Deans v. MaGile et al
ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, dismissing this matter without prejudice and without issuance and service of process, 10 Report and Recommendations, Motion denied: 13 MOTION to Amend/Correct 1 Complaint filed by William Deans. Signed by Honorable Cameron McGowan Currie on October 27, 2011. (kbos)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
John Magill, Dir., SCDHM;
South Carolina Department of Mental
C/A NO. 3:11-1584-CMC-JRM
OPINION and ORDER
This matter is before the court on Plaintiff’s pro se complaint, filed in this court pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 (B)(2)(c), DSC, this
matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Joseph R. McCrorey for pre-trial proceedings
and a Report and Recommendation (“Report”). On August 10, 2011, the Magistrate Judge issued
a Report recommending that this matter be dismissed without prejudice and without service of
process and that Plaintiff’s motion for injunctive relief be deemed moot. The Magistrate Judge
advised Plaintiff of the procedures and requirements for filing objections to the Report and the
serious consequences if he failed to do so. Plaintiff filed objections to the Report on August 17,
2011. In the objections, Plaintiff withdrew his pending motion for injunctive relief. Additionally,
Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint and a proposed amended complaint. ECF No. 13.
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation has
no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the court.
See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The court is charged with making a de novo
determination of any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a specific objection is
made. The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by
the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28
U.S.C. § 636(b).
After conducting a de novo review as to objections made, and considering the record, the
applicable law, the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, and Plaintiff’s objections,
the court adopts the conclusion of the Report that this matter should be dismissed without prejudice
and without issuance and service of process.
Plaintiff has filed a motion to amend his complaint, together with a proposed amended
complaint. Under the standards outlined in the Report, the court has reviewed Plaintiff’s proposed
amended complaint and finds that Plaintiff’s motion to amend should be denied based upon futility.
The Supreme Court has construed the phrase “when justice so requires” in Rule 15(a) to
preclude granting leave to amend when any of the following are found to exist: “undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by
amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of
the amendment, futility of the amendment, etc.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).
“Futility” means that the complaint, as amended, would fail to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted. Glassman v. Computervision Corp., 90 F.3d 617, 623 (1st Cir. 1996) (citations
omitted). In assessing “futility,” the district court applies the same standard of legal sufficiency as
applies under Rule 12(b)(6). Id.
Under Rule 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss should be granted only when it appears that
plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of a claim that would entitle plaintiff to relief on that
claim. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure
to state a claim, a plaintiff’s well-pleaded allegations are taken as true and the complaint is viewed
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th
Cir.1993); see also Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992). This
principle only applies to factual allegations, however, and “a court considering a motion to dismiss
can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are
not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950
In the current case, Plaintiff names Defendants John Magill, Director of the South Carolina
Department of Mental Health, both in his official and individual capacities, and the South Carolina
Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH). The SCDMH is not a “person” amenable to suit
under § 1983. It is well-settled that an agency of the state is not a “person” within the meaning of
§ 1983, and thus is not a proper defendant. Will v. Michigan Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989). Therefore, Defendant SCDMH is dismissed from this action.
Plaintiff’s proposed amended complaint against Magill seeks declaratory and injunctive, but
not monetary, relief. Because Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, Magill, acting in an official capacity,
is a person under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Will, 491 U.S. at 71 n.10, and “official-capacity actions for
prospective relief are not treated as actions against the State.” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159,
167 n.14 (1985) (citing Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908)). Accordingly, a suit against Magill
in his official capacity would be cognizable.
Plaintiff contends that SCDMH, with Magill’s “direct personal control and knowledge,”
entered into an alleged unlawful contractual relationship with a “private prison contractor” which
has allegedly violated his constitutional rights in several ways, including his being “denied
rehabilitation,” and “the loss of a paying job equal” to certain other Sexually Violent Predators
(SVPs). ECF No. 13-1 at 4. Plaintiff contends in a conclusory fashion that “[a]s a tax payer,
Plaintiff has the right to seek remedy and recourse against Defendant who [has] falsely obtained
and or abscond[ed] with federal grant money intended for the rehabilitation of Plaintiff by and
through the SCDMH SVP treatment Program.” Id. at 5.1 Plaintiff also seeks injunctive relief in the
form of an order prohibiting his transfer to another facility. Plaintiff summarily alleges that these
alleged actions by Magill are unconstitutional, and that he (Plaintiff) has been, or will be, damaged
as a result. See Proposed Amd. Compl. at 5.
As to the requested injunctive relief, Plaintiff’s claim fails for two reasons. First, Plaintiff
provides no evidence that he has been transferred to another facility, nor is certain to be transferred.2
Moreover, Plaintiff has no protected constitutional interest in being housed in a particular institution,
at particular custody level, or in a particular portion or unit of a facility. See Olim v. Wakinekona,
461 U.S. 238 (1983) (inmates have no due process right to choose their specific place of
confinement); Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224-25 (1976) (same).
As to Plaintiff’s other claims, Plaintiff’s assertions are, at most, allegations relating to state
budgeting concerns and state statutes, which are not constitutional in nature. Therefore, absent
It is apparent from the proposed amended complaint that Plaintiff’s contention is not that
Magill actually took federal grant money but rather that under his direction such funds were used
to pay for inmates to be housed at a contract facility.
Throughout the pendency of this suit, Plaintiff remains housed in the Edisto Unit of Broad
River Correction Institution.
separate viable claims providing jurisdictional grounds, they are subject to dismissal under 28
U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).
Therefore, Plaintiff’s motion to amend is denied on the basis of futility. This matter is
dismissed without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/ Cameron McGowan Currie
CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Columbia, South Carolina
October 27, 2011
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?