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Haggwood v. Magill

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

August 3, 2016

Jerome Antonio Haggwood, Plaintiff,
John Magill, Holly Scaturo, Kimberly Poholochuck, and Warden Stevenson, Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, recommending summary judgment for Defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation in part and declines to adopt it in part, and grants Defendants' motions for summary judgment in part and denies them in part without prejudice.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Jerome Antonio Haggwood is a civil detainee in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health ("SCDMH"). Plaintiff is held in the Sexually Violent Predator Treatment Program ("SVPTP"), which is housed in the Edisto and Congaree units of the Broad River Correctional Institution ("Broad River"). The SCDMH "retains all control, care, and treatment aspects inside the Edisto and Congaree units, including internal guards, routine matinenance, and sanitation. [The South Carolina Department of Corrections] provides outside security, meals, laundry services, and chaplain services." (Defs.' Mem. Supp. Summ. J. 1-2, Feb. 15, 2016, Dkt. No, 28-1.) Defendant Robert Stevenson was the Warden of Broad River; the other Defendants (the "SVPTP Defendants") are SCDMH officials who supervise the SVPTP at Broad River.

         Plaintiff filed the present action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on August 13, 2015, alleging deprivation of his constitutional rights due to his conditions of confinement, deliberate indifference to his medical needs, racial discrimination, and the requirement that he wear a yellow jumpsuit whenever he is transported in public. His conditions of confinement in the SVPTP are allegedly unconstitutional because of corporal punishment, double bunking practices that place him in physical danger, deliberately contaminated food, and mold, mildew, and asbestos in his living areas. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, and compensatory and punitive damages.

         On February 15, 2016, Defendants moved for summary judgment as to all claims. Warden Stevenson filed a separate motion for summary judgment that expressly joined in the SVPTP Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The Magistrate Judge recommended granting Defendants' motions for summary judgment on June 27, 2016. Plaintiff timely mailed his objections to the Report and Recommendation on July 14, 2016.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge

         The 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 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         When a proper objection is made to a particular issue, "a district court is required to consider all arguments directed to that issue, regardless of whether they were raised before the magistrate." United States v. George, 971 F.2d 1113, 1118 (4th Cir. 1992). However, "[t]he district court's decision whether to consider additional evidence is committed to its discretion, and any refusal will be reviewed for abuse." Doe v. Chao, 306 F.3d 170, 183 & n.9 (4th Cir. 2002). "[A]ttempts to introduce new evidence after the magistrate judge has acted are disfavored, " though the district court may allow it "when a party offers sufficient reasons for so doing." Caldwell v. Jackson, 831 F.Supp.2d 911, 914 (M.D. N.C. 2010) (listing cases).

         B. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate if a party "shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In other words, summary judgment should be granted "only when it is clear that there is no dispute concerning either the facts of the controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those facts." Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). "In determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party." HealthSouth Rehab. Hosp. v. Am. Nat'l Red Cross, 101 F.3d 1005, 1008 (4th Cir. 1996). The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

         Once the moving party has made this threshold demonstration, the non-moving party, to survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings. Id. at 324. Rather, the non-moving party must demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that give rise to a genuine issue. Id. Under this standard, "[c]onclusory or speculative allegations do not suffice, nor does a 'mere scintilla of evidence'" in support of the non-moving party's case. Thompson v. Potomac Elec. Power Co., 312 F.3d 645, 649 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Phillips v. CSX Tramp., Inc., 190 F.3d 285, 287 (4th Cir. 1999)).

         III. Discussion

         Involuntarily committed mental patients retain a liberty interest in conditions of reasonable care and safety and in reasonably nonrestrictive confinement conditions. Youngberg v. Romeo,457 U.S. 307, 324 (1982). Due process requires that the conditions and duration of confinement bear some reasonable relation to the purpose for which persons are committed. See Seling v. Young,531 U.S. 250, 265 (2001); Youngberg, 457 U.S. at 324. "A civilly committed individual under the [Sexually Violent Predator Act] most closely resembles the custody status of a pre-trial detainee." Treece v. McGill, Civ. No. 3:08-3909-DCN-JRM, 2010 WL 3781695, at *4 (D.S.C. Sep. 21, 2010). A pretrial detainee's § 1983 claims are evaluated under the Fourteenth Amendment rather than the Eighth Amendment, which is used to evaluate conditions of confinement for those convicted of crimes. See City of Revere v. Mass. Gen. Hosp.,463 U.S. 239, 244 (1983). However, "[t]he due process rights of a pretrial detainee are at least as great as the [E]ighth [A]mendment protections available to the convicted prisoner, " Martin v. Gentile,849 F.2d 863, 870 (4th Cir. 1988), and so conditions that would violate the Eighth Amendment ...

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