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Haynesworth v. Correct Care Recovery Solutions

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

December 20, 2018

Alphonso Haynesworth, Plaintiff,
v.
Correct Care Recovery Solutions; South Carolina Department of Mental Health; SvpTp; C. Kunkle; G. Arnold; M. McDuffie; NFN Anderson; T. Jones; C. Goodwin; NFN Eugeniano; NFN McGriffin; C. Jacome; and Timothy J. Budz, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Alphonso Haynesworth (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brought this action against Correct Care Recovery Solutions, (“Correct Care”), South Carolina Department of Mental Health (“DMH”), SvpTp[1], C. Kunkle; G. Arnold; M. McDuffie; NFN Anderson; T. Jones; C. Goodwin; NFN Eugeniano; NFN McGriffin; C. Jacome; and Timothy J. Budz[2] (collectively “Defendants”) claiming violation of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[3] ECF No. 1-1. Currently before the court are Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (ECF No. 69), DMH's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 90), and the Correct Care Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 91). Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Magistrate Judge entered an order pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising him of the importance of Defendants' summary judgment motions and the need to file an adequate response. ECF No. 93. All three motions have been fully briefed by the parties. See ECF Nos. 89, 92, 95, 97, 98, 103.

         On October 30, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending Defendants' motions for summary judgment be granted and Plaintiff's motion denied. ECF No. 117. The Magistrate Judge advised the parties of the procedures and requirements for filing objections to the Report and the serious consequences if they failed to do so. All parties have filed objections, replies to objections, and two sur-replies. See ECF Nos. 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 128, 129. This matter is ripe for the court's review.

         I. Standard

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objection is made, and the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The court reviews only for clear error in the absence of an objection. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (stating that “in the absence of a timely filed objection, 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.'”) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note).

         II. Discussion

         The Magistrate Judge recommends dismissing Plaintiff's constitutional claims, as his Due Process rights were not violated and he has failed to establish a serious deprivation of basic human need as required to prevail on his cruel and unusual punishment claim. ECF No. 117. The Report also recommends the court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Id. at 12-13.

         Plaintiff asserts several objections to the Report. First, Plaintiff notes he filed this lawsuit in state court, and it was removed to this court by Defendants.[4] ECF No. 120 at 1. Plaintiff explains the removal standard, then argues his Amended Complaint “did clarify that 1st Amendment was really under the South Carolina Constitution as such there is no basis for this court to exercise Jurisdiction as there is no Federal Question Subject Matter Jurisdiction.” Id. at 2-3. Plaintiff also argues a substantive point: he believes the phone system would automatically disconnect when a three-way call was initiated, and therefore he would have been unable to place a three-way call and should not have been punished for doing so. Id. at 3-4. He requests remand to “Richland County Court.” Id. at 4.

         Defendant DMH also objects to the Report, arguing the state law claims should be dismissed instead of remanded to state court. ECF No. 121. It also argues the alleged violation of Due Process should be analyzed under Youngberg v. Romero, 457 U.S. 307 (1982), but should still be dismissed. Id. at 3.

         The Correct Care Defendants replied to Plaintiff's objections, arguing the court has jurisdiction over all of Plaintiff's claims despite Plaintiff's arguments he did not invoke federal jurisdiction. ECF No. 122 at 2. They further argue Plaintiff failed to present evidence Defendants violated his constitutional rights. Id. at 3. In addition, the Correct Care Defendants filed a reply to DMH's objections, agreeing the state law claims should be dismissed instead of remanded. ECF No. 123.

         Defendant DMH also filed a reply to Plaintiff's objections, arguing his objections are baseless because it is clear this court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims. ECF No. 124. In addition, it argues Plaintiff's due process rights were satisfied, as the Report found, regardless of whether Plaintiff was on a three-way call. Id. at 4-5.

         Plaintiff filed a sur-reply to both replies. ECF Nos. 128, 129. Plaintiff argues the Correct Care Defendants did not timely file their objections, so they should not be considered.[5] ECF No. 128. He also discusses Eleventh Amendment Immunity, and requests the matter be remanded to state court. Id. Plaintiff argues Defendants moved for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity, which was substantially similar to grounds raised in previous motions, and so should be denied based on the “law of the case doctrine.” ECF No. 129.

         a. Federal claims

         Plaintiff is a civilly and involuntarily committed patient of the Sexually Violent Predator Treatment Program (“SCPTP”), formerly operated by DMH and currently contracted to ...


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