United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Michael E. Hamm, Plaintiff,
Holly Scaturo; NFN Chuma, Mr, Ziggy; NFN Dawson; NFN Pratt; NFN Borum; NFN Sanders; NFN Trapp; NFN Harnett; and NFN Meyers, Defendants.
RICHARD MARK GERGEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter conies before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation (R & R) of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No.
65), recommending that Defendants' motion for summary
judgment be granted. For the reasons stated below, the Court
ADOPTS the R & R as modified, GRANTS Defendants'
motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 58), and DISMISSES this
action with prejudice.
is a civilly committed inmate under the South Carolina
Sexually Violent Predator's Act (SVPA), SC Code Ann.
§ 44-48-10, et. seq. He asserts claims under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and possibly the Omnibus Adult
Protection Act. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he
received inadequate medical care and that the conditions of
his confinement are unconstitutional and violate the ADA and
Rehabilitation Act. The Magistrate Judge recommended granting
summary judgment as to all of Plaintiff s claims. (Dkt. No.
65). Plaintiff has filed objections, (Dkt. No. 70), and
Defendants have filed a reply. (Dkt. No. 71).
Report and Recommendation
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, 270-71
(1976). The Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court is
charged with making a de novo determination of those portions
of the R & R or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made. Diamond v.
Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1));
accord Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).
as to portions of the R & R to which no objection is
made, this Court "must 'only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to
accept the recommendation.'" Diamond v. Colonial
Life & Ace. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P 72 advisory committee note).
Additionally, the Court need not give any explanation for
adopting the R & R in the absence of specific objections
by the parties. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198,
200 (4th Cir. 1983) ("Absent objection, we do not
believe that any explanation need be given for adopting the
judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), Only material facts-those "that
might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
law"-will preclude the entry of summary judgment.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A dispute about a material fact is genuine, "if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the non-moving party." Id. At the
summary judgment stage, the court must "construe the
evidence, and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn
from such evidence, in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party." Dash v. Mayweather, 731 F.3d
303, 310 (4th Cir. 2013). However, "the nonmoving party
must rely on more than conclusory allegations, mere
speculation, the building of one inference upon another, or
the mere existence of a scintilla of evidence."
Id. at 311.
Section 1983 Claims Regarding Medical Treatment
substantive component of the due process clause protects
against only the most egregious, arbitrary governmental
conduct-that is, conduct that can be said to 'shock[ ]
the conscience.'" Patten v. Nichols, 274
F.3d 829, 834 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Cty. of Sacramento
v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 846 (1998)). "[I]t is ...
clear that negligence alone does not amount to a
constitutional violation." Id. In the case of a
civilly committed individual, denial-of-medical-care claims
and inadequate-medical-care claims are governed by the
professional judgment standard articulated by the Supreme
Court in Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307
(1982). Id. at 842. Under
Youngberg, "decisions made by the appropriate
professional are entitled to a presumption of correctness,
" and "liability may be imposed only when the
decision by the professional is such a substantial departure
from accepted professional judgment, practice, or standards
as to demonstrate that the person responsible actually did
not base the decision on such a judgment, " 457 U.S. at
Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff has put
forward no evidence that Defendants substantially departed
from the accepted standards in providing medical care to
Plaintiff. Defendants have submitted expert testimony that
their actions were within the standards of care, and
Plaintiff has only submitted conclusory assertions to the
contrary. Plaintiff lacks the expertise to opine about
whether the care he received was within professional
standards of care, and the alleged inadequacies (e.g., having
to wait 15 minutes on medication and denial of a foam
mattress) are not "so obvious[ly]" a substantial
departure from accepted standards "that even a lay
person would easily recognize" them as such. Cf, Iko
v. Shreve,535 F.3d 225, 241 (4th Cir. 2008) (defining a
"serious medical need" as a "one that has been
diagnosed by a ...