United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge.
plaintiff, David Royal Lee, (“Lee” or
“Plaintiff”) filed this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the defendants for
their role in shooting Plaintiff's dog, “T, ”
and Plaintiff's subsequent arrest. Plaintiff has also
asserted various state law claims. In accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2),
D.S.C., the case was referred to the Magistrate Judge.
Magistrate Judge assigned to this action prepared a
thorough Report and Recommendation (“Report”) and
opines that the defendants are entitled to summary judgment
on Plaintiff's federal constitutional claims and his
remaining state law claims should be remanded to state
court. (ECF No. 31). The Report sets forth, in
detail, the relevant facts and standards of law on this
matter, and this Court incorporates those facts and standards
without a recitation.
was advised of his right to object to the Report, which was
entered on the docket on September 30, 2016. Plaintiff filed
objections to the Report on October 31, 2016, (ECF No. 35),
and Defendants filed a response on December 2, 2016. (ECF No.
38). Thus, this matter is ripe for review.
court is charged with making a de novo determination
of those portions of the Report to which specific objections
are made, and the court may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge,
or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with
instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
However, a district court is only required to conduct a
de novo review of the specific portions of the
Magistrate Judge's Report to which an objection is made.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b);
Carniewski v. W. Virginia Bd. of Prob. & Parole,
974 F.2d 1330 (4th Cir. 1992). In the absence of specific
objections to portions of the Report of the Magistrate, this
Court is not required to give an explanation for adopting the
recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198,
199 (4th Cir. 1983).
Plaintiff makes generalized objections to the dismissal of
both federal constitutional claims discussed within the
Report. Although vague, specific objections are discernable
within Plaintiff's memorandum. However, each objection is
False Arrest and False Imprisonment
Officer Robert Giglio shot Lee's dog, Lee placed the dog
into his car, maneuvered around several law enforcement
vehicles by driving onto his neighbor's yard and sped
off. (ECF No. 31 p. 4). Officer Royce Clack followed behind
Lee and observed him make an illegal U-turn in front of
another car on a busy two-lane road. Id. Lee finally
pulled over after Clack ordered him to do so on his loud
speaker. Id. This pursuit was captured on
Clack's dashboard camera. Id. Clack then
arrested Lee for reckless driving. Id. Lee alleges
that Clack lacked probable cause for this arrest and
therefore violated his constitutional rights by falsely
arresting him. The Magistrate Judge disagreed and concluded
that the record contained sufficient probable cause to
support an arrest.
response to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that
Lee's claim for False Arrest and False Imprisonment be
dismissed, Lee sets forth two discernable objections.
Initially, Plaintiff notes his dissatisfaction that several
“affidavits regarding the driving of the plaintiff were
not discussed in the Report and Recommendation.” (ECF
No. 35 p. 5). However, Plaintiff cites to no authority that
requires the court to utilize every affidavit or supporting
document offered when ruling on a motion for summary
judgment. Additionally, the Magistrate Judge did cite to
multiple affidavits contained in the record as well as
undisputed video footage from Officer Clack's dash cam.
(ECF No. 31). Moreover, the Supreme Court has commented on
the use of undisputed dash cam video footage by stating that
the court should view “the facts in the light depicted
by the videotape.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S.
372, 381 (2007). Therefore, the Magistrate Judge did not err
in choosing not to discuss all affidavits submitted by
Plaintiff, especially when they were clearly contradicted by
video footage. See Id. (“When opposing parties
tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly
contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could
believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the
facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary
additionally argues that “it is debatable that the
officer had probable cause to arrest for reckless driving,
given the facts set forth by the plaintiff.” (ECF No.
35 p. 5). However, the record clearly shows that Officer
Clack had sufficient probable cause to arrest Lee for
reckless driving. “Probable cause to justify an arrest
arises when ‘facts and circumstances within the
officer's knowledge . . . are sufficient to warrant a
prudent person, or one of reasonable caution, in believing,
in the circumstances shown, that the suspect has committed,
is committing, or is about to commit an offense.' ”
Porterfield v. Lott, 156 F.3d 563, 569 (4th Cir.
1998) (quoting Michigan v. DeFillippo, 443 U.S. 31,
37 (1979)). It requires more than bare suspicion, but less
than evidence necessary to convict, Porterfield, 156
F.3d at 569, and the determination of whether probable cause
exists is reviewed under the totality of the circumstances.
See Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238 (1983);
Taylor v. Waters, 81 F.3d 429, 434 (4th Cir. 1996).
Additionally, South Carolina law states that “[a]ny
person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate
either a wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons
or property is guilty of reckless driving.” S.C. Code
clearly indicated by the record (including video footage) and
thoroughly analyzed by the Magistrate Judge, Lee was seen
driving onto his neighbor's private property, speeding
off, and conducting an illegal U-turn in front of an oncoming
car on a busy road. (ECF No. 31 p. 16). These facts clearly
provided Officer Clack with “more than a bare
suspicion” that Lee was driving recklessly in violation
of the South Carolina statute. Therefore, Lee's objection
to the existence of probable cause is without merit.
Fourth Amendment ...