United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge
Jaculb Jones (“Jones”) filed this action
asserting claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981,
1983, and 1985, as well as a state law claim for gross
negligence against the remaining defendants in this case; the
State of South Carolina and the County of
Richland. 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. On November 23, 2016,
Defendants State of South Carolina and The County of
Richland (“Defendant” or
“Richland County”), submitted a motion for
summary judgement. (ECF No. 57). Plaintiff responded by
conceding to a dismissal of all federal claims, but opposing
a dismissal of the remaining state law claim for gross
negligence. (ECF No. 59).
Magistrate Judge assigned to this action prepared a Report
and Recommendation (“Report”) and opines that
Jones' federal claims should be dismissed and the
remaining state law claim should be remanded to the Richland
County Court of Common Pleas. (ECF No. 61). Both Defendant and
Plaintiff objected to the report. Defendant objects to the
extent that the Magistrate Judge recommends a remand of the
state law claim and request that this court retain
jurisdiction over the remaining issue. (ECF No. 62).
Plaintiff similarly objects to the Report because “it
would be a waste of time and judicial resource for this
matter to be remanded to State Court.” (ECF No. 66).
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).
review of the record indicates that the remaining claim for
gross negligence can be easily adjudicated by this court,
thereby obviating any need for remand. Accordingly, a brief
recitation of the factual history and relevant law is
matter arises out of the prosecution of Plaintiff for animal
cruelty. According to Jones, he was wrongly arrested for that
offense in 2007, and when other family members provided
exculpatory statements to the SPCA's investigator Steve
Stevenson, Stevenson drafted a letter requesting that
Defendant Richland County withdraw the warrants against
Jones. Allegedly, in July 2007, Stevenson called Jones and
informed him that all charges had been dropped. However, this
was apparently not the case, as Jones was tried in his
absence and convicted in 2009 by Defendant Richland County.
Jones learned of the conviction in 2013 and retained counsel,
ultimately succeeding in having the conviction reversed.
However, charges apparently remained pending and, despite
Jones's providing Stevenson's letter to authorities,
the prosecution against Jones proceeded to another trial in
2014, at which Jones was acquitted. Jones then filed this
action in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas on
February 1, 2016.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is proper when there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). A material fact is one that “might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
law.” Spriggs v. Diamond Auto Glass, 242 F.3d
179, 183 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A dispute of
material fact is “genuine” if sufficient evidence
favoring the non-moving party exists for the trier of fact to
return a verdict for that party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
moving party bears the initial burden of showing the absence
of a genuine dispute of material fact. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323. If the moving party meets that burden and a
properly supported motion is before the court, the burden
shifts to the non-moving party to “set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323. All inferences must be viewed in a light most
favorable to the non-moving party, but he “cannot
create a genuine issue of material fact through mere
speculation or the building of one inference upon
another.” Beale v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214
(4th Cir. 1985).
Richland County asserts several arguments as to why the claim
for gross negligence should be dismissed. Chief among them is
that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the applicable
statute of limitations. Indeed, this court previously
analyzed an identical argument when deciding to dismiss the
same claim for gross negligence as against Defendant SPCA.
(ECF No. 45, 55). Plaintiff ...