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Martin v. Byars

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

January 16, 2015

ANTHONY FRED MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM BYARS and DONALD LANE, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

THOMAS E. ROGERS, III, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Presently before the court the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment (Documents # 35, 41). Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, he was advised pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.3d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), that a failure to respond to Defendants' motion could result in dismissal of his Complaint. Both parties filed timely responses. All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), DSC. This report and recommendation is entered for review by the district judge.

II. FACTS AND ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff alleges that on December 20, 2011, his cell in the Special Management Unit (hereinafter "SMU") was searched by officers Arrowood, Eich, and Thurber. Plaintiff alleges that while his cell was being searched by Thurber, Arrowood had an erection and was masturbating while fully clothed, and Plaintiff was afraid he would be raped.

Plaintiff alleges that on August 14, 2012, Defendant Lane opened and closed an investigation into Plaintiff's allegations of sexual misconduct in one day. Plaintiff alleges that Lane only questioned Arrowood, Thurber, and another officer, but did not question any of the inmates that were assigned in the same dorm and wing as Plaintiff at the time of the alleged incident. He alleges that the Lane failed to conduct a proper investigation because of "political pressure and racially motivated intentions." Complaint p. 5. He alleges that Lane would have investigated the matter differently if Plaintiff had been a white male or female. Plaintiff alleges that other black inmates had also raised sexual misconduct allegations against Arrowood and Lane failed to include this in his investigation. He alleges that Lane's conduct cause him humiliation, pain and suffering and distress. Plaintiff alleges that he discovered a "relapse of a single fatty cholesterol tumor'" during March of 2013. Plaintiff alleges that Lane's improper investigation violated his equal protection rights and his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Byars, in a separate action, failed to produce documents showing that over 100 allegations of the same behavior existed against Arrowood. Plaintiff alleges that Byars would have produced this information if a white male or female had requested it.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The moving party bears the burden of showing that summary judgment is proper. Summary judgment is proper if there is no genuine dispute of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Summary judgment is proper if the non-moving party fails to establish an essential element of any cause of action upon which the non-moving party has the burden of proof. Celotex, 477 U.S. 317. Once the moving party has brought into question whether there is a genuine dispute for trial on a material element of the non-moving party's claims, the non-moving party bears the burden of coming forward with specific facts which show a genuine dispute for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986). The non-moving party must come forward with enough evidence, beyond a mere scintilla, upon which the fact finder could reasonably find for it. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). The facts and inferences to be drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Shealy v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991). However, the non-moving party may not rely on beliefs, conjecture, speculation, or conclusory allegations to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Barber v. Hosp. Corp. of Am., 977 F.2d 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992). The evidence relied on must meet "the substantive evidentiary standard of proof that would apply at a trial on the merits." Mitchell v. Data General Corp., 12 F.3d 1310, 1316 (4th Cir. 1993).

To show that a genuine dispute of material fact exists, a party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleadings. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. Rather, the party must present evidence supporting his or her position by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A); see also Cray Communications, Inc. v. Novatel Computer Systems, Inc., 33 F.3d 390 (4th Cir. 1994); Orsi v. Kickwood, 999 F.2d 86 (4th Cir. 1993); Local Rules 7.04, 7.05, D.S.C.

IV. DISCUSSION

A. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Generally

Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 "is not itself a source of substantive rights, ' but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.'" Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271, 114 S.Ct. 807, 127 L.Ed.2d 114 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144, n. 3, 99 S.Ct. 2689, 61 L.Ed.2d 433 (1979)). A legal action under § 1983 allows "a party who has been deprived of a federal right under the color of state law to seek relief." City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687, 707, 119 S.Ct. 1624, 143 L.Ed.2d 882 (1999). To be successful on a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must establish two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the ...


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