United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Spartanburg Division
Mr. Ronnie Lee Cash, Plaintiff,
Ronnie D. Horn, Ritchie Strawn, Tony E. Brown, Michael R. Wilhere, John Smoak, Jason Yown, Raymond Gist, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Ronnie Lee Cash, a self-represented state prisoner, filed
this civil rights action against the named defendants
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the
court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil
Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.) for a Report and Recommendation on
the defendants' motion to dismiss or, in the alternative,
for summary judgment. (ECF No. 70.) Pursuant to Roseboro
v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), the court
advised Cash of the summary judgment and dismissal procedures
and the possible consequences if he failed to respond
adequately to the defendants' motion. (ECF No. 72.) Cash
responded in opposition to the defendants' motion. (ECF
No. 81.) Having reviewed the parties' submissions and the
applicable law, the court concludes that the defendants'
motion should be granted.
following facts are either undisputed or are taken in the
light most favorable to Cash, to the extent they find support
in the record. Cash alleges that on September 20, 2003, he
was pulled over for a traffic stop by Defendant Ronnie Horn,
who charged him with driving without a license. Later that
day, Cash was served with a warrant charging him with murder.
Cash alleges that he was never told during the initial
traffic stop that he was a suspect in a homicide
investigation. He also appears to allege that the method in
which the defendants obtained the arrest warrant violated his
rights. Specifically, Cash alleges the defendants did not
secure the crime scene and altered reports to cover-up
misconduct; that Horn lied about charging Cash with homicide
in a report that was introduced at trial; and that Defendant
Smoak took witness statements that were used to obtain a
warrant, but the statements were not signed, and the reports
“disappeared;” and that Defendant Yown allowed
witnesses to change their stories. (See generally
Am. Compl., ECF No. 28.)
court construed Cash's Amended Complaint as raising
claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 of false
arrest/imprisonment and malicious prosecution in violation of
the Fourth Amendment of the United States
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) examines the legal sufficiency of the facts alleged
on the face of the plaintiff's complaint. Edwards v.
City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). To
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “[f]actual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The “complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.' ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A
claim is facially plausible when the factual content allows
the court to reasonably infer that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged. Id. When considering a
motion to dismiss, the court must accept as true all of the
factual allegations contained in the complaint. Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). The court “may
also consider documents attached to the complaint,
see Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c), as well as those attached to
the motion to dismiss, so long as they are integral to the
complaint and authentic.” Philips v. Pitt Cty.
Mem'l Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009)
(citing Blankenship v. Manchin, 471 F.3d 523, 526
n.1 (4th Cir. 2006)).
to Rule 56, summary judgment is appropriate only if the
moving party “shows that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the [moving party] is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A
party may support or refute that a material fact is not
disputed by “citing to particular parts of materials in
the record” or by “showing that the materials
cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine
dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible
evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).
Rule 56 mandates entry of summary judgment “against a
party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's
case.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
deciding whether there is a genuine issue of material fact,
the evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed and
all justifiable inferences must be drawn in favor of the
non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, “[o]nly
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.” Id. at 248.
moving party has the burden of proving that summary judgment
is appropriate. Once the moving party makes this showing,
however, the opposing party may not rest upon mere
allegations or denials, but rather must, by affidavits or
other means permitted by the Rule, set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), (e); Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at
322. Further, while the federal court is charged with
liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se
litigant to allow the development of a potentially
meritorious case, see, e.g., Cruz v.
Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972), the requirement of liberal
construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear
failure in the pleadings to allege facts which set forth a
federal claim, nor can the court assume the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact where none exists. Weller
v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir.
defendants argue that Cash's claims raised pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 are barred by the statute of limitations.
The applicable statute of limitations for a § 1983 claim
arising in South Carolina is three years. See Owens v.
Okure, 488 U.S. 235 (1989); S.C. Code Ann. §
15-3-530(5). A federal cause of action accrues “when
the plaintiff possesses sufficient facts about the harm done
to him that reasonable inquiry will reveal his cause of
action.” Nasim v. Warden, Md. House of Corr.,
64 F.3d 951, 955 (4th Cir. 1995) (en banc); see
also Gould v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human
Servs., 905 F.2d 738, 742 (4th Cir. 1990) (holding that
federal law determines when a claim accrues).