United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
MARLIN R. BROWN, Plaintiff,
CITY OF GEORGETOWN, RICKI MARTIN, and JACK SCOVILLE, as the Mayor of Georgetown, Defendants.
C. NORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on defendants City of Georgetown
(“the City”), Ricki Martin
(“Martin”), and Jack Scoville’s (“the
Mayor”) (collectively, “defendants”) motion
for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the
court grants defendants’ motion for summary judgment as
to the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim and remands the case to
issue in this case are defendants’ actions with regard
to 312 E Street (“the Property”), a piece of
property plaintiff Marlin R. Brown (“Brown”) owns
in Georgetown, South Carolina. Compl. at 2. Brown’s
grandfather, Charlie Banks (“Banks”), originally
purchased the Property in 1942. Id. ¶ 15. Banks
later died intestate on July 13, 1988, and Clara May Banks
Brown (“Clara”)-Banks’s daughter and
Brown’s mother-inherited the Property as his sole heir.
Id. ¶ 20. Clara then deeded the Property to
Brown on August 21, 1989. Defs.’ Mot., Ex. 4, Brown
prior to 1981, the City had a 48-inch corrugated metal storm
water drainage pipe installed on the back portion of the
Property. Id. at Ex. 2, 1981 Plat. Defendants have
been unable to locate records of when and by whom the pipe
was installed. Id. at Ex. 13, Cook Dep. at 15, ll.
17-22. Brown’s expert, Joe McCray, testified that he
spoke with several property owners in the area, and they
believed the pipe was installed between 1970 and 1975.
Id. at Ex. 10, McCray Dep. at 30, ll. 12-15. In June
1981, Moore, Gardner & Associates, Inc. prepared a survey
or plat for the Property that showed the “existing
48’ storm sewer” and referenced a “proposed
20’ permanent drainage easement.” 1981 Plat. The
plat was filed with the Georgetown County Clerk of Court on
August 25, 1981, and recorded in page 155 of Deed Book 1.
Compl. ¶ 21. On September 2, 1981, the City obtained an
easement on the Property from Clara for the drainage line and
recorded it at page 795 of Deed Book 194 on October 5, 1981.
Defs.’ Mot., Ex. 3, Easement.
1990, Brown applied for and received a building permit to
construct a garage on the rear portion of the Property.
Id. at Ex. 5, 1990 Building Permit. Brown applied
for and received another building permit in 1994 that allowed
him to convert the upstairs of the garage into an apartment.
Id. at Ex. 6, 1994 Building Permit. Thereafter,
Brown began to notice flooding in his yard and contacted the
City in 2012 regarding the ongoing flooding problems.
Pl.’s Resp., Ex. 1, Brown Aff. at 3; Defs.’ Mot.,
Ex. 9, Brown Dep. at 36. The City sent an engineer to the
Property on three or four occasions “to find out how to
get the water out of the yard.” Brown Aff. at 3. On
March 1, 2013, Brown filed a complaint with the City
regarding his garage apartment because it began to crack from
the flooding. Defs.’ Mot., Ex. 8, Brown Dep. at 17.
contacting employees of the City several times, Brown
attended a City Council meeting to discuss his problems on
May 7, 2013. Brown Aff. ¶¶ 21-30. At this meeting,
the City notified Brown of the drainage easement on his
property and informed him that he needed to tear down the
back one-third of his garage and apartment for the City to
replace the pipe. Id.; Pl.’s Resp. at 11.
Brown spoke with Martin, as well as the Mayor, about the
building permits and easement numerous times leading up to
and following the May 7, 2013 City Council meeting. Brown
Aff. ¶¶ 29-41.
filed the instant action in the Court of Common Pleas for
Georgetown County on May 14, 2015, asserting a 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claim against the Mayor and Martin and alleging
inverse condemnation, negligence, and fraud claims against
the City. Compl. 1-2, 7-11. On June 10, 2015, defendants
filed a notice of removal of the action to this court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1441. ECF No. 1.
Following the completion of discovery, defendants filed the
present motion for summary judgment as to all causes of
action on May 9, 2016. ECF No. 19. After receiving multiple
extensions, see ECF Nos. 21, 23, 25, plaintiff filed
his response in opposition to the motion for summary judgment
on June 13, 2016. ECF No. 26. The motion has been fully
briefed and is ripe for the court’s review.
judgment shall be granted “if the movant 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). “Only disputes over facts that
might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law
will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). “[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the dispute
about a material fact is ‘genuine, ’ that is, if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
“[A]t the summary judgment stage the judge’s
function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine
the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 249. The
court should view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party and draw all justifiable inferences in
its favor. Id. at 255.
party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden
of demonstrating to the district court that there is no
genuine issue of material fact.” Major v.
Greenville Hous. Auth., No. 6:12-cv-183, 2012 WL
3000680, at *1 (D.S.C. Apr. 11, 2012). Nevertheless,
“when a properly supported motion for summary judgment
is made, the adverse party ‘must set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.’” Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e)). The plain language of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56(c) “mandates the entry of summary judgment, after
adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party
who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party’s case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). “[C]onclusory allegations or denials,
without more, are insufficient to preclude the granting of
the summary judgment motion.” Major, 2012 WL
2000680, at *1.
argue no genuine issue of material fact exists as to any of
Brown’s claims and, therefore, defendants are entitled
to judgment as a matter of law. Brown, on the other hand,
argues he has submitted sufficient evidence as to each cause
of action to submit this case to a jury.
Section 1983 Claim Against ...