment are
barred by the holding in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477 (1994). (ECF No. 13). In Heck, the Supreme Court
held that “in order to recover damages from allegedly
unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other
harm whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence
invalid, …a § 1983 Plaintiff must prove that the
conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal,
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal authorized to make such a determination, or called
into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254.” As the District
Court, we must “consider whether judgment in favor of
the Plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his
conviction or sentence; if it would, the complaint must be
dismissed unless the Plaintiff can demonstrate the conviction
or sentence has already been invalidated.”
Heck, 512 U.S. at 487. The Report submits that a
judgment in Plaintiff's favor on his false arrest and
imprisonment claims would necessarily imply the invalidity of
his subsequent conviction. (ECF No. 13).
Plaintiff objects the Report, Plaintiff's objections fail
to demonstrate he has successfully challenged his conviction
such that his claims would not be barred by Heck.
(ECF No. 16). First, Plaintiff argues that the Report is
contrary to Heck, however, Plaintiff does not
explain how the Report departs from the established
precedent. (ECF No. 16). Although Plaintiff cites to several
cases for support, they miss the point and do not address the
issue at hand. (ECF No. 16). Next, Plaintiff argues that the
Magistrate Judge viewed Plaintiff's FTCA claims as a
malicious prosecution claim and this was clear error. (ECF
No. 16). However, the Magistrate Judge makes no reference to
malicious prosecution in the Report. (ECF No. 13).
Plaintiff asserts that “to properly apply
Heck's bar against certain damage action claims
a district court ‘must' analyze the relationship
between plaintiff's claims and the charge on which he was
convicted. Hardrick v. City of Bolingbrook, 522 F.3d
758, 762 (7th. Cir. 2008).” (ECF No. 13). In
Hardrick, the Plaintiff pled guilty to resisting a
peace officer and the Court held Plaintiff's § 1983
action for excessive force was not precluded under
Heck. The Court reasoned the allegations did not
present a collateral attack to his conviction rather an
argument that he suffered unnecessary injuries. Hardrick
v. City of Bolingbrook, 522 F.3d 758 (7th Cir. 2008).
This case is inapposite from the one at hand in which
Plaintiff has brought an action under the FTCA alleging false
arrest and imprisonment which are directly related to his
conviction and a favorable determination of these claims
would imply the invalidity of his conviction. Therefore,
because Plaintiff does not allege, and court records do no
show that he successfully challenged the lawfulness of his
federal conviction, the Court dismisses Plaintiff's
claims as they are barred by Heck.
Denial of Request for Appointment of Counsel
Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that he has a right to appointed
counsel. (ECF No. 1). However, the Magistrate Judge correctly
finds Plaintiff is not entitled to the appointment of
counsel. (ECF No. 13). Although Plaintiff objects that
appointment of counsel is necessary, his argument is
unavailing. (ECF No. 16). As the Report sets out, “it
is well settled that in civil actions the appointment of
counsel should be allowed only in exceptional cases.”
Cook v. Bounds, 518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th Cir. 1965).
After a review of ...