Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Singleton v. Brown

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

March 10, 2017

Sterling L. Singleton, #339777, Plaintiff,
v.
Patricia Brown, Lieutenant, Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION

         Plaintiff Sterling L. Singleton (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this instant action (“Complaint”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendant Patricia Brown (“Defendant”) violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights through the use of excessive force. (ECF No. 1 at 6.) Defendant filed an Answer (ECF No. 22) and a Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 66).

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02, the matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant for pre-trial handling. On September 14, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (“Report, ” ECF No. 102) recommending the court grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 66), and dismiss the Complaint (ECF No. 1). This review considers Plaintiff's Objections to the Report and Recommendation (“Objections”) filed December 1, 2016. (ECF No. 110.) For the reasons set forth herein, the court ACCEPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report (ECF No. 102), GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 66), and DISMISSES this case.

         I. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This court concludes, upon its own careful review of the record, that the Magistrate Judge's factual synopsis is accurate and incorporates it by reference. This court will thus focus on the facts pertinent to the analysis of Plaintiff's Objections.

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated at the Lieber Correctional Institution (“Lieber”) of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”). Plaintiff alleges that on July 29, 2013, after returning to his Special Management Unit (“S.M.U.”) cell from a meeting with a prison counselor, his escort officer allowed him to keep on a jumpsuit he was wearing at the time. (ECF No. 1 at 3.)[1] Plaintiff alleges that, shortly after, Defendant approached his cell and asked why he had a jumpsuit, then sprayed him with chemical munitions “without warning.” (Id. at 3-4.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant left him for a brief time, before returning, spraying him again, and having a Force Cell Movement Team (“F.C.M.T.”) remove the jumpsuit from him. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff then asserts that Defendant returned again with an F.C.M.T., “dragged [him] out of the cell naked, ” and strapped him into a restraint chair. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges he was in the restraint chair for over six hours. (Id. at 5.) The Magistrate Judge categorized and addressed Plaitniff's complaints as follows: the use of excessive force in removing him from his cell and spraying him with chemical munitions, placing him in a restraint chair, and failing to decontaminate him after the use of chemical munitions. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages totaling $650, 000.00.

         Plaintiff filed the instant action on July 9, 2015, alleging Eighth Amendment constitutional violations because of Defendant's use of excessive force. (ECF No. 1 at 6.) Defendant, after filing an Answer (ECF No. 22) on October 19, 2015, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on April 26, 2016 (ECF No. 66). After multiple time extensions, Plaintiff filed his Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on July 5, 2016. (ECF No. 91.)

         On September 14, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report, recommending the court grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, and dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. (ECF No. 102 at 46.) In response to the Magistrate Judge's Report, Plaintiff filed his Objections on December 1, 2016.[2] (ECF No. 110.) Defendant filed a response on December 15, 2016. (ECF No. 111.) Plaintiff filed an Affidavit of Facts Giving Judicial Notice, Filing Objections to Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Objections to the Report & Recommendation on December 27, 2016. (ECF No. 113.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge's Report is only a recommendation to this court, and has no presumptive weight-the responsibility to make a final determination remains with this court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objections are made. Id. The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge's recommendation or recommit the matter with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         Objections to a Report and Recommendation must specifically identify portions of the Report and the basis for those objections. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). “[I]n the absence of a timely filed objection, a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must ‘only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.'” Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 316 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note). Failure to timely file specific written objections to a Report will result in a waiver of the right to appeal from an order from the court based upon the Report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985); Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841 (4th Cir. 1985); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91 (4th Cir. 1984). If the plaintiff fails to properly object because the objections lack the requisite specificity, then de novo review by the court is not required.

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the materials in the record show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must weigh all evidence and draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the non-movant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Additionally, pro se filed documents should be “liberally construed, ” held to a less stringent legal standard than those complaints or proceedings drafted by lawyers. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). However, even liberally construed, objections to a Report must specifically identify portions of the Report and the basis for those objections. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2).

         The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of demonstrating to the district court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the movant 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. Rather, the non-moving party must demonstrate that specific, material facts exist which give rise to a genuine issue. See Id. at 324. Under this standard, the existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position is insufficient to withstand the summary judgment motion. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). Likewise, conclusory allegations or denials, without more, are insufficient to preclude the granting of the summary judgment motion. See Ross v. Commc'ns Satellite Corp., 759 F.2d 355, 365 (4th Cir. 1985). “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

         III. DISCUSSION

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) “the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States” and (2) this violation “was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). In his Objections, Plaintiff asserts the Magistrate Judge was prejudiced against him (ECF No. 110 at 1), and that Defendant's actions were retaliatory measures over Plaintiff having a jumpsuit. (Id. at 4-7, 9-12). If Plaintiff's constitutional rights were violated ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.