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.

Gary M. v. City of North Charleston

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

September 25, 2017

Gary M. and Garyonna M., minors, by and through their next friends, April Zealous and Gary McDaniel, and April Zealous and Gary McDaniel, Plaintiffs,
v.
City of North Charleston, Officer Bradley Woods, Captain Scott Perry, Sergeant Charity Prosser, Deputy Chief Coyle Kinard, Detective Karen MacDonald, Lieutenant Wade Humphries, Lieutenant Bowman, Sergeant Rob Kruger, Sergeant Skip Allen, MPO Winston Williams, PFC Clarence Habersham, PFC Christopher Gorman, PFC Charles Champion, PCC Justin Fogle, PFC Jeremy Stevens, and PFC Joshua Quick, Defendants.

          ORDER

          DAVID C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on United States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker's report and recommendation ("R&R"), ECF No. 32, that the court grant in part and deny in part defendants' motion for partial summary judgment, ECF No. 25. For the reasons set forth below, the court adopts in part and rejects in part the R&R and grants in part and denies in part defendants' motion for partial summary judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs Gary M. and Garyonna M., minors, by and through their next friends, April Zealous and Gary McDaniel, (the "children"), Gary McDaniel ("McDaniel"), and April Zealous ("Zealous")[1] (collectively, "plaintiffs") bring this action against the above-captioned defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the alleged excessive or unnecessary destruction of property in the course of a search as secured by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and a state law claim for negligence and gross negligence solely against the City of North Charleston. This matter is before the court on defendants' motion for partial summary judgment. Specifically, defendants move for partial summary judgment on the following grounds: (1) defendants deny any constitutional violation and assert that they are entitled to summary judgment on the federal cause of action; (2) individual defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the state law claim for negligence/gross negligence; and (3) defendants are entitled to summary judgment for all claims asserted on behalf of the children. Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. 2.

         A. Factual Allegations

         The R&R ably recites the relevant facts, and it is unnecessary to review the details of the complaint, incident report, and depositions that constitute the factual record to this point. In short, on April 3, 2013, defendant Officer Bradley Woods ("Woods") conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle, which led to a chase that ended with the driver crashing his car and fleeing on foot. Incident Report, ECF No. 25-2. Defendant Sergeant Charity Prosser ("Prosser"), who was Woods's supervisor, obtained information from the driver's vehicle that it belonged to Jason Drayton (the "suspect") with the address of 1801 English Street, Apartment 5. Id.

         A K-9 unit tracked the suspect to 1801 English Street, Apartment 5. Id. In addition to receiving consent from the occupant of Apartment 5, a warrant was obtained to search it. Johnson Dep. 30:6-8, ECF No. 25-11. Thereafter, an officer went to Apartment 6, which was occupied by Zealous, McDaniel, and four children, and received confirmation that Apartment 6 shared a common attic space with Apartment 5. Zealous Dep. 27:24-28:1, 76:16-19. In response to Lieutenant Tammy Lynn Sad's ("Sad") request to search plaintiffs' attic, Zealous and McDaniel consented. Id. at 2S:2-A, 31:5-11; Sad Dep. 14:6-13, ECF No. 25-7.

         At approximately 2:00 a.m., defendant Captain Scott Perry ("Perry"), the Commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team ("SWAT"), received a call from dispatch that they needed to come to the English Street address. Perry Dep. 11:10-20, ECF No. 25-9. The SWAT team of eleven officers-defendants Lieutenant Wade Humphries ("Humphries"), Lieutenant Bowman ("Bowman"), Sergeant Rob Kruger ("Kruger"), Sergeant Skip Allen ("Allen"), MPO Winston Williams ("Williams"), PFC Clarence Habersham ("Habersham"), PFC Christopher Gorman ("Gorman"), PFC Charles Champion ("Champion"), PCC Justin Fogle ("Fogle"), PFC Jeremy Stevens ("Stevens"), and PFC Joshua Quick ("Quick") (collectively, the "SWAT team")-arrived at the scene. Id. at 12:9-19, 13:4-8. Before they entered the apartments or conducted the search, Zealous, McDaniel, and the four children moved from Apartment 6 to another apartment downstairs. Zealous Dep. 33:21-25; McDaniel Dep. 31:11-13. Thereafter, the SWAT team entered Apartments 5 and 6, some entering Apartment 5 and others entering Apartment 6. Perry Dep. 47:12-17.

         After the SWAT team completed its sweep and search of the apartments, they cleared the scene. Perry Dep. 34:1-20. At this time, plaintiffs returned to their apartment, claiming that it had been "ransacked and a multitude of personal property items were unnecessarily destroyed and/or damaged."[2] Am. Compl. ¶ 11, ECF No. 1-1. Sad and defendant Deputy Chief Coyle Kinard ("Kinard") observed the condition of the apartment and were upset. Thereafter, Kinard told Perry to prepare a search warrant for Apartment 6, so that plaintiffs would have some type of documentation that the officers had been there. Kinard Dep. 18:2-11, 23:8-13, ECF No. 25-10; Perry Dep. 21:1-2.

         B. Procedural History

         The magistrate judge's R&R recommends the following disposition of defendants' motion for partial summary judgment: (1) grant as to Perry, Humphries, Bowman, Allen, Williams, Gorman, Champion, Fogle, Stevens, Quick, Woods, Prosser, MacDonald, Kinard, and the City of North Charleston with respect to the § 1983 claim; (2) deny as to defendants Kruger and Habersham;[3] and deny as to the state law claims brought against the individual defendants as no such claims are alleged. Both parties filed timely objections to the R&R, ECF Nos. 33 and 34, to which both parties filed responses thereto, ECF Nos. 35 and 36. The matter is now ripe for the court's review.

         II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         This court is charged with conducting a de novo review of any portion of the R&R to which specific, written objections are made, and "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, " the recommendations contained therein. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The magistrate judge's recommendation does not carry presumptive weight, and it is the responsibility of this court to make a final determination. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). A party's failure to object may be treated as agreement with the conclusions of the magistrate judge. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985).

         Summary judgment shall be granted "if the movant shows 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). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.. 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a material fact is 'genuine, ' that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. "[A]t the summary judgment stage the judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Id ...


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.