United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge.
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of the Magistrate Judge, recommending Defendants' motion
for summary judgment be granted as to Plaintiffs federal
cause of action and that the case should then be remanded
back to state court for disposition of Plaintiff s state law
claims. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the
Report and Recommendation.
November 24, 2012, Plaintiff and another individual were
involved in a traffic accident. The responding officer,
Trooper Towns of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, found
neither driver at fault. Plaintiff, for unsubstantiated
reasons, believes Trooper Towns and the other driver knew
each other and that Trooper Towns was unwilling to find the
other driver at fault for that reason. Plaintiff testified
that he went to Troop 6 headquarters of the South Carolina
Highway Patrol multiple times to complain about Trooper
Towns. On February 21, 2013, Plaintiff again went to Troop 6
headquarters to meet with Defendant Captain James C. Filyaw
about the accident. That meeting became confrontational, as
described in detail in the Report and Recommendation (Dkt.
No. 65 at 3-5). Plaintiff alleges that as he was being
escorted from the building, he was shoved or struck in a
represented by Jay S. Masty, filed the present action on
February 12, 2015 in the Berkeley County Court of Common
Pleas. He alleges many state law causes of action, including
assault, battery, negligence, and outrage, and violations of
his rights under the Fourth Amendment. (Dkt. No. 1-1.) On
March 7, 2016, counsel moved to withdraw, and on March 22,
2016, Plaintiff consented to his counsel's withdrawal.
With his consent, he filed 22 pages of confidential
attorney-client communications about litigation strategy,
consisting of lengthy, angry letters from Plaintiff and
highly professional responses from Mr. Masty. (Dkt. No. 19.)
The Court granted a thirty-day stay for Plaintiff to retain
new counsel, and then granted a second thirty-day stay, but,
unsurprisingly, Plaintiff was unable to find new counsel.
moved for summary judgment on November 18, 2016. Plaintiff
responded with a motion for a sixty-day stay to accommodate a
requested FBI investigation, with his 41-page "Brief to
FBI" attached. After the Court denied his motion for a
stay, Plaintiff responded in opposition to the motion for
summary judgment with a 145-page filing. On January 11, 2017,
the Magistrate Judge recommended granting Defendants'
motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiffs federal claim
and remand of the remaining state law claims to state court.
Plaintiff filed objections to the Report and Recommendation
totaling 108 pages with exhibits. Plaintiffs objections focus
on personal attacks on the Magistrate Judge and are not
responsive to the legal issues discussed in the Report and
Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge
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).
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).
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.
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.