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White v. Traxler

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

December 10, 2018

Randall White, #5421-004, Plaintiff,
v.
William B. Traxler, Jr.; A. Bradley Parham; Randy Lee Smith; Miramar Police Department; Benjamin Thomas Stepp; Lance Armstrong; Enterprise Car Rental; Courtyard Marriott; Holiday Inn, Inc.; Days Inn; Bell Telephone Company; William M. Catoe, Jr.; Hilton Hotel, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Margaret B. Seymour Senior United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Randall White (“Plaintiff”) is a former inmate of the Bureau of Prisons who is currently housed at Residential Reentry Management (RPM) Miami in Miami, Florida. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, brought the underlying action against Defendants William B. Traxler, Jr. (Former United States District Judge for the District of South Carolina); A. Bradley Parham (Assistant United States Attorney); Randy Lee Smith (Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration); Miramar Police Department; Benjamin Thomas Stepp (Federal Public Defender); Lance Armstrong (Attorney for Plaintiff during appeal); Enterprise Car Rental; Courtyard Marriott; Holiday Inn, Inc.; Days Inn; Bell Telephone Company; William M. Catoe, Jr. (former United States Magistrate Judge); and Hilton Hotel(s). Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 397 (1971) alleging violations of his civil rights. ECF No. 15. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02, D.S.C., this matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McDonald for pretrial handling.

         I. RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On October 1, 1998, after a jury trial, Plaintiff was found guilty of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. No. 2:98-cr-00293, ECF No. 104. On January 31, 1999, Judge William B. Traxler sentenced Plaintiff to 400 months imprisonment. No. 2:98-cr-00293, ECF No. 131. On October 29, 2015, this court ordered that Plaintiff's sentenced be reduced to 292 months pursuant to retroactive amendments to the United States Sentencing Guidelines. No. 2:98-cr-00293, ECF No. 266. Plaintiff brought the instant action on February 28, 2018. ECF No. 1.

         On March 15, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a proper form order, giving Plaintiff until April 5, 2018 to bring his complaint into proper form for service. ECF No. 5. On April 30, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a second proper form order, giving Plaintiff until May 21, 2018 to comply. ECF No. 13. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on May 17, 2018. ECF No. 15. Plaintiff's amended complaint alleges that those associated with his 1998 arrest, conviction, and sentencing and appeal deprived him of his civil rights.[1] ECF No. 15-1 at 5. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that “each of the herein named Defendants knew or should have known that they were violating Plaintiff's Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights.” Id.

         II. MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         The Magistrate Judge filed a Report and Recommendation on June 1, 2018. ECF No. 23. The Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed with prejudice and without issuance and service of process for several reasons. First, the Magistrate Judge found that a Bivens action is subject to no federal statute of limitations. Id. at 5. However, the Magistrate Judge elaborated that the statute of limitations for the analogous state personal injury action would apply; in South Carolina, that statute of limitations would be three years. Id. The Magistrate Judge therefore found that Plaintiff's claim is sixteen years too late. Id.; see S.C. Code Ann. §15-3-530(5). Second, the Magistrate Judge found that, even if Plaintiff's claim was not time barred, Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 478 (1994), would apply. Id. at 6. Specifically, the Magistrate Judge found that pursuant to Heck, a prisoner cannot file a § 1983/ Bivens action if a successful outcome in the action would imply that the prisoner's conviction or sentence is invalid, unless the conviction or sentence has been successfully challenged. Id. The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff has not successfully challenged his conviction or sentence; thus, Heck bars Plaintiff's suit. Id. Pursuant to Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310 (4th Cir. 2005), Plaintiff was advised of his right to file objections to the Report and Recommendation. Id. at 8.

         Plaintiff filed objections to the Report and Recommendation on June 11, 2018. ECF No. 25. Plaintiff contends that the Magistrate Judge made “many EGREGIOUS ERRORS” in his Report and Recommendation. Id. at 1. First, Plaintiff asserts that the Magistrate Judge is “recharacterizing his Constitutional claims by rephrasing the claims and then addressing ONLY part of the claim . . . .” Id. Second, Plaintiff states that the Magistrate Judge used facts “based solely on the Presentence Report, ” and that the present suit will reveal more facts. Id. at 2. Third, Plaintiff contends that the Magistrate Judge's finding that Bivens and § 1983 actions are analogous is incorrect. Id. Plaintiff indicates that the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation is inconsistent;

In the last paragraph on Page 4 of the Magistrate's R&R, it states that the amended complaint should be dismissed because it is clear on its face that it is time barred by the state statute of limitations. Then, on Page 5 of the R&R, the second paragraph begins by stating, "With regard to any §1983 claim, there is no federal statute of limitation.

Id.

         In the alternative, Plaintiff action argues that his claim is not time barred, as he suffers an “'ongoing tort.'” Id.

         Fourth, Plaintiff argues that Heck does not apply in this case, as Plaintiff's suit would not draw into question the validity of his conviction. Id. at 4. Fifth, Plaintiff asserts that the Report and Recommendation “DOES NOT address the claims and FACTS before the Court in the Bivens pleadings.” Id.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Review of the Report ...


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