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Newkirk v. Enzor

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

March 8, 2017

Catherine B. Newkirk, Plaintiff,
v.
James B. Enzor, individually and as an officer of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the on the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 80), recommending summary judgment for Defendants James Enzor and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety ("SCDPS"). For the reasons set forth below, the Court declines, grants in part and denies in part Mr. Enzor's motion for summary judgment, and denies SCDPS's motion for summary judgment.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Recitation[1]

         This lawsuit arises from a traffic stop on Interstate 95 ("1-95") and an arrest following the stop. (Dkt. No. 1.) On October 14, 2012, Mr. Enzor, then a Lance Corporal with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, stopped a car driven by Plaintiff Catherine Newkirk for speeding in Florence County, South Carolina. Her husband, Plaintiff Jerome Newkirk, was a passenger. Mr. Enzor told Mrs. Newkirk that she had been traveling at 77 miles per hour in a construction work zone where the posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour.[2] After reviewing Mrs. Newkirk's registration and proof of insurance, Mr. Enzor decided to issue a citation for 64 mph in a 55 mph zone. Mrs. Newkirk, however, insisted that she had not been speeding, stating, "I think there is a bit of discrimination going on here." Mr. Enzor then ordered her to exit the car and she did so, going to the rear of the car with Mr. Enzor.

         Mr. Enzor and Mrs. Newkirk then engaged in a somewhat inaudible discussion, during which Mr. Enzor pointed at Mrs. Newkirk and said, "Let me tell you something right now, " and Mrs. Newkirk responded, "No." Mr. Enzor then arrested Mrs. Newkirk. He took her wrist and attempted to pull her arms toward him, then stepped behind her and pressed her against the car, twisting her hands and wrists to pull her hands behind her back. He instructed Mrs. Newkirk to "quit resisting arrest, " and she responded, "I'm not resisting arrest." He then called for backup.

         Struggling to handcuff Mrs. Newkirk (a woman of fifty years of age), Mr. Enzor repeatedly yelled at Mrs. Newkirk, "Get in the car, " referring to his patrol car. Mrs. Newkirk protested, "You're hurting me, " and called out to her husband. Mr. Newkirk exited the car and walked to Mr. Enzor, allegedly telling him that his actions were unnecessary (his statements are inaudible). Still struggling to handcuff Mrs. Newkirk, Mr. Enzor pointed at Mr. Newkirk, and instructed him to "get in the car, sir, get in the car." Mr. Newkirk walked back to the car, and once inside, left the door slightly ajar, keeping his head turned toward Mr. Enzor and Mrs. Newkirk. While Mr. Enzor continued to struggle with Mrs. Newkirk, Mr. Newkirk shouted "ain't no reason for that" and other inaudible statements to Mr. Enzor. Mr. Enzor then told Mr. Newkirk that he too was under arrest. Once Mrs. Newkirk was in the custody of an officer who responded to Mr. Enzor's request for backup, Mr. Enzor arrested Mr. Newkirk. B. Procedural History The Newkirks each filed suit against Mr. Enzor and SCDPS. Mr. Newkirk alleged (1) false arrest in violation of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Mr. Enzor; (2) negligence, gross negligence, or recklessness against SCDPS; (3) outrage against SCDPS; (4) malicious prosecution against SCDPS; (5) false imprisonment against SCDPS; and (6) negligent supervision against SCDPS. Mrs. Newkirk alleged (1) false arrest and excessive force in violation of her constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Mr. Enzor; (2) assault against SCDPS; (3) battery against SCDPS; (4) negligence, gross negligence, or recklessness against SCDPS; (5) outrage against SCDPS; (6) malicious prosecution against SCDPS; (7) false imprisonment against SCDPS; and (8) negligent supervision against SCDPS. (Dkt. No. 1-1; (Dkt. No. 1-1 in 2:13-1635-RMG).) Defendants removed both cases to this Court and moved for summary judgment. (Dkt. Nos. 64 & 65.)

         The Magistrate Judge recommended summary judgment for Defendants on Mrs. Newkirk's claims on April 8, 2015. (Dkt. No. 80.) Mrs. Newkirk abandoned her outrage claim in her response to the summary judgment motion, agreeing that the South Carolina Tort Claims Act ("SCTCA") does not waive immunity for that claim. (Dkt. No. 74 at 25.) The Report and Recommendation addressed Mrs. Newkirk's constitutional allegations against Mr. Enzor and her remaining tort claims against SCDPS. Plaintiff objected to the Report and Recommendation on May 7, 2015, abandoning her negligent supervision claim (Dkt. No. 86 at 3), and Defendant SCDPS replied to Plaintiffs objections on May 26, 2015 (Dkt. No. 88).

         On June 19, 2015, the Court adopted in part and declined to adopt in part the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. (Dkt. No. 89.) The Court granted summary judgment on Mrs. Newkirk's § 1983 claim for unlawful arrest against Mr. Enzor and her claims for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment against SCDPS, but not her § 1983 claim for excessive force or her claims for assault, battery, and negligence/gross negligence/recklessness against SCDPS. (Id. at 19.) After the Court ruled on Defendants' motions for summary judgment, SCDPS moved for reconsideration, arguing the Court misapprehended its immunity argument as an Eleventh Amendment argument rather than a statutory argument based on the SCTCA. (Dkt. No. 96.) The Court granted SCDPS's motion in part to remove the erroneous references to the Eleventh Amendment, but ruled the error did not affect its disposition of SCDPS's immunity claims. (Dkt. No. 100.) Meanwhile, Mr. Enzor then filed an interlocutory appeal of the Court's denial of his claim of qualified immunity. (Dkt. No. 93.) The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed the appeal in an opinion issued on April 13, 2016. (Dkt. No. 102.) On January 27, 2017, Plaintiff moved for reconsideration, arguing the Court erroneously found Mrs. Newkirk had conceded that she had been speeding on October 14, 2012. (Dkt. No. 109 in Civ. No. 2:13-1634-RMG.) The Court granted Plaintiffs motion and issued an amended order removing the erroneous factual statement. (Dkt Nos. 109 & 110.) Finally, on March 3, 2017, Plaintiff moved for clarification of the Court's amended order, seeking clarification that Mr. Enzor is not entitled to summary judgment as to Mrs. Newkirk's § 1983 false arrest claim if she proves that Mr. Enzor had no probable cause to arrest her. (Dkt. No. 155 in Civ. No. 2:13-1634-RMG.) On March 8, 2017, the Court vacated the amended order ruling on Defendants' motions for summary judgment as to Mrs. Newkirk's claims. (Dkt. No. 162 in2;13-1634-RMG.) With this Order, the Court rules on Defendant's motions for summary judgment and on the Report and Recommendation concerning those motions. This Order does not affect Mr. Newkirk's claims in consolidated Civil Case Number 2:15-1634-RMG.

         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).

         C. ...


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