United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. CHAMBERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
are Plaintiff Tammy Sherrell Wilson's objections to the
Proposed Findings and Recommendations
(“PF&R”) regarding the Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings by Defendant West Virginia Division of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (“DCR”) and the
Motion to Dismiss by Defendant Wexford Health Services, Inc.
(“Wexford”). ECF Nos. 78, 79. For the reasons
below, the Court ADOPTS AND INCORPORATES
Magistrate Judge Cheryl A. Eifert's PF&R. ECF No. 78.
Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES the United
States with prejudice; GRANTS DCR's
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, ECF No. 27;
DISMISSES DCR with prejudice; and
DENIES Wexford's Motion to Dismiss, ECF
proceeding pro se, filed her Complaint on May 3, 2018. ECF
No. 3. DCR filed its Answer on September 7, 2018, and a
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on October 15, 2018. ECF
Nos. 19, 27. Wexford filed a Motion to Dismiss on December
19, 2018. ECF No. 36. After considering the two motions,
Magistrate Judge Eifert filed her PF&R on August 1, 2019.
ECF No. 78. She recommends the Court dismiss the United
States with prejudice, grant DCR's Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings, dismiss DCR with prejudice, deny Wexford's
Motion to Dismiss, and allow Plaintiff to continue discovery
on her claims against Wexford. ECF No. 78. Plaintiff filed
objections to the PF&R, and DCR submitted a response to
Plaintiff's objections. ECF Nos. 79, 82. Wexford filed no
reviewing the PF&R, the Court must “make a de novo
determination of those portions of the . . . [Magistrate
Judge's] proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In
doing so, the Court can “accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” Id. The Court, however, is
not required to review the factual or legal conclusions of
the magistrate judge to which no party objects. Thomas v.
Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). Courts will uphold those
portions of a recommendation to which no party objects unless
they are “clearly erroneous.” See Diamond v.
Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005).
party acts pro se, the Court must liberally construe the
party's pleadings and objections. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). However, failure to
raise specific errors waives the right to de novo review
because “general and conclusory” objections do
not warrant such review. McPherson v. Astrue, 605
F.Supp.2d 744, 749 (S.D. W.Va. 2009) (citing Orpiano
v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982)).
Incoherent objections and those which largely reiterate the
same facts and legal arguments raised before the magistrate
judge are similarly not entitled to review. Reynolds v.
Saad, No. 1:17-124, 2018 WL 3374155, at *2 (N.D. W.Va.
July 11, 2018), aff'd, 738 Fed.Appx. 216 (4th
DCR's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
of Plaintiff's objections do not actually contest
Magistrate Judge Eifert's application of the law in the
PF&R. Instead, Plaintiff raises broader concerns about
DCR officials' abuse of power, the severity of
Plaintiff's allegations, the need for accountability, and
the welfare of incarcerated women at the Lakin Correctional
Center. These concerns go to the merits of Plaintiff's
case, but they are not related to the specific issue at hand
in DCR's motion-whether the Court can maintain DCR as a
party in this action.
objections that are immunity-related seem to result from a
misunderstanding of how sovereign immunity operates and what
the consequences of DCR's sovereign immunity are. As
Magistrate Judge Eifert discusses in depth, sovereign
immunity under the Eleventh Amendment bars suits against
states and their agencies but does not preclude suits against
certain state officers responsible for challenged state
action. ECF No. 78, at 13-17. Sovereign immunity, therefore,
does not bar Plaintiff from naming responsible individuals as
defendants in this action. Indeed, since the filing of the
PF&R at issue, Plaintiff has joined seven individuals as
additional parties. ECF Nos. 68, 83. The joining of five more
individuals as parties awaits decision by this Court. ECF No.
the Court finds Plaintiff failed to raise any valid
objections to dismissing DCR in this action. As detailed in
the PF&R, state sovereign immunity and the
inapplicability of Section 1983 actions to state agencies are
well-established in the law and require the dismissal of DCR
here. ECF No. 78, at 13-19. The Court
OVERRULES any objections by Plaintiff to the
Wexford's Motion to Dismiss
party objected to Magistrate Judge Eifert's findings and
recommendations regarding Wexford's Motion to Dismiss.
Therefore, the Court accepts and ...