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Meyer v. Cannon

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

July 5, 2018

Parker Meyer, PLAINTIFF,
v.
Al Cannon, Sheriff of Charleston County, individually and in his official capacity, et al. DEFENDANTS.

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

          MARY GORDEN BAKER UNITED MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The Plaintiff, through counsel, brings this action for violations of her constitutional rights and under state law against Al Cannon, Sheriff of Charleston County, along with several deputy sheriffs.[1] Before the court is the CCSO Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (the “Motion”). (Dkt. No. 106.) The Plaintiff filed her Opposition on October 17, 2017. (Dkt. No. 112.) The CCSO Defendants replied on October 24, 2017. (Dkt. No. 113.) All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), DSC. This court recommends that the CCSO Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 106) be denied as premature under Rule 56(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         The Motion seeks to have the district court grant summary judgment as to all causes of action against the Defendants brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, with the exception of the Plaintiff's claim for injunctive relief. (Dkt. No. 106 at 2.) Specifically, the Defendants seek the dismissal of the following claims (verbatim):

I. Plaintiff's § 1983 deprivation of rights and retaliation claims (5th cause of action asserted against [Charleston County Detention Center (“CCDC”)] deputies Farmer, Dyer, Fickett, Walters, McLauchlan, and Calvert in their individual capacity);
II. Plaintiff's § 1983 supervisory liability claims (6th cause of action asserted against CCDC deputies Dyer, Grant, Mathewes, Durbin, Key, Tice and Beatty in their individual capacity) and failure to train claims (3rd cause of action asserted against Sheriff in his individual capacity); and
III. Plaintiff's § 1983 conspiracy claim (2nd cause of action asserted against Cannon, Farmer, Dyer, Fickett, Walters, McLauchlan, and Calvert in their individual capacity).

(Dkt. No. 106 at 2.)

         Relevant Alleged Facts The Plaintiff alleged that in March of 2014 she was wrongfully arrested in her home for assaulting a police officer in violation of a North Charleston City Ordinance. (Dkt. No. 85 ¶ 20.) The Plaintiff was then booked into the Charleston County Detention Center (“the jail”) under the custody of the Sheriff as a result of her arrest. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 25.) After the Plaintiff was booked into the jail, the arresting officer reduced the charge against her to simple assault, which she alleged was still false. (Id. ¶ 25.) The Plaintiff alleged that the Sheriff's policy and practice at the jail is to retaliate against individuals charged with assaulting a police officer or who ask to speak to a lawyer. (Id. ¶¶ 26, 27, 30.)

         The Plaintiff was kept in the jail for a total of 17 hours and 15 minutes. (Dkt. No. 85 ¶ 32.) During that time, the Plaintiff alleged that many of her constitutional rights were violated by the Defendant jail staff, under the supervision of the Sheriff. The Plaintiff alleged that the jail staff worked in a conspiracy to deny the Plaintiff her constitutional rights. The Plaintiff alleged that she was denied access to a lawyer and was not allowed to contact anyone to inform them she was in jail. (Id. ¶ 34.) She alleged that her constitutional rights were violated when various jail Defendants: (1) improperly demanded to strip search her (Id. ¶ 41); (2) refused to tell her why she was arrested and then told her a false reason (Id. ¶ 50, 52); (3) assaulted her and then hid evidence of the assault (Id. ¶ 59); (4) mischaracterized her conduct following the assault (Id. ¶ 137); (5) falsely claimed she was intoxicated (Id. ¶ 170); (6) placed her in a restraint chair (Id. ¶ 172); (7) sexually degraded her by putting her on display (Id. ¶ 184); (8) improperly tased her (Id. ¶ 189); (9) improperly strip searched her (Id. ¶ 210); and (10) intentionally gave her a man's jail uniform to degrade her (Id. ¶ 212).

         The Plaintiff alleged that “for each year not later than 2008, ” the Sheriff has failed to properly train Defendants Farmer, Dyer, Fickett, Walters, McLauchlan, and Calvert, ” all of whom are his deputies. (Dkt. No. 85 ¶ 317.) The Plaintiff alleged that the Sheriff failed to properly “review[]” Defendants Grant Mathewes, Durbin, Keyes, Tice, and Beatty”, all of whom are his deputies, over the same time period. (Id.) The Plaintiff alleged that the Sheriff failed to train deputies in the following areas:

(a) a detainee's right to make “at least two” telephone calls during intake including a call to her lawyer, (b) a detainee's right to not be battered by a deputy, (c) that a deputy should not agree to delete evidence of another deputy's battery on a detainee, (d) that a deputy should not agree to not report a battery committed by another deputy in his or her presence, (e) that the restraints on Jane Doe did not permit a Taser to be used against her when she posed no danger of escape or serious bodily harm to a deputy, and (f) that a detainee may not be retaliated against based on either the charge against her or for demanding her rights.

(Dkt. No. 85 ¶ 320.)

         The Plaintiff alleged that the Sheriff was grossly negligent for the conduct of his deputies, but not under a theory of respondeat superior. (Dkt. No. 85 ¶ 337.) The Plaintiff alleged a total of “62 separate occurrence[es] of gross negligence by [the Sheriff's] deputies as to [the Plaintiff].” (Id. ¶ 345.) The Plaintiff did not specifically allege any other legal theory that would impute liability to the Sheriff for his subordinates' acts of gross negligence other than respondeat superior.

         The Plaintiff alleged that the Sheriff was liable for the defamatory statements of deputies Dyer, Fickett, and Washington. (Dkt. No. 85 ¶¶ 349-364.) The Plaintiff “presumes that deputies Dyer, Fickett, and Patrice Washington acted in their representative official capacities.” (Id. ¶ 350.) The Plaintiff alleged that the defamatory statements occurred on March 27-28, 2014. (Id. ¶¶ 349-364.) The alleged defamatory statements included statements regarding the Plaintiff's treatment of her mother and her state of intoxication. (Id.) The Plaintiff alleged that her mother was hospitalized at MUSC following the Plaintiff's stay in the jail. (Id. ¶ 358.) The Plaintiff alleged that she “was ...


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