Good v. Farnsworth

Filing 5

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 1 Complaint filed by David F. Good, Jr.; It is recommended that the District Court dismiss the complaint in this case without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. Objections to R&R due by 5/11/2006. Signed by Judge Joseph R. McCrorey on 4/24/06. (kpri, )

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Good v. Farnsworth Doc. 5 3:06-cv-01184-MBS Date Filed 04/24/2006 Entry Number 5 Page 1 of 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA David F. Good, Jr., Plaintiff, vs. Daniel J. Farnsworth, Sr., Contract Public Defender, Defendant. ___________________________________________ ) C/A No. 3:06-1184-MBS-JRM ) ) ) Report and Recommendation ) ) ) ) ) ) The plaintiff, David Good, ("Plaintiff") proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983.1 Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Greenville County Detention Center, and files this action without prepayment of the filing fee under 28 U.S.C. 1915. The complaint should be dismissed without prejudice. Pro Se and In Forma Pauperis Review Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se complaint pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915; 28 U.S.C. 1915A; and the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996). This review has been conducted in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Correction, 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995) (en banc), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 1177 (1996); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983). The complaint herein has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915, which permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal court without prepaying the administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. To protect against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the action "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted" or is "frivolous or malicious." 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii). A finding of Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(B), and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), D.S.C., the undersigned is authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court. 1 Dockets.Justia.com 3:06-cv-01184-MBS Date Filed 04/24/2006 Entry Number 5 Page 2 of 4 frivolity can be made where the complaint "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). Hence, under 1915(e)(2)(B), a claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989); Allison v. Kyle, 66 F.3d 71 (5th Cir. 1995). The Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, and thus his pleadings are accorded liberal construction. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5 (1980); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F. 2d 1291 (4th Cir. 1978); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F. 2d 1147 (4th 1978). Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Hughes, 495 U.S. 5. Even under this less stringent standard, however, a pro se complaint is still subject to summary dismissal. The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F. 2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990). Discussion The defendant, a public defender, is entitled to summary dismissal because he has not acted under color of state law. In order to state a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) the defendant deprived him or her of a federal right, and (2) did so under color of state law. Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The defendant must either be a state actor or have a sufficiently close relationship with state actors such that a court would conclude that the non-state actor is engaged in the state's actions. An attorney, whether retained, court-appointed, or a public defender, does not act under color of state law, which is a jurisdictional prerequisite for any civil action brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983. See Deas v. Potts, 547 F.2d 800 (4th Cir. 1976) (private attorney); Hall v. Quillen, 631 F.2d 1154, 1155-1156 & nn. 2-3 (4th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1141 (1982) (court-appointed attorney); Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 317-324 & nn. 8-16 (1981) (public defender). Accordingly, the defendant, here, is not a proper 2 3:06-cv-01184-MBS Date Filed 04/24/2006 Entry Number 5 Page 3 of 4 defendant and the complaint should be dismissed.2 Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff's claims under 1983 should be dismissed for failure to state a claim. Recommendation Accordingly, it is recommended that the District Court dismiss the complaint in the abovecaptioned case without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. See Denton v. Hernandez, supra; Neitzke v. Williams, supra; Haines v. Kerner, supra; Brown v. Briscoe, 998 F.2d 201, 202-204 & n. * (4th Cir. 1993); Boyce v. Alizaduh, supra; Todd v. Baskerville, supra, 712 F.2d at 74; 28 U.S.C. 1915A [as soon as possible after docketing, district courts should review prisoner cases to determine whether they are subject to summary dismissal]. The plaintiff's attention is directed to the notice on the following page. Respectfully Submitted, s/Joseph R. McCrorey United States Magistrate Judge April 24, 2006 Columbia, South Carolina "Even if [Plaintiff] had pleaded facts that could establish that his public defender could be considered a state actor, and is claiming that his right to effective assistance of counsel is being violated, then he must raise this constitutional challenge in his pending state criminal case; a federal court generally will not intercede to consider issues that [Plaintiff] has an opportunity to raise before the state court." Fuentes v. State of New Jersey Office of Pub. Defs., 2006 WL 83108 D. N.J. 2006) (citing Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971)). 