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Nicholson v. Rhyne

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division

January 10, 2020

Ryan Patrick Nicholson, Plaintiff,
v.
R.C. Rhyne, T.R.P.; Pageland Police Department; Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department; South Carolina Highway Patrol; and State of South Carolina, Defendants.

          ORDER

          R. Bryan Harwell Chief United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court for consideration of Plaintiff Ryan Patrick Nicholson's objection to the Report and Recommendation (“R & R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Kaymani D. West, who recommends summarily dismissing one defendant from this action.[1] See ECF Nos. 17 & 19.

         Standard of Review

         The 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).

         The 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).

         Discussion

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, [2] filed this action alleging his constitutional rights were violated in connection with a September 7, 2019 traffic stop near Pageland, South Carolina. See ECF No. 1. He names five defendants: (1) a state trooper who allegedly “abducted” him (Defendant R.C. Rhyne), (2) the Pageland Police Department, (3) the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department, (4) the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and (5) the State of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge has entered an R & R recommending that the Court summarily dismiss the State of South Carolina because the Eleventh Amendment bars suit against this defendant. See ECF No. 17. Plaintiff has filed an objection to the R & R. See ECF No. 19.

         The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that the Eleventh Amendment bars Plaintiff's suit against the State of South Carolina. See Tennessee Student Assistance Corp. v. Hood, 541 U.S. 440, 446 (2004) (“[A]n unconsenting State . . . is immune from suits by its own citizens.”); Pense v. Maryland Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs., 926 F.3d 97, 100 (4th Cir. 2019) (recognizing “an unconsenting State is immune from suits brought in federal courts by her own citizens”); see also S.C. Code Ann. § 15-78-20(e) (expressly reserving South Carolina's Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in federal court). Accordingly, the Court will overrule Plaintiff's objection and dismiss the State of South Carolina from this action.

         Conclusion

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court OVERRULES Plaintiff's objection, ADOPTS the R & R [ECF No. 17], and DISMISSES Defendant State of South Carolina without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.[3]

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

---------

Notes:

[1] The Magistrate Judge issued the R & R in accordance with 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.). The Magistrate Judge authorized service of process on the four ...


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