United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Hillery Rosendall, Tocara Smith, Shameka Haynesworth, Mokeia Hammond, Brittany Johnson, Plaintiffs,
Herman Voigt and South Carolina Department of Corrections, Defendants.
C. COGGINS, JR.UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Herman Voigt's
Motion to Dismiss, Partial Motion to Dismiss, and Motion to
Strike. ECF No. 17. Plaintiffs filed a Response in
Opposition, and Voigt filed a Reply. ECF Nos. 32, 34. In
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.), this matter was referred to United
States Magistrate Thomas E. Rogers, III, for pre-trial
proceedings and a Report and Recommendation
(“Report”). On September 11, 2017, the Magistrate
Judge issued a Report recommending that the Motion be granted
in part and denied in part. ECF No. 36. Voigt filed
objections to the Report. ECF No. 38
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a
specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the
Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate
Judge with instructions. See U.S.C. § 636(b).
The Court will review the Report only for clear error in the
absence of an objection. See Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (stating that “in the absence of timely filed
objection, 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.” (citation omitted)).
initial matter, neither Voigt nor Plaintiffs object to the
portion of the Report recommending that Plaintiffs' claim
pursuant to the South Carolina Constitution be dismissed.
Upon review of the record, the applicable law, and the
Report, the Court finds no clear error and agrees with the
Magistrate's recommendation that this claim should be
respect to Voigt's Motion to Strike certain portions of
the Amended Complaint as redundant, immaterial, impertinent,
or scandalous pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(f), the Court overrules the objection and adopts the
reasoning of the Magistrate. Voigt rehashes the same
arguments raised in his Motion and Reply. However, as
explained in the Report, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
has noted that Rule 12(f) motions are generally viewed with
disfavor “because striking a portion of the pleading is
a drastic remedy . . . .” Waste Mgmt. Holdings,
Inc. v. Gilmore, 252 F.3d 316, 347 (4th Cir. 2001)
(internal quotations and citations omitted). Voigt continues
to assert conclusory statements that the language at issue in
the Amended Complaint has no relation to Plaintiffs'
claims without providing support or reasoning. Moreover,
regarding Voigt's concerns that the allegations will
poison the jury pool, the Court agrees with the
Magistrate's conclusion that Voigt fails to state a
compelling argument because the complaint as a matter of
course is not submitted to the jury and the jury pool is
questioned about any prior knowledge of the case prior to
selection and striking. With respect to Voigt's concern
that these allegations are published to the public, Voigt has
failed to point to any authority in support of his assertion
that there is a possibility that these allegations will make
their way to media outlets as a reason to strike portions of
pleadings. Accordingly, Voigt's Motion is denied with
respect to this claim.
also objects to the Report's application of the law
regarding Voigt's entitlement to immunity under the South
Carolina Tort Claims Act (“SCTCA”). Voigt argues
that state law causes of action against a state employee can
only be brought pursuant to the SCTCA; accordingly,
Plaintiffs' request for punitive damages, attorneys'
fees, and costs associated with their intentional tort claims
should be dismissed. The Court disagrees.
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the SCTCA
“is not intended to protect state employees from
liability for intentional torts.” Anthony v.
Ward, 336 Fed.Appx. 311, 317 (4th Cir. 2009).
Accordingly, the SCTCA is not applicable to Plaintffs'
intentional tort claims and does not bar them from seeking
punitive damages, attorneys' fees, and costs. See
Yates v. Ozmint, C/A No. 2:11-cv-02289-CWH, 2015 WL
12910629 (D.S.C. Apr. 23, 2015). While Voigt objects to this
holding, he does not provide any support for his objection.
Accordingly, Voigt's Motion is denied with respect to
the Court adopts and incorporates the Magistrate's
Report. Voigt's Motion to Dismiss, Partial Motion to
Dismiss, and Motion to strike  ...