United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. JOHNSTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are two sets of motions. Plaintiff Franklin
Shayne Shamblen's (“Plaintiff) Letter-Form Motion
for Ruling on Case and for Costs (ECF No. 32), Defendant
Chase Fragale's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 33), and
Defendants Keith Butcher, Paul Gordon, Russell Matson, Gary
McDonald, Aaron Simonton, and Ann Thomas's Motion to
Dismiss (ECF No. 35) all turn on issues related to proper
service of process. A second set of Motions to Dismiss from
Defendant Fragale (ECF No. 59) and Defendants Butcher,
Gordon, Matson, McDonald, Simonton, and Thomas (ECF No. 56)
seek dismissal for lack of subj ect matter jurisdiction and
failure to state a claim. By Standing Order entered May 7,
2014, and filed in this case on August 13, 2014, this action
was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Dwane L.
Tinsley for submission of proposed findings and a
recommendation (PF&R). Magistrate Judge Tinsley entered
his PF&R (ECF No. 66) addressing the motions based on
service of process on June 14, 2017, recommending that this
Court deny Plaintiffs Letter-Form Motion for Ruling on Case
and for Costs (ECF No. 32) and the initial Motions to Dismiss
(ECF Nos. 33 and 35). Magistrate Judge Tinsley entered his
PF&R (ECF No. 70) addressing the second set of motions on
July 13, 2017, recommending that this Court grant both
Motions to Dismiss (ECF Nos. 56 and 59) and dismiss this
matter from the docket of the Court.
action stems from a disciplinary procedure instituted against
Plaintiff while he was an inmate at the Parkersburg
Correctional Center. (ECF No. 1 at 3.) According to the
Complaint, on April 29, 2014, Plaintiff was selected for a
random urinalysis screening for drugs and intoxicants. (ECF
No. 1 at 3.) At the time, the West Virginia Division of
Corrections used a two-step system: a sample would be field
tested, and if the results were positive or inconclusive, it
would be sent on for “analytical/confirmation
testing.” (ECF No. 1 at 4.) Plaintiff's sample
tested negative, but Defendant Fragale, who conducted the
test, recorded the results as inconclusive and sent the
sample for the confirmation testing anyway. (ECF No. 1 at
4-5.) Those results also came back negative, but Defendant
Fragale charged Plaintiff with a rule violation for
possession of drugs and intoxicants anyway. (ECF No. 1 at 5.)
Plaintiff alleges that the remaining defendants knew of the
improper infraction report and either affirmed the decision
or failed to remedy it. (ECF No. 1 at 6-7.) The facts of the
case are more fully stated in the July 13, 2017, PF&R
(ECF No. 70).
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 the Petitioner'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). Objections to the first PF&R (ECF
No. 66) in this case were due on July 3, 2017. To date, no
objections have been filed. Objections to the second PF&R
(ECF No. 70) in this case were due on July 31, 2017.
Plaintiff filed timely Objections (ECF No. 71) on July 21,
raises four objections to the July PF&R, addressing
whether his claims were raised against the Defendants in
their individual or official capacities, the application of
the Eleventh Amendment as a bar to his suit, whether the
Complaint sufficiently stated a due process claim, and the
application of qualified immunity.
Individual or Official Capacity Claims
first objection takes issue with the PF&R's
categorization of his claims, with regard to whether he
intended to raise them against the Defendants in their
individual or official capacities. Plaintiff asserts that
“whether the defendant[s] were sued in their individual
or official capacities is obvious.” (ECF No. 71 at 1.)
The Court notes that the PF&R addresses Plaintiff's
claims against the Defendants in their individual and
official capacities. (ECF No. 70 at 9.) Thus, regardless of
Plaintiff s intent and whether such intent was apparent, his
claims have been addressed as he intended, and he has not
been prejudiced by having them construed both ways.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs first objection is overruled.
second objection apparently challenges the PF&R's
finding that, to the extent the Complaint raises claims for
monetary damages against the Defendants in their official
capacities, those claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment
to the United States Constitution's prohibition of suits
against a state by a citizen of that state or another state.
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 169, 105 S.Ct.
3099, 3107, 87 L.Ed.2d 114 (1985). Plaintiffs objection
asserts that he is “a ward of the state/property of the
state in which the defendants are paid employee(s) required
to serve [and] protect not committ [sic] criminal offen[s]es
against.” (ECF No. 71 at 1.) To the extent this can be
interpreted to state an objection to the PF&R, the Court
construes this to be asserting that there is an exception to
Eleventh Amendment immunity for suits brought by prisoners
against state defendants.
United States Supreme Court has specifically held that 42
U.S.C. § 1983 was not intended to abrogate the Eleventh
Amendment Immunity of the states. See Quern v.
Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 344-45 (1979). Nor is there any
specific exception to this immunity for claims by a state
prisoner against state officials; indeed, state
prisoners' claims for monetary damages are commonly
dismissed as barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. See,
e.g., Clark v. Maryland Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr.
Servs., 316 F.App'x 279, 282 (4th Cir. 2009)
(recognizing that defendant prison administrators were immune
to prisoner's suit to the extent it raised claims against
them in their official capacities); Curtis v. Close,
No. 2:14-CV-24624, 2016 WL 889012, at *4 (S.D. W.Va. Feb. 11,
2016), report and recommendation adopted, No.
2:14-CV-24624, 2016 WL 890582 (S.D. W.Va. Mar. 8, 2016);
Gilmore v. Bostic, 659 F.Supp.2d 755, 764 (S.D.
W.Va. 2009). Accordingly, Plaintiff's second objection is