Brown v. South Carolina, State of
ORDER AND OPINION RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION adopting 9 Report and Recommendation, denying as moot 4 Motion for Summary Judgment, filed by Orlando Ira Brown. Signed by Honorable Margaret B Seymour on 4/17/2017. (mdea ) Modified on 4/18/2017 to edit text (mdea, ).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Orlando Ira Brown,
State of South Carolina,
C/A No. 3:17-576-MBS
ORDER AND OPINION
On March 2, 2017, Plaintiff Orlando Ira Brown, proceeding pro se, brought this action
alleging discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et
seq. (ADA). Also on March 2, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment. In accordance
with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02, D.S.C., this matter was referred to United States
Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett for pretrial handling.
Plaintiff alleges that he was a victim of a crime in November 2011. He contends he
attempted to report the crime, but that an investigator in the Richland County, South Carolina,
Sheriff’s Department required him to take a polygraph examination. Plaintiff alleges he was treated
differently because he is mentally disabled and a drug user, in violation of the ADA. See ECF No.
The Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation on March 17, 2017. The
Magistrate Judge reviewed the allegations of the complaint and noted that the within action is the
fourth case filed by Plaintiff alleging that the Richland County Sheriff’s Department violated the
ADA by requiring him to take a polygraph test in November 2011. The Magistrate Judge noted that
Plaintiff’s first complaint was summarily dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See
Brown v. South Carolina, C/A No. 3:12-221-MBS (D.S.C. Jan. 24, 2012). The second complaint
resulted in an order granting summary judgment in favor of the Richland County Sheriff’s
Department. See Brown v. Richland County Sheriff’s Dep’t, C/A No. 3:12-3062-MBS (D.S.C. Oct.
23, 2012). The third complaint was summarily dismissed on the grounds of res judicata. See Brown
v. South Carolina, C/A No. 3:13-2983-MBS (D.S.C. Nov. 1, 2013). The Magistrate Judge
determined that the within action still is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Accordingly, the
Magistrate Judge recommended that the within action be summarily dismissed without prejudice and
without issuance and service of process.
Plaintiff filed objections to the Report and
Recommendation on March 27, 2017.
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation has
no presumptive weight. The responsibility for making a final determination remains with this court.
Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976). This court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
This court may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with
This court is obligated to conduct a de novo review of every portion of the
Magistrate Judge’s report to which objections have been filed. Id. However, the district court need
not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only general and conclusory objections that do
not direct the court to a specific error in the Magistrate Judge’s proposed findings and
recommendations. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47-48 (4th Cir. 1982).
Plaintiff states his objection as follows:
I object to the rule of res judicata by which the Honorable Paige Gossett presided
with. Res judicata, at core function, is to prevent judicial waste of time. This prayer
is not a waste of time. This prayer is such that justice would be gained, as this Instant
Action is, “as a matter of law”. God hears all our prayers without barring how many
times we can pray about the same thing. The Honorable Justices that preside over this
prayer, as the Right Hand of God, should hear this prayer. I am a layman, not a
lawyer. God says for us to come to Him as we are. I beg for this Court’s mercy and
humbly ask that res judicata not be applied to this prayer.
ECF No. 11.
In the court’s view, Plaintiff’s objections are general and conclusory within the meaning of
Nevertheless, the court has thoroughly reviewed the record and Report and
Recommendation. As the Magistrate Judge correctly noted, for the doctrine of res judicata to be
applicable, there must be: (1) a final judgment on the merits in a prior suit; (2) an identity of the
cause of action in both the earlier and later suit; and (3) an identity of parties or their privies in the
two suits. Martin v. Am. Bancorporation Ret. Plan, 407 F.3d 643, 650 (4th Cir. 2005). Further, res
judicata not only “bar[s] claims that were raised and fully litigated,” but also “prevents litigation of
all grounds for, or defenses to, recovery that were previously available to the parties, regardless of
whether they were asserted or determined in the prior proceeding.” Peugeot Motors of Am., Inc. v.
E. Auto Distrib., Inc., 892 F.2d 355, 359 (4th Cir. 1989). Here, the Magistrate Judge found that res
judicata applies because (1) the court entered a final judgment on the merits of Plaintiff’s prior
litigation against the Richland County Sheriff’s Department; (2) the allegations in the instant
complaint are nearly identical to, and stem from, the same set of facts that gave rise to Plaintiff’s
earlier filings; and (3) in South Carolina, a sheriff’s department is considered to be an arm of the
state, so that there is an identity of parties or their privies in both actions. The court discerns no error
in the Magistrate Judge’s analysis. Plaintiff’s objections are without merit.
For the reasons stated, the court adopts the Report and Recommendation and incorporates
it herein by reference. Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed without prejudice and without issuance and
service of process. Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 4) is denied as moot.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Margaret B. Seymour
Senior United States District Judge
Columbia, South Carolina
April 17, 2017.
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