Hatcher et al v. Ferguson
ORDER RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION granting 10 Motion to Remand to State Court, Motion to Dismiss,, filed by Michael Stehney, Molly A Miller, James F Gilbert, John D Hatcher, Rachel Shaluly, adopting 13 Report and Recommendation. Signed by Honorable G Ross Anderson, Jr on 7/23/15. (alew, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
John D. Hatcher, Rachel Shaluly,
James F. Gilbert, Molly A. Miller, and
Michael Stehney, individually and as
members of the Architectural Committee )
of Mill Creek Estates,
C.A. No. 6:15-cv-2080-GRA
This matter comes before this Court for review of United States Magistrate
Judge Kevin F. McDonald’s Report and Recommendation (“the Report”) made in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and filed on June 16, 2015. ECF No. 13.
The Plaintiffs originally filed this case in the Court of Common Pleas for
Greenville County on April 1, 2013, alleging failure to comply with restrictive
covenants. ECF No. 1-1.
The Defendant filed an answer with counterclaims on
May 1, 2013. ECF No. 1.
On September 30, 2014, the Defendant removed the
action to this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Id. This Court then remanded the
action for jurisdictional reasons back to State Court on March 19, 2015. On May 20,
2015, the Defendant again removed the action to this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1441. ECF No. 1. The Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Dismiss from Federal Court and
Remand to State Court on May 26, 2015. ECF No. 10. Magistrate Judge McDonald
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then made a careful review of the Motion and now recommends that this Court grant
the Motion. ECF No. 13. Thereafter, on June 29, 2015, the Defendant filed an
objection arguing that “this court is vested with jurisdiction to resolve” this matter.
ECF No. 16 at 14. The Plaintiffs filed a Reply on July 13, 2015. ECF No. 15. For the
reasons discussed herein, this Court adopts the Magistrate Judge’s Report in its
entirety and grants the Motion.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final
determination remains with this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270–71
(1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions
of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made, and this
Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court may
also "receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate with
In order for objections to be considered by a United States District Judge, the
objections must be timely filed and must specifically identify the portions of the Report
and Recommendation to which the party objects and the basis for the objections.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); see United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 n.4 (4th Cir.
1984); Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 845–47 nn.1–3 (4th Cir. 1985). “Courts have .
. . held de novo review to be unnecessary in . . . situations when a party makes
general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the
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magistrate’s proposed findings and recommendation.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d
44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). Furthermore, in the absence of specific objections to the
Report and Recommendation, this Court is not required to give any explanation for
adopting the recommendation. Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983).
In this case, July 6, 2015 was the deadline for filing objections. ECF No. 13. The
Defendant filed an objection on June 29, 2015. ECF No. 16.
The Defendant first objects to the identification of the parties in the Report. Id.
at 2-3. Specifically, he argues that “the Court, again, has failed to properly identify
the parties involved in the action.” Id. at 2. The Defendant, however, does not
provide the Court with whom he believes the proper parties to be. Instead, he simply
states that “the question remains, who are the parties to the case.” Id. at 3. The case
that was removed to this Court is case number 2013-CP-23-1810. ECF No. 1-1 at 5.
The Report identifies the exact same parties as listed in the action that was removed
to this Court.
The Court, therefore, adopts the Report with respect to the
identification of the parties.
The Defendant next provides in his objections nearly five pages worth of First
Circuit case law under the headings of “FAILURE TO ADEQUATELY REVIEW
JURISDICTION” and “Statutory Time Limits.” ECF No. 16 at 3-7. The Defendant,
however, fails to make any actual objections or arguments accompanying these
citations. Id. The Court, therefore, adopts the Report with respect to the timeliness of
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The Defendant also seemingly objects to the Report’s finding that “[t]here is no
federal question . . . jurisdiction in [this] case.” ECF No. 13 at 3.
makes multiple claims in this regard. First, the Defendant claims that the Motion to
Compel from the Plaintiffs’ attorney “seek[s] to intrude upon the privacy of the
Defendant” and that he has a “[f]ederally recognized privacy right.” ECF No. 16 at 8.
Second, the Defendant spends nearly two pages explaining the legal concept of
standing. Id. at 9-10. Third, the Defendant cites to the Fourteenth Amendment and
argues that federal question jurisdiction exists because state court mandated
mediation, involvement in other lawsuits with one of the Plaintiffs, and participation in
discovery violate his constitutional rights.
Id. at 10-13.
Under the well-pleaded
complaint rule, the plaintiff’s complaint is determinative of federal jurisdiction. In other
words, the federal question must be clear from the face of the complaint and cannot
be based on a federal law defense. See Merrell Dow Pharm. Inc. v. Thompson, 478
U.S. 804, 808 (1986).
Accordingly, the Defendant’s privacy, standing, and
Fourteenth Amendment defenses do not provide this court with federal question
After a thorough review of the record, this Court finds no error and that the
Magistrate Judge’s Report accurately summarizes the case and the applicable law.
Accordingly, the Report is accepted and adopted in its entirety.
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IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss from Federal
Court and Remand to State Court is GRANTED. This case is hereby REMANDED to
the Court of Common Pleas for Greenville County.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
G. Ross Anderson, Jr.
Senior United States District Judge
July 23 , 2015
Anderson, South Carolina
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