United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY
CAMERON McGOWAN CURRIE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Blanche Scott (“Plaintiff”), brings this action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a Fourth Amendment
claim for malicious prosecution and a claim for
“prosecutorial misconduct” as well as state law
claims for outrage (intentional infliction of emotional
distress), trespass, negligent supervision, breach of
fiduciary duty, promissory estoppel, and abuse of
process. See ECF No. 1-1, Compl. Plaintiff
brought these claims against the City of Camden, the City of
Camden City Council, and individuals John Burns, City Zoning
Administrator; Charles Cushman III, former City Attorney; and
Michael Wright, current City Attorney.
matter is before the court on Defendants' motion for
summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the motion
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges a series of zoning citations
were issued against her in retaliation for a successful
lawsuit she brought against the City of Camden in 1987.
Compl. ¶¶ 8-13. “In the current set of
circumstances, ” Plaintiff attempted to have a yard
sale on her property but was cited as violating several
zoning ordinances, despite allegedly and “on
information and her belief. . . [being] in compliance with
City ordinances allowing her to have up to five (5) personal
items for sale on her property.” Id. at ¶
11-12. Plaintiff alleges she was “targeted and singled
out for ticketing and suits by the city in part in
retaliation for having won a judgment against the city as
aforementioned.” Id. at ¶ 13.
February of 2016, Defendant Burns, the Zoning Administrator,
sent Plaintiff a letter informing her she was in violation of
City of Camden ordinances for personal property too close to
the roadway at each of her homes and for having miscellaneous
items for sale on her property without a permit. ECF No. 17-2
at 28-30. When Plaintiff failed to timely take sufficient
corrective action, she was issued three citations on April
11, 2016 (“2016 citations”). Id. at
32-35. Plaintiff, represented by counsel, was found guilty on
all three citations at a jury trial in Camden Municipal Court
on September 16, 2016. ECF No. 17-6. She was sentenced to pay
a fine of $1, 087.00 or thirty days in jail on each charge,
suspended to a fine of $543.75 on each charge. Id.
at 10. She paid the fines in full. Id.
Plaintiff's convictions were affirmed by the Kershaw
County Court of Common Pleas on October 25, 2017. ECF No.
Complaint alleges malicious prosecution because she was
“singled out for prosecution where others in her
neighborhood have gross violations of ordinances and are not
prosecuted or ticketed.” Compl. at ¶ 17. She
further alleges prosecutorial misconduct in changing dates of
her hearings so that her attorney was unable to attend.
Id. at ¶ 16. Her second cause of action alleges
trespass on the part of City employees and “the
building inspector” who “cited Scott for alleged
violations that could not have otherwise, and without
trespass, been observable from any point other than by
trespassing upon her property.” Id. at ¶
20. In her third cause of action, Plaintiff alleges the City
of Camden and its officers and administrators were negligent
in failing to supervise the building administrator and failed
to prevent, or encouraged, officials or administrators in
harassing or singling out Plaintiff for prosecution.
Id. at ¶ 22. Plaintiff also alleges these
actions and inactions caused intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Id. at ¶¶ 23, 27.
Plaintiff alleges promissory estoppel, in that she relied on
the ordinance allowing her to have a certain number of items
for sale on her property, and she was denied this right while
others were allowed to do so. Id. at ¶ 30.
Plaintiff contends “certain Defendants” breached
a fiduciary duty owed to her as a resident of Camden to be
treated “fairly and justly.” Id. at
¶ 33. Finally, Plaintiff alleges abuse of process in
enforcement of city ordinances by “specifically
targeting and harassing Plaintiff and in denying Plaintiff
representation at hearings and denying Plaintiff enjoyment of
her property by abusing the ability to issue summons and
tickets even though Plaintiff had not violated ordinances as
written.” Id. at ¶ 35.
noted by Defendants, Plaintiff was also prosecuted by the
City of Camden for ordinance violations in 2008. ECF No. 17-1
at 4 n.4. Following her conviction, she sued the City of
Camden, John Burns, and Charles Cushman, along with one other
Defendant not named in the instant suit, alleging
Constitutional violations as a result of her prosecution,
civil conspiracy, and state law claims. See Civil
Action No. 3:08-1599-CMC. Defendants were granted summary
judgment in that case. Id. at ECF No. 60. Plaintiff
conceded Cushman was to be dismissed due to prosecutorial
immunity and that her claim for retaliatory prosecution in
violation of the First Amendment was barred by her conviction
on the citation (citing Hartman v. Moore, 547 U.S.
250 (2006). Id. She also abandoned her claim for
outrage. The court granted summary judgment on the merits
regarding Plaintiff's Sixth Amendment claim that
Defendants violated her right to counsel, her federal
conspiracy claim, and her state law claims. Id.
judgment should 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). It is well established that 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 Properties,
810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). The party moving for
summary judgment has the burden of showing the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact, and the court must view the
evidence before it and the inferences to be drawn therefrom
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655
56(c)(1) provides as follows:
(1) A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . .,
admissions, interrogatory answers or other materials; or
(b) showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce ...