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Paul v. Melton

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

November 18, 2014

Mack James Paul, Jr., Plaintiff,
John Melton, Sumter Police Department's Employee and Investigating Officer in his individual and official capacity, Defendant

Mack James Paul, Jr, Plaintiff, Pro se, Sumter, SC.

For John Melton, Sumter Police Dept's Employee and Investigating Officer Individual and Official Capacity, Defendant: Alfred Johnston Cox, LEAD ATTORNEY, Gallivan White and Boyd, Columbia, SC; David Leon Morrison, LEAD ATTORNEY, Morrison Law Firm, Columbia, SC.



Plaintiff Mack James Paul, Jr., a self-represented litigant, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging a violation of his constitutional rights by the defendant. This matter is before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(b)(2) DSC for a Report and Recommendation on the defendant's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 31.) Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Paul was advised of the summary judgment and dismissal procedures and the possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately to the defendant's motion. (ECF No. 32.) Paul filed a response in opposition. (ECF No. 44.) Having carefully considered the parties' submissions and the applicable law, the court concludes that the defendant's motion should be granted.


The following facts are either undisputed or taken in the light most favorable to Paul, to the extent they find support in the record. (See generally Compl., ECF No. 1.) Paul alleges that he and another individual--Harry Dais--were detained by law enforcement officers on October 27, 2010 for shoplifting and attempting to sell stolen goods. Paul was initially charged with shoplifting, as Dais implicated Paul in the theft; however, surveillance video later revealed that Dais was the individual who had stolen the items from the Walmart store, and the shoplifting charge against Paul was dropped. Instead, the following day, a warrant was issued for Paul for Receiving Stolen Goods, which was charged under the Enhancement Statute[1] because of Paul's prior property convictions. Paul was arrested pursuant to the warrant and transported to the Sumter Lee Regional Detention Center. Paul alleges that his charge was " terminated in [his] favor" on January 17, 2013.

Paul raises claims of false arrest/imprisonment and malicious prosecution under the Fourth Amendment against the sole defendant--John Melton--a detective with the Sumter Police Department. Paul also raises a Fourteenth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to his health/safety against Defendant Melton for injuries he sustained while housed at the Sumter Lee Regional Detention Center, as well as state law claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and slander/defamation. Paul seeks monetary damages.


A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate only if the moving party " shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the [moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A party may support or refute that a material fact is not disputed by " citing to particular parts of materials in the record" or by " showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Rule 56 mandates entry of summary judgment " against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

In deciding whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, the evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). However, " [o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Id. at 248.

The moving party has the burden of proving that summary judgment is appropriate. Once the moving party makes this showing, however, the opposing party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials, but rather must, by affidavits or other means permitted by the Rule, set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), (e); Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322. Further, while the federal court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case, see, e.g., Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 92 S.Ct. 1079, 31 L.Ed.2d 263 (1972), the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege ...

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