Meeks v. McClung et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER The 16 Proposed Findings & Recommendation is ADOPTED; Plaintiff's 17 Objections are OVERRULED; the 5 Motion to Dismiss is DENIED IN PART as to Plaintiff's claims for violations of the Fourth Amendment agai nst the individual Defendants, and GRANTED IN PART as to the remaining claims; this matter is REASSIGNED and REFERRED to Magistrate Judge Tinsley for further disposition. Signed by Judge Thomas E. Johnston on 7/16/2021. (cc: counsel of record; any unrepresented party) (kew)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:20-cv-00583
BOBBY MCCLUNG, et al.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Pending before the Court is the Proposed Findings of Fact and Recommendation
(“PF&R”) submitted by Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley in this matter on May 3, 2021. (ECF
Additionally pending before the Court are Plaintiff Byron Meeks’s (“Plaintiff”)
Complaint, (ECF No. 1), and Objection to the PF&R, (ECF No. 17). For the reasons more fully
explained herein, the Court ADOPTS the PF&R and OVERRULES Plaintiff’s objections.
Because Plaintiff is pro se, this matter is referred to Magistrate Judge Tinsley for further
A detailed recitation of the factual allegations of this action are set forth in the PF&R and
thus need not be repeated here. Briefly, Plaintiff has asserted claims against the Defendants in
their official and individual capacities pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has alleged violations of
the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, as well as
violations of West Virginia state laws. (ECF No. 1 at 2–4, 6.)
Plaintiff filed his complaint, pro se, in this Court on September 8, 2020. (ECF No. 1.)
By Standing Order entered in this action on September 9, the matter was referred to Magistrate
Judge Tinsley for the submission of proposed findings of fact and a recommendation for
(ECF No. 3.)
On October 5, 2020, Defendants Matthew Eichhorn, Bobby
McClung, Derran Winans, 1 and Mike Winters filed their Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 6.)
Plaintiff responded in opposition on November 2, 2020. (ECF No. 14.) Defendants filed their
reply on November 16. (ECF No. 15.)
Magistrate Judge Tinsley submitted his PF&R on May 3, 2021.
(ECF No. 16.)
Magistrate Judge Tinsley recommends denying the Defendants’ motion to dismiss as to Plaintiff’s
Fourth Amendment claims against the Defendants in their individual capacities and otherwise
granting the motion as to all other claims. (See generally id.) Plaintiff timely filed his objections
in this Court on May 12, 2021. (ECF No. 17.)
Pursuant to Rule 72 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court “must determine de
novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 72(b)(3). Pursuant to Rule 72 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court “must
determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected
to.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). The Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other
standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of the
findings or recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140,
150 (1985). Failure to file timely objections constitutes a waiver of de novo review and a party's
Derran Winans is identified as “Darren Wimans” in the Complaint. (ECF No. 1.) Defendants have provided the
correct spelling in their briefing, and thus the Court shall identify him as such. (See ECF No. 6.)
right to appeal this Court's Order. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also Snyder v. Ridenour, 889 F.2d
1363, 1366 (4th Cir. 1989); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 (4th Cir. 1984). In
addition, this Court need not conduct a de novo review when a party “makes general and
conclusory objections that do not direct the Court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed
findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982).rt is not
required to review, under a de novo or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the
magistrate judge as to those portions of the findings or recommendation to which no objections are
addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). Failure to file timely objections constitutes
a waiver of de novo review and a party's right to appeal this Court's Order. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1); see also Snyder v. Ridenour, 889 F.2d 1363, 1366 (4th Cir. 1989); United States v.
Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 (4th Cir. 1984). In addition, this Court need not conduct a de
novo review when a party “makes general and conclusory objections that do not direct the Court to
a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson,
687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982).
