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Ryals v. City of Hanahan

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

November 20, 2018

Carly Ryals, Plaintiff,
City of Hanahan, Sgt. Dodd, Sgt. Elwood, Officer Norton, and Officer Altman Defendants.


          Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 37) recommending that the Court grant in part and deny in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 22), and remand the remaining state law claim. Plaintiff filed objections. (Dkt. No. 38.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the R & R, and grants in part and denies in part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and remands the remaining state law claim.

         I. Background

         On May 27, 2014, Julie Welch, who was previously in a relationship with Plaintiff Carly Ryals, called the Hanahan Police Department and requested a no trespass notice. (Dkt. No. 32 at ¶ 9.) Officer Ronnie Scheetz advised Plaintiff over the phone not to contact Welch and that he was being placed on notice. (Dkt. No. 22-9 at 3.) On June 5, 2014, Officer Travis Dodd met with Welch who stated that Plaintiff was still repeatedly contacting her. (Dkt. No. 22-10.) Welch presented a detailed log of contact between herself and Plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 22-11.) On June 17, 2014, the police were again called to Welch's house as Plaintiff was on her property. The police arrived and found Plaintiff on her property refusing to leave. (Dkt. 22-15.) Plaintiff was arrested for trespass after notice, and was served with a summons for the prior unlawful communication. (Dkt. Nos. 22-12; 22-15.) A judge found there was probable cause of unlawful communication to support an arrest warrant. (Dkt. No. 22-14.) Plaintiff was found guilty of unlawful communication and trespass after notice on September 25, 2014. (Dkt. Nos. 22-3; 22-8.)

         On July 15, 2014, a one year restraining order was issued against Plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 22-16.) Police reported to Welch's residence on both August 24, 2014, and August 30, 2014, in response to Plaintiffs presence. (Dkt Nos. 22-17 - 22-20.) A judge found probable cause to issue an arrest warrant for both incidents. (Id.) Plaintiff was found guilty for both violations of the restraining order on December 10, 2014, during a hearing at which he was not present. (Dkt. No. 22-8; 32-14.) Defendants allege that Plaintiff refused transport, Plaintiff alleges that he did not refuse transport and instead Defendants simply did not transport him. (Dkt. No. 32-14; 22-5.)

         Plaintiff brings an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false imprisonment. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 72 - 74.) Plaintiff additionally brings claims under state law for malicious prosecution and abuse of process for failing to transport Plaintiff to the court on December 10, 2014. (Id. at 74 - 75.) On June 15, 2018, Defendants brought a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative a motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff responded. (Dkt. Nos. 22, 32.) The Magistrate Judge recommended dismissing Plaintiffs claims under § 1983 and for malicious prosecution, and remanding the remaining claim to state court. (Dkt. No. 37.) Plaintiff filed objections. (Dkt. No. 38.)

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Summary Judgment[1]

         To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the movant must demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of identifying the portions of the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, any admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The Court will construe all inferences and ambiguities against the movant and in favor of the non-moving party. US. v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962). The existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position is insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). However, an issue of material fact is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the non-movant. Id. at 257.

         "When the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "In the language of the Rule, the nonmoving party must come forward with "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 587. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no 'genuine issue for trial.'" Id. quoting First Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)).

         B. Report and Recommendation

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with this Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 - 71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of any specific objections, "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." See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted). Plaintiff filed objections and therefore the R & R are reviewed de novo.

         III. Discussion

         A. ยง 1983 Claim for ...

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