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
("R. & R.") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No.
34) recommending that the Court grant Defendant Charleston
County's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Dkt. No. 11.) Plaintiff
filed objections to the R. & R. on January 23, 2017, and
Charleston County filed a reply. (Dkt. Nos. 36, 38.) This
Court adopts the R. & R. as the order of the Court and
grants Charleston County's motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No.
through counsel, brought this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and state law. Plaintiff alleges that on March 27, 2014,
she was wrongfully arrested in her home for assaulting a
police officer in violation of a North Charleston City
Ordinance after a warrantless intrusion into her home. (Dkt.
No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges multiple violations of her
constitutional rights related to the warrantless entry and
arrest but does not allege that Defendant Charleston County
infringed on her rights in any way. Rather, Plaintiff alleges
that, under S.C. Code § 16-5-60, Charleston County, as a
political subdivision of the state of South Carolina, is
responsible for the payment of damages for any award she may
receive for the other Defendants' infringement of her
constitutional rights. (Id. ¶¶ 10,
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a "complaint must
be dismissed if it does not allege 'enough facts to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'"
Giarratano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir.
2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). "In reviewing a motion to dismiss an
action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)... [a court] must determine
whether it is plausible that the factual allegations in the
complaint are 'enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.'" Andrew v. Clark,
561 F.3d 261, 266 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555). "In considering a motion to dismiss,
[the court] accept[s] the complainant's well-pleaded
allegations as true and view[s] the complaint in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party." Stansbury
v. McDonald's Corp., 36 F.App'x 98, 98-99 (4th
Cir. 2002) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7
F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)).
claim against Charleston County is based solely on S.C. Code
16-5-60,  a statute enacted in 1871 to hold counties
strictly liable for failing to protect citizens'
political rights and liberties (the "1871
Statute"). Plaintiff and Defendant disagree about
whether the 1871 Statute was impliedly repealed by the South
Carolina Tort Claims Act, SC Code § 15-78-10, et seq
("the Tort Claims Act"). This Court finds that the
1871 Statute was impliedly repealed by the Tort Claims Act
because the two laws are plainly repugnant to each other.
This decision is consistent with the decisions of other South
Carolina courts, as described in the R. & R.
Plaintiffs Objections to the R. & R.
Court reviews de novo any part of the R. & R. to
which there has been proper objection. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2).
Petitioner has objected to the R. & R., arguing that the
1871 Statute and the Tort Claims Act have separate purposes,
scopes, and rationales so are not repugnant to each other but
are capable of "reasonable reconcilement." (Dkt.
No. 36 at 2.) Plaintiff says the purpose of the 1871 Statute
is remedial in nature, so it can be reconciled with the
liability and damage limits for governmental torts set out in
the Tort Claims Act. For the same reasons explained by the
Magistrate (Dkt. No. 34 at 6-7), this Court disagrees. The
Tort Claims Act explicitly states that it provides the
exclusive civil remedy for governmental torts. See
S.C. Code § 15-78-200; Benton v. Roger C. Peace
Hosp., 443 S.E.2d 537, 538 (S.C. 1994). The 1871 Statute
directly contradicts the Tort Claims Act because it provides
a separate civil remedy for governmental torts. Therefore,
the Tort Claims Act impliedly repealed the 1871 Statute.
these reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendant Charleston
County's motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 11.)