United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Spartanburg Division
ORDER AND REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
F. McDonald United States Magistrate Judge
plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, brings a civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 seeking monetary damages. Pursuant to the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil
Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d)(D.S.C.), this magistrate judge is
authorized to review all pretrial matters in cases filed
under Section 1983 and submit findings and recommendations to
the district court.
defendants moved for summary judgment on August 29, 2018
(doc. 45). By order pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), the plaintiff
was advised of the motion for summary judgment procedure and
the possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately
to the defendants' motion (doc. 46). After the grant of
an extension, the plaintiff filed a response in opposition on
September 24th (doc. 48). On that same date, the
plaintiff filed his own motion for summary judgment (doc.
51), along with a motion to compel certain discovery (doc.
50). The defendants thereafter filed a reply (doc. 59) to the
plaintiff's response in opposition to their motion for
summary judgment. On October 9th, the defendants
filed a motion for a protective order staying all discovery
until ruling on their summary judgment motion (doc. 60).
plaintiff alleges that he was unlawfully arrested by Officer
Mathis, formerly of the Spartanburg City Police
Department. He states that on February 15, 2016, he
learned that a warrant had been issued for his arrest, and he
turned himself in at the Spartanburg County Detention Center.
He claims that Officer Mathis “erroneously applied for
the facially deficient warrants when the so-called
informant/C.I. can't be presumed to be reliable, when the
officers themselves can't even keep in contact with him
for trail purposes” (doc. 1 at 7). He names Officers
Reece, Guthro, and Nowak as Officer Mathis' supervisors
(doc. 17), alleging that they were “derelict in [their]
duty” to properly train or monitor Officer Mathis (doc.
1 at 7). He alleges that Officer Mathis and his supervisors
failed to follow proper procedure, stating that this
“Title 3" investigation was unauthorized with no
“547 forms” and that the “missing
links” in his “chain of custody” amount to
a “Rule 6 violation” (id.).
Mathis denies the allegations and provides his affidavit
along with copies of the incident report, warrant, and
indictment (docs. 45-2 through 45-6). These documents reflect
that Officer Mathis used a confidential informant to make an
undercover purchase of crack cocaine from the plaintiff on
June 1, 2015. The transaction was captured on video, and a
still picture purportedly of the plaintiff from the video is
provided (doc. 45-3). A warrant was issued against the
plaintiff on August 4, 2015, and the Spartanburg County Grand
Jury issued an indictment for distribution of crack cocaine
against him on August 19, 2016 (docs. 45-5, 45-6). The
indictment also contains a handwritten notation from the
prosecutor dated November 14, 2016: “Nolle Pros.
Unavailable witness. Investigator is no longer in contact
with informant” (doc. 45-6 at 1).
plaintiff's response to the defendants' motion for
summary judgment, as well as in support of his own motion for
summary judgment, the plaintiff renews his allegation that
his arrest was made without probable cause. He argues that he
was not the original drug dealer target of the investigation,
the confidential informant did not follow instructions, and
the handling of the drug evidence was suspect (docs. 48, 51).
LAW AND ANALYSIS
plaintiff has filed a motion to compel the defendants to
provide certain discovery (doc. 50). This motion follows the
plaintiff's earlier motion for discovery, which was
denied by order dated July 20th (docs. 39, 40). In
that order, the plaintiff was directed to the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, which require the parties to engage in
discovery with each other and without interaction from the
court unless necessary. The plaintiff has again failed to
comply with the discovery rules, as he has failed to serve
his discovery requests now at issue on counsel for the
defendants. Moreover, as argued by the defendants, he has
failed to comply with Local Civil Rule 37.01(B) (D.S.C.),
Motions to Compel Discovery, which requires that
“[t]he relevant discovery requests and responses, if
any, shall be filed [with a motion to compel] as supporting
documentation.” See Cuyler v. Dep't of
Army, C.A. No. 3:08-3261-CMC-JRM, 2009 WL 1749604, at *2
(D.S.C. June 22, 2009) (denying motion to compel where the
plaintiff did not file the required supporting
documentation). Accordingly, the plaintiff's motion to
compel is denied.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 states, as to a party who
has moved for summary judgment: “The court shall grant
summary judgment 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). As to
the first of these determinations, a fact is deemed
“material” if proof of its existence or
nonexistence would affect the disposition of the case under
the applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). An issue of material fact is
“genuine” if the evidence offered is such that a
reasonable jury might return a verdict for the non-movant.
Id. at 257. In determining whether a genuine issue
has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and
ambiguities against the movant and in favor of the non-moving
party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654,
party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden
of demonstrating to the district court that there is no
genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). Once the movant has
made this threshold demonstration, the non-moving party, to
survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the
allegations averred in his pleadings; rather, he must
demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that give
rise to a genuine issue. Id. at 324. Under this
standard, the existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in
support of the plaintiff's position is insufficient to
withstand the summary judgment motion. Anderson, 477
U.S. at 252. Likewise, conclusory allegations or denials,
without more, are insufficient to preclude the granting of
the summary judgment motion. Id. at 248. “Only