Williams v. Duyn et al
ORDER RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION: The Court adopts and incorporates the Magistrate Judge's Report (ECF No. 12 ); overrules Plaintiff's objections (ECF No. 18 ); and dismisses Defendants Florence County Sheriff's Department, Florence County, and Florence County Detention Center without issuance and service of process. This action remains pending against Defendant Duyn. Signed by Honorable Bruce Howe Hendricks on 10/14/2016. (dsto, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Tyrone Cornelius Williams, #27857-171,
Sheriff Deputy Levi Duyn,
Florence County Sheriff’s Department,
Civil Action No. 4:16-1805-BHH
This matter is before the Court upon Plaintiff Tyrone Cornelius Williams’ pro se
complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Sheriff
Deputy Levi Duyn used excessive and deadly force against Plaintiff when he shot Plaintiff
in the back while pursuing Plaintiff on foot.
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d)
(D.S.C.), the matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for preliminary
determinations. On June 16, 2016, Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III, issued a
report and recommendation (“Report”) outlining Plaintiff’s complaint and recommending that
the Court dismiss the action without issuance and service of process as to Defendants
Florence County Sheriff’s Department, Florence County, and Florence County Detention
Center.1 Specifically, the Magistrate Judge determined that Defendant Florence County
Sheriff’s Department is immune from suit pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment; that
Plaintiff failed to state a plausible § 1983 claim against Defendant Florence County; and
Although the caption of Plaintiff’s complaint does not include Florence County Detention Center as
a Defendant, the Magistrate Judge, in liberally construing Plaintiff’s pro se filing, included the Florence County
Detention Center as a Defendant. (See ECF No. 12 at 1-2 n.1.)
that Defendant Florence County Detention Center is not a “person” amenable to suit under
Plaintiff filed written objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Report on June 27, 2016;
however, in his objections Plaintiff simply reiterates his claim that Defendant Levi Duyn
violated his constitutional rights and nowhere does Plaintiff respond to the Magistrate
Judge’s recommendations as to Defendants Florence County Sheriff’s Department,
Florence County, and Florence County Detention Center.
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court.
recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final
determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The Court
is charged with making a de novo determination only 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. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of specific
objections, the Court reviews the matter only for clear error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (stating that “in the absence of a
timely filed objection, a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must
‘only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation.’”) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 72 advisory committee’s note).
After review, and in the absence of specific objections, the Court finds that the
Magistrate Judge correctly summarized the facts and applied the appropriate legal
standards. First, as the Magistrate Judge determined, Defendant Florence County Sheriff’s
Department is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity, as it is well-established in South
Carolina that a sheriff’s office is an agency of the state, such that a suit against a sheriff’s
office is a suit against the State. See Will v. Mich. Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989); Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978) (per curiam) (citations omitted). Next,
the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff failed to state a plausible § 1983
claim against Defendant Florence County because Plaintiff’s claims arise out of the alleged
actions of Defendant Sheriff Deputy Levi Duyn, who serves at the pleasure of the Sheriff
and not the county. See Allen v. Fid. & Deposit Co., 515 F. Supp. 1185, 1190 (D.S.C.
1981) (“The county government [in South Carolina] cannot hire or fire the deputies nor can
it tell the sheriff the manner or method by which he and his deputies are to perform the
official acts of his office.”). In addition, as the Magistrate Judge noted, Plaintiff has not
averred that the alleged excessive force was the result of an official policy or custom of
Florence County. See Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978). Finally, the
Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Defendant Florence County Detention Center
is not a “person” amenable to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Accordingly, based on the foregoing, the Court adopts and incorporates the
Magistrate Judge’s Report (ECF No. 12); overrules Plaintiff’s objections (ECF No. 18); and
dismisses Defendants Florence County Sheriff’s Department, Florence County, and
Florence County Detention Center without issuance and service of process. This action
remains pending against Defendant Duyn.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/Bruce Howe Hendricks
United States District Judge
October 14, 2016
Charleston, South Carolina
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