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Jane Doe 202a v. Al Cannon, Sheriff of Charleston County

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

January 9, 2018

Jane Doe 202a, Plaintiff,
v.
Al Cannon, Sheriff of Charleston County, individually and in his official capacity, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge

         I. Background

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("R. & R.") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 115) recommending that the Court grant in part, deny in part, and find moot in part the Charleston County Sheriffs Office Defendants'[1] (the "CCSO Defendants") Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings. (Dkt. No. 103.) Plaintiff filed objections to the R. & R. on November 20, 2017, and the CCSO Defendants filed a reply on December 4, 2017. (Dkt. Nos. 117, 119.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the R. & R. as the order of the Court. The CCSO Defendants' Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings is GRANTED as to Plaintiffs fourth, seventh, and ninth causes of action, DENIED as to Plaintiffs eighth cause of action, and found MOOT as to Plaintiffs twelfth cause of action.

         II. Facts

         The Court adopts the relevant facts as outlined in the R. & R. (Dkt. No. 115 at 1-4.)

         III. Legal Standard

         A. Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with this Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of any specific objections to the Report and Recommendation, "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." See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted).

         B. Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

         A Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is assessed by "applying the same standard ... as motions made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)." Burbach Broad. Co. of Delaware v. Elkins Radio Corp., 278 F.3d 401, 406 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999)). Rule 12(b)(6) permits the dismissal of an action if the complaint fails "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Such a motion tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint and "does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of the claim, or the applicability of defenses. . . . Our inquiry then is limited to whether the allegations constitute 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted). In a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court is obligated to "assume the truth of all facts alleged in the complaint and the existence of any fact that can be proved, consistent with the complaint's allegations." E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). However, while the Court must accept the facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, it "need not accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." Id.

         To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell All Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Although the requirement of plausibility does not impose a probability requirement at this stage, the complaint must show more than a "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A complaint has "facial plausibility" where the pleading "allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.

         IV. Discussion

         The CCSO Defendants have moved for judgment on the pleadings on Plaintiffs fourth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and twelfth causes of action. (Dkt. No. 103.)

         A. Eighth ...


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