0:13-cv-00210-JFA Date Filed 07/30/13 Entry Number 25 Page 1 of 3
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Jesse M. James,
Lancaster Sheriff’s Department; Barry Faile;
Lancaster Newspaper Owner; and Chief Editor, )
C/A No.: 0:13-210-JFA-SVH
The pro se plaintiff, Jesse M. James, brings this civil action in forma pauperis and
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his constitutional rights. He contends
that the defendants published a newspaper article which stated that he was a burglar,
when he asserts that he was found guilty only of receiving stolen goods. He seeks
$100,000,000 in actual damages and $10,000,000 in punitive damages. The defendant is
presently incarcerated at the Kirkland Correctional Institution of the South Carolina
Department of Corrections.
The Magistrate Judge assigned to this action has prepared a Report and
Recommendation and opines that this action should be summarily dismissed. The Report
sets forth in detail the relevant facts and standards of law on this matter, and the court
incorporates such without a recitation.
The Magistrate Judge’s review is made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02. The
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The 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 of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific
objection is 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. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
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The plaintiff was advised of his right to file objections to the Report and
Recommendation and he has timely done so.
The Magistrate Judge suggests, and this court agrees, that defendant Lancaster
Sheriff’s Department should be dismissed because it is not a proper party defendant in
this § 1983 action. Specifically, the Lancaster Sheriff’s Department is not a “person”
amenable to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
With regard to defendant Sheriff Faile, the Magistrate Judge correctly opines that
the plaintiff has failed to allege that Sheriff Faile violated any particular constitutional
right. To the extent that the plaintiff claims Sheriff Faile defamed him, there is no right to
relief for a claim of defamation by a state actor under § 1983 or the Fourteenth
The Magistrate Judge next suggests that the newspaper defendants should be
dismissed because purely private conduct, such as that alleged against the newspaper
defendants, is not actionable under § 1983. Moreover, the plaintiff has failed to allege a
nexus between the newspaper defendants and law enforcement defendants which might
support a claim of action.
Finally, the Magistrate Judge properly notes that this court lacks diversity
jurisdiction over plaintiff’s defamation claims, to the extent such claims are asserted.
The court has conducted a de novo review of the plaintiff’s objections to the
Report and has reviewed the plaintiff’s attachments to the objections which include
copies of the newspaper articles referred to in the plaintiff’s complaint. However, this
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court is without jurisdiction to entertain these claims for the reasons set out in this order
and in the Magistrate Judge’s Report. Therefore, the objections are overruled.
After carefully reviewing the applicable laws, the record in this case, the Report
and Recommendation, and the plaintiff’s objections thereto, this court finds the
Magistrate Judge’s recommendation fairly and accurately summarizes the facts and
applies the correct principles of law. The Report is incorporated herein by reference.
Accordingly, this action is dismissed without prejudice and without issuance and
service of process.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
July 30, 2013
Columbia, South Carolina
Joseph F. Anderson, Jr.
United States District Judge