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Burris v. Ware

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

September 25, 2014

Shawn Justin Burris, Plaintiff,
v.
Det. Ware; Det. Sturkie; Det. Terry; Ptl. Scott Micheal Thomes; Thomas Eugene Bennett; and Sgt. Darin Cobb, Defendants.

ORDER

R. BRYAN HARWELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Shawn Justin Burris ("Plaintiff"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Det. Ware; Det. Sturkie; Det. Terry; Ptl. Scott Micheal Thomes; Thomas Eugene Bennett; and Sgt. Darin Cobb ("Defendants") on March 15, 2014.[1] See Am. Compl., ECF No. 11-1. On November 19, 2013, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. See Defs.' Mot., ECF No. 67. After requesting and receiving several extensions, Plaintiff responded to Defendants' motion on May 14, 2014, see ECF No. 95, and Defendants replied on June 10, 2014, see ECF No. 100. Plaintiff filed a sur-reply on July 7, 2014. See ECF No. 108.

Plaintiff also filed a motion for summary judgment on February 4, 2014. See ECF No. 77. Defendants responded on February 20, 2014, see ECF No. 81, and Plaintiff replied on February 27, 2014, see ECF No. 82. Both motions are now before the Court after the issuance of the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of United States Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges.[2] See R & R, ECF No. 109. In her R & R, the Magistrate Judge recommends the Court deny Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment. See id. at 17.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R 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. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

The right to de novo review may be waived by the failure to file timely objections. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). The Court need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only "general and conclusory objections that do not direct the [C]ourt to a specific error in the [M]agistrate's proposed findings and recommendations." Id. Moreover, in the absence of objections to the R & R, the Court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation. Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). However, in the absence of objections, the Court must "satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.'" Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note).

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party has the burden of proving that summary judgment is appropriate. Once the moving party makes the showing, however, the opposing party must respond to the motion with "specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).

When no genuine issue of any material fact exists, summary judgment is appropriate. Shealy v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991). The facts and inferences to be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. However, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Id. (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986)).

The moving party "bears the initial burden of pointing to the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Temkin v. Frederick Cnty. Comm'rs, 845 F.2d 716, 718 (4th Cir. 1991) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). If the moving party carries this burden, "the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to come forward with fact sufficient to create a triable issue of fact." Id. at 718-19 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48). Moreover, "once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must come forward with some evidence beyond the mere allegations contained in the pleadings to show there is a genuine issue for trial." Baber v. Hosp. Corp. of Am., 977 F.2d 872, 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992). The nonmoving party may not rely on beliefs, conjecture, speculation, of conclusory allegations to defeat a motion for summary judgment. See id.; Doyle v. Sentry, Inc., 877 F.Supp. 1002, 1005 (E.D. Va. 1995). Rather, the nonmoving party is required to submit evidence of specific facts by way of affidavits, depositions, interrogatories, or admissions to demonstrate the existence of a genuine and material factual issue for trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), (e); Baber, 977 F.2d at 875 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324)). The nonmovant's proof must meet "the substantive evidentiary standard of proof that would apply at a trial on the merits." Mitchell v. Data Gen. Corp., 12 F.3d 1310, 1316 (4th Cir. 1993); DeLeon v. St. Joseph Hosp., Inc., 871 F.2d 1229, 1223 n.7 (4th Cir. 1989).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The facts of this case, including citations to the record, were completely and accurately set forth in the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation. See ECF No. 109 at 2-3. Briefly stated, Plaintiff's complaint alleges malicious prosecution, excessive force, false arrest, and defamation arising out of investigations, arrests, and prosecutions that occurred between August 2009 and June 2011. See ECF No. 11-1 at 2-3.

DISCUSSION

I. R & R and Objections

In the R & R, the Magistrate Judge first recommends the Court deny Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. See ECF No. 109 at 4-5. The Magistrate Judge then recommends the Court grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment. See id. at 17. Plaintiff timely filed objections to the R & R, and later filed a document styled "Attachment of Declaration for Plaintiff's Objection to Report and Recommendation Requesting Declaration as Matter for the Record" ("Declaration") See ECF No. 115. In his objections, Plaintiff first asserts that he objects to the R & R in its entirety.[3] See ECF No. 109. Plaintiff then set forth his specific objections to the ...


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