United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
REIDINGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on the Government's
Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 8]; the Magistrate Judge's
Memorandum and Recommendation [Doc. 10] regarding the
disposition of said motion; and the Plaintiff's
Objections to the Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation
January 16, 2019, Paul E. Owen (the “Plaintiff”)
brought this action against the United States of America (the
“Government”), asserting a claim based on
negligence. [Doc. 1 at ¶ 8]. On March 22, 2019, the
Government filed a Motion to Dismiss Complaint Pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [Doc.
8]. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and the Standing
Orders of Designation of this Court, the Honorable William
Carleton Metcalf, United States Magistrate Judge, was
designated to consider the Government's motion to dismiss
and to submit a recommendation for its disposition. On
September 17, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued a Memorandum
and Recommendation, which recommended that the
Government's Motion to Dismiss be granted. [Doc. 10].
October 1, 2019, the Plaintiff filed Objections to
Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation [Doc. 12]. On
October 7, 2019, the Government filed a response to the
Plaintiff's Objections to Memorandum and Recommendation
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Magistrate Act requires a district court to
“make a de novo determination of those
portions of the report or specific proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1). In order “to preserve for appeal an
issue in a magistrate judge's report, a party must object
to the finding or recommendation on that issue with
sufficient specificity so as reasonably to alert the district
court of the true ground for the objection.” United
States v. Midgette, 478 F.3d 616, 622 (4th Cir. 2007).
The Court is not required to review, under a de novo
or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of
the magistrate judge to which no objections have been raised.
Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985).
Additionally, the Court need not conduct a de novo
review where a party makes only “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).
Plaintiff has filed what purports to be objections to the
Magistrate Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation. The
Plaintiff's filing, however, does not identify any
specific error in the Magistrate Judge's proposed
conclusions of law. Rather, the Plaintiff simply restates the
allegations and legal theories asserted in his
Complaint. Such “objections” do not
warrant a de novo review of the Magistrate
Judge's reasoning. Aldrich v. Bock, 327
F.Supp.2d 743, 747 (E.D. Mich. 2004) (“A general
objection, or one that merely restates the arguments
previously presented is not sufficient to alert the court to
alleged errors on the part of the magistrate judge. An
‘objection' that does nothing more than state a
disagreement with a magistrate's suggested resolution, or
simply summarizes what has been presented before, is not an
‘objection' as that term is used in this
the Court will proceed to address the Plaintiff's
arguments. The Plaintiff raises three objections to the
Magistrate Judge's conclusions.
the Plaintiff alleges that “[t]he Plaintiff's claim
does not fall within the scope of 28 U.S.C. §
2680(c)” and “therefore the United States has
waived its sovereign immunity for the Plaintiff's
claim.” [Doc. 12 at 1].
case, the Plaintiff alleges that the Government took
possession of his vehicle and trailer at the time of his
arrest. The Government did not seek forfeiture of this
property, but simply stored it. [Doc. 1 at 3]. The Plaintiff
asserts that the Government's storage of the property was
negligent in that it was removed from storage, damaged, and
abandoned. [Id. at 4].
United States is generally immune from suit, United
States v. Testan, 424 U.S. 392, 399 (1976), unless that
immunity is abrogated via a waiver such as the Federal Tort
Claims Act (“FTCA”). 28 U.S.C. § 1346. The
FTCA, however, does not apply to claims arising from
“the detention of any goods, merchandise or other
property by any officer of customs or excise or any other law
enforcement officer[, ]” unless “the property was
seized for the purpose of forfeiture . . . other than as a
sentence imposed upon conviction of a criminal
offense.” 28 U.S.C. § 2680(c).
Plaintiff argues that the FTCA applies here and waives the
Government's sovereign immunity. [Doc. 12 at 2]. The
Plaintiff's claim, however, is clearly for the negligent
storage of detained property by law enforcement. The United
States is immune from such a claim. Kosak v. U.S.,