While Plaintiff has timely filed his objections to the PF&R, his objections do not address
any of the facts or analysis of the PF&R. Instead, Plaintiff has asserted vague and rather unclear
allegations of an “Abuse of Process” and “Malice” against the Defendants, alleging that they have
“tried to use the proceedings against the Courts and the Plaintiff to try and Harass and Steer the
courts.” (ECF No. 17 at 1–2.) 2 Plaintiff asserts that the Circuit Court of Wood County “went
Presumably, Plaintiff is referring to the Circuit Court of Wood County, West Virginia, where the City of Parkersburg
petitioned the Circuit Court for injunctive relief against Plaintiff for violations of a city ordinance in conjunction with
Plaintiff’s operation of an auto repair business. (See ECF Nos. 15–1; 17 at 6–41.) The Circuit Court granted the
injunction on May 3, 2021, after a hearing in which the Circuit Court received evidence and witness testimony. (ECF
above and beyond the Law Allowing the injunction when it is being placed over a state and local
ordinance that does not even adhere to the Plaintiffs [sic] rights and against the 4th [sic] amendment
in official capacity and individual capacity.”
(Id. at 2.)
Plaintiff apparently believes the
injunction to be a “malicious attempt against the Plaintiff and his business” which is intended to do
“irreparable harm[.]” (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff asks this Court to issue a “Stay against the rulings the
Circuit Court has placed,” and he further indicates that he has “filled [sic] and [sic] appeal with
supreme court [sic].” (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff argues that this “abuse of process” should be “clear”
to this Court, as the PF&R has “already . . . established a violation of the Plaintiffs [sic] 4th [sic]
amendment” rights. 3 (Id. at 4–5.)
Plaintiff has not specifically addressed any portion of the PF&R, even when liberally
construed, with which he disagrees. Therefore, the Court declines to engage in a de novo review
of the factual findings or legal conclusions contained within the PF&R and thus the Court
ADOPTS the PF&R in its entirety.
However, the Court believes it necessary to briefly explain why it will not entertain
Plaintiff’s objections. Plaintiff’s request for a stay in the state circuit court implicates the
Anti-Injunction Act, which establishes the following:
A court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a
State court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary
in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.
No. 17 at 33.)
As a point of clarification for Plaintiff, Magistrate Judge Tinsley has not found or recommended this Court to find
that Plaintiff in fact has established that Defendants violated the Fourth Amendment. Instead, the PF&R
recommends finding that Plaintiff has merely pled sufficient allegations, meaning only that the case may proceed on
that claim. The burden is still on Plaintiff to prove these violations.
28 U.S.C. § 2283. The Anti–Injunction Act constitutes “an absolute prohibition against any
injunction of any state-court proceedings, unless the injunction falls within one of the three
specifically defined exceptions in the Act.” Denny's Inc. v. Cake, 364 F.3d 521, 528–29 (4th
Cir.2004) (quoting Vendo Co. v. Lektro–Vend Corp., 433 U.S. 623, 630 (1977) (plurality
opinion)). As described by the statute above, the only exceptions to this prohibition are where an
injunction is “(1) expressly authorized by statute; (2) necessary to aid the court's jurisdiction; or (3)
required to protect or effectuate the court's judgments.” Id. at 529 (citing Chick Kam Choo v.
Exxon Corp., 486 U.S. 140, 146 (1988); Atl. Coast Line R.R. Co. v. Bhd. of Locomotive
Eng'rs, 398 U.S. 281, 287–88 (1970)). “Courts are not to enlarge these exceptions by loose
statutory construction . . . . Instead, any doubts as to the propriety of a federal injunction against
state court proceedings should be resolved in favor of permitting the state courts to
proceed.” Id. at 530 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). “Moreover, an injunction
against execution or any other proceeding to enforce a state judgment is forbidden as well as one
against the prosecution of state litigation to obtain a judgment.” Jos. L. Muscarelle, Inc. v.
Central Iron Mfg. Co., 328 F.2d 791, 793 (3d Cir. 1964) (citing Hill v. Martin, 296 U.S. 393, 403
Plaintiff has essentially asked the Court to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a
state court order. The Court will not do so. Plaintiff’s objections are therefore OVERRULED.
As more fully explained above, the Court ADOPTS the PF&R, (ECF No. 16), and
OVERRULES Plaintiff’s objections, (ECF No. 17.) The Court DENIES IN PART Defendants’
Motion to Dismiss, (ECF No. 5), as to Plaintiff’s claims for violations of the Fourth Amendment
against the individual Defendants, and GRANTS IN PART the motion, (ECF No. 5), as to the
remaining claims. This matter is hereby REASSIGNED and REFERRED to Magistrate Judge
Tinsley for further disposition.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
The Court DIRECTS the Clerk to send a copy of this Order to counsel of record and any
July 16, 2021
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