United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division
Naresh C. Arora and Sudha Arora, Plaintiffs,
Captain James; Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg; Denmark Technical College, an agency of State of South Carolina, a governmental entity; Chief Wilbur Wallace; Donald Williams; Joann Boyd-Scotland; Ambrish Lavania, individually at their personal capacity and as agents and employees for Denmark Technical College; Does 1-100, Defendants.
ORDER AND OPINION
Naresh C. Arora brings this action pro se against Defendant
Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg (“RMC”) alleging
a claim for negligence. (ECF No. 65 at 11 ¶ 66-12 ¶
matter is now before the court on RMC's unopposed Motion
for Summary Judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure as to the claim for negligence. (ECF No.
188.) For the reasons set forth below, the court
GRANTS RMC's Motion for Summary
RELEVANT BACKGROUND TO THE PENDING MOTION
Technical College (“DTC”) allegedly employed
Arora as an instructor in the College's Electronics
Technology Program from January 4, 2010 until January 4,
2012. (ECF No. 65 at 2 ¶¶ 3, 4.)
December 31, 2011, Arora was admitted to RMC as a result of
complications from a prior surgical procedure. (Id.
at 4 ¶¶ 22-25.) On January 4, 2012, Arora
communicated to his immediate supervisor, Dr. Ambrish
Lavania, that he was in a private hospital room at RMC. (ECF
No. 124-1 at 1 ¶ 5.) At around 7:30 p.m. on that same
day, Chief Wilbur Wallace and Donald Williams of DTC's
Police Department allegedly entered Arora's hospital room
at RMC “without permission . . . [or] any warrant or
court order.” (Id. ¶ 9; see also
ECF No. 65 at 5 ¶ 28.) Wallace and Williams presented
Arora with an envelope containing a letter (ECF No. 124-1 at
2 ¶¶ 22-27), which document was signed by Joann
Boyd-Scotland on behalf of DTC and notified Arora that his
job at DTC was terminated. (ECF No. 65 at 5 ¶ 28.)
Wallace and Williams also searched Arora's belongings,
demanded that he return his office keys and all
college-related books, and refused to allow him to use the
restroom. (ECF No. 124-1 at 2 ¶¶ 10- 29.) Arora
further alleges that “Captain” Marion James, a
security officer at RMC, observed Wallace and Williams'
conduct while standing outside the hospital room and James
did not take any action to stop Wallace and Williams alleged
“criminal activity.” (ECF No. 65 at 5 ¶ 32.)
on the foregoing events, Arora and his wife, Sudha Arora,
(together “Plaintiffs”) filed a pro se Complaint
on January 2, 2014, alleging violation of the Family and
Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 2601-2654; false imprisonment and deprivation of
their civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and
1988. (ECF No. 1 at 6-13.) On July 30, 2014,
Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Amend their Complaint. (ECF No.
48.) Substantively, in their proposed Amended Complaint,
Plaintiffs sought to add a state-law claim labeled as a claim
for medical malpractice against RMC. (See ECF No.
48-1 at 11 ¶ 66-12 ¶ 73.) On September 19,
2014, Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett entered an Order
partially denying Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend to the
extent it sought to add the new malpractice claim, concluding
that such an amendment would be futile, because the
Magistrate Judge determined under South Carolina law, a
plaintiff asserting a medical malpractice claim is required
to file an affidavit of an expert witness along with the
proposed complaint. (ECF No. 62 at 3 (citing S.C. Code Ann.
§ 15-36-100(B) (2016); Martasin v. Hilton Head
Health Sys. L.P., 613 S.E.2d 795, 799 (S.C. Ct. App.
2005); Jernigan v. King, 440 S.E.2d 379, 381 (S.C.
Ct. App. 1993))); see also Laber v. Harvey, 438 F.3d
404, 426 (4th Cir. 2006) (en banc) (explaining that,
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a), a motion to amend a complaint may
be denied because, inter alia, the amendment would
be futile). The Magistrate Judge granted the Motion to Amend
in all other respects. (See ECF No. 62 at 3- 4.)
Subsequently, on September 23, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their
Amended Complaint alleging violation of the FMLA, deprivation
of civil rights regarding Arora's termination, medical
malpractice,  deprivation of civil rights regarding an
unreasonable search,  deprivation of civil rights in a
conspiracy to interfere with equal protection rights,
intentional infliction of emotional distress,  and false
imprisonment. (ECF No. 65.)
October 6, 2014 filing, Plaintiffs timely objected to the
Magistrate Judge's decision to partially deny their
Motion to Amend as to the medical malpractice claim. (ECF No.
73 at 8- 9.) In a subsequent Order, the court concluded that
Plaintiffs' objections regarding the denial of their
Motion to Amend were too generalized. (See ECF No.
112 at 7.) By a later Text Order, the court clarified that it
expressly overruled Plaintiffs' objection to the
Magistrate Judge's partial denial of their Motion to
Amend as to the medical malpractice claim. (ECF No. 128.)
February 20, 2015, James and RMC filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment asserting that Plaintiffs' claims lacked merit
and that James and RMC were immune from suit pursuant to
qualified immunity. (ECF No. 95.) Plaintiffs filed opposition
to James and RMC's Motion for Summary Judgment on April
17, 2015. (ECF No. 124.) On June 29, 2015, the Magistrate
Judge issued a Report and Recommendation
(“Report”), recommending that the court grant
summary judgment to James and RMC. (ECF No. 142 at 10-16.) On
September 24, 2015, over Plaintiffs' timely objections
(see ECF Nos. 144, 145), the court accepted the
Report and granted summary judgment to James and RMC on the
then pending claims. (ECF No. 149 at 18-22.)
timely appealed the court's ruling to the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on October 16, 2015.
(ECF No. 152.) On appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the
court's decisions to grant summary judgment to James and
RMC on Plaintiffs' claims against them. See Arora v.
James, 689 Fed.Appx. 190 (4th Cir. May 12, 2017) (per
curiam). However, the Fourth Circuit vacated the court's
order overruling Plaintiffs' objections to the Magistrate
Judge's Order denying Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend the
Complaint. See Id. The Fourth Circuit concluded
that, although Plaintiffs labeled the claim they sought to
add as one for medical malpractice, the substance of their
allegations “sound[ed] in ordinary negligence, not
medical malpractice.” Id. at 191. Because the
proposed claim was for ordinary negligence, rather than
medical malpractice, the Fourth Circuit concluded that South
Carolina's requirement that the proposed amended
complaint be accompanied by an expert witness' affidavit
did not apply and that the amendment Plaintiffs sought was
not futile. See Id. (citing Dawkins v. Union
Hosp. Dist., 758 S.E.2d 501, 503-04 (S.C. 2014)).
Accordingly, the Fourth Circuit “vacate[d] the . . .
court['s] order adopting the magistrate judge's
ruling and remand[ed] for further proceedings.”
on April 12, 2018, the court exercised its discretion to
“retain supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs'
state law negligence claim” and announced “a
dispositive motion briefing schedule.” (ECF No. 186 at
3.) On April 25, 2018, RMC filed the instant Motion for
Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 188.)
court has jurisdiction over Arora's state law negligence
claim based on supplemental jurisdiction since it is
“so related to claims in the action within such
original jurisdiction that . . . it form[s] part of the same
case or controversy . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
Even though it granted summary judgment on the federal claim
against RMC, the court has the authority to retain
jurisdiction over the state law negligence claim that was
closely related to the original federal claim. 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). A fact is “material” if proof
of its existence or non-existence would affect the
disposition of the case under the applicable law.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49
(1986). A genuine question of material fact exists where,
after reviewing the record as a whole, the court finds that a