2 3 3:06-cv-01184-MBS Date Filed 04/24/2006 Entry Number 5 Page 4 of 4 Notice of Right to File Objections to Magistrate Judge's "Report and Recommendation" & The Serious Consequences of a Failure to Do So The parties are hereby notified that any objections to the attached Report and Recommendation (or Order and Recommendation) must be filed within ten (10) days of the date of service. 28 U.S.C. 636 and Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). The time calculation of this ten-day period excludes weekends and holidays and provides for an additional three days for filing by mail. Fed. R. Civ. P. 6. A magistrate judge makes only a recommendation, and the authority to make a final determination in this case rests with the United States District Judge. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-271 (1976); and Estrada v. Witkowski, 816 F. Supp. 408, 410 (D.S.C. 1993). During the period for filing objections, but not thereafter, a party must file with the Clerk of Court specific, written objections to the Report and Recommendation, if he or she wishes the United States District Judge to consider any objections. Any written objections must specifically identify the portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections are made and the basis for such objections. See Keeler v. Pea, 782 F. Supp. 42, 43-44 (D.S.C. 1992); and Oliverson v. West Valley City, 875 F. Supp. 1465, 1467 (D.Utah 1995). Failure to file specific, written objections shall constitute a waiver of a party's right to further judicial review, including appellate review, if the recommendation is accepted by the United States District Judge. See United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 & n. 4 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, Schronce v. United States, 467 U.S. 1208 (1984); and Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 845-847 & nn. 1-3 (4th Cir. 1985). Moreover, if a party files specific objections to a portion of a magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation, but does not file specific objections to other portions of the Report and Recommendation, that party waives appellate review of the portions of the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation to which he or she did not object. In other words, a party's failure to object to one issue in a magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation precludes that party from subsequently raising that issue on appeal, even if objections are filed on other issues. Howard v. Secretary of HHS, 932 F.2d 505, 508-509 (6th Cir. 1991). See also Praylow v. Martin, 761 F.2d 179, 180 n. 1 (4th Cir.)(party precluded from raising on appeal factual issue to which it did not object in the district court), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1009 (1985). In Howard, supra, the Court stated that general, non-specific objections are not sufficient: A general objection to the entirety of the [magistrate judge's] report has the same effects as would a failure to object. The district court's attention is not focused on any specific issues for review, thereby making the initial reference to the [magistrate judge] useless. * * * This duplication of time and effort wastes judicial resources rather than saving them, and runs contrary to the purposes of the Magistrates Act. * * * We would hardly countenance an appellant's brief simply objecting to the district court's determination without explaining the source of the error. Accord Lockert v. Faulkner, 843 F.2d 1015, 1017-1019 (7th Cir. 1988), where the Court held that the appellant, who proceeded pro se in the district court, was barred from raising issues on appeal that he did not specifically raise in his objections to the district court: Just as a complaint stating only 'I complain' states no claim, an objection stating only 'I object' preserves no issue for review. * * * A district judge should not have to guess what arguments an objecting party depends on when reviewing a [magistrate judge's] report. See also Branch v. Martin, 886 F.2d 1043, 1046 (8th Cir. 1989)("no de novo review if objections are untimely or general"), which involved a pro se litigant; and Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 7 n. 1 (3rd Cir. 1984)("plaintiff's objections lacked the specificity to trigger de novo review"). This notice, hereby, apprises the parties of the consequences of a failure to file specific, written objections. See Wright v. Collins, supra; and Small v. Secretary of HHS, 892 F.2d 15, 16 (2nd Cir. 1989). Filing by mail pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5 may be accomplished by mailing objections addressed as follows: Larry W. Propes, Clerk United States District Court 901 Richland Street Columbia, South Carolina 29201

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