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Washington v. Butler

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

January 25, 2019

FRANK J. WASHINGTON, #115204, a/k/a FRANK JERMAINE WASHINGTON, #82625, Plaintiff,
v.
DETECTIVE JENNIFER BUTLER and AL CANNON, SHERIFF, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Thomas E. Rogers, III United States Magistrate Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This action arises from an arrest warrant issued for Plaintiff on charges of carjacking. Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging false arrest.[1] He also alleges state law claims of defamation and slander. Defendant Al Cannon has been dismissed from this action, see Order (ECF No. 24) and the only remaining claims are those pending against Defendant Detective Jennifer Butler. Presently before the court is Detective Butler's Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative, for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 39). Because he is proceeding pro se, Plaintiff was advised pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.3d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), that a failure to respond to the moving Defendant's motion could result in dismissal of his case. After two motions for extension of time, Plaintiff filed a Response (ECF No. 47). 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.

         II. FACTS[2]

         Plaintiff alleges in his verified complaint that Detective Butler signed an arrest warrant against him for a September 9, 2017, carjacking, which was untrue because he was in jail from July 4, 2017, through October 24, 2017. Public court records reveal that Plaintiff was arrested on or about July 4, 2017, for a violation of a term or condition of electronic monitoring and remained detained until about October 24, 2017, at the Al Cannon Detention Center (ACDC) in Charleston County.[3] Plaintiff was again arrested on a series of charges on or about January 19, 2018, and remains detained at the ACDC while those charges are pending.[4]

         On January 22, 2018, after viewing a news report of Plaintiff's arrest, an individual contacted the North Charleston Police Department and stated her belief that Plaintiff was the perpetrator of a carjacking that occurred a few months prior. On September 9, 2017, the individual, a female Lyft driver, was accosted by a man who jumped into her automobile after her last fare left her car. Warrant dated Jan. 25, 2018 (Ex. 1 to Def. Motion). The man ordered the female Lyft driver to drive away before threatening her with a knife. Id. The Lyft driver was able to escape her vehicle, which the assailant then drove away. Id. The Lyft driver went to a friend's house and called the police. Id.

         On January 25, 2018, after the Lyft driver contacted the North Charleston Police Department, she viewed a six-subject photo lineup of possible suspects and positively identified Plaintiff as the perpetrator of the carjacking. Id. Later that day, Detective Butler obtained an arrest warrant based upon the Lyft driver's interview and identification of Plaintiff from Magistrate Judge Samuel M. Coleman and served it upon Plaintiff who, as stated above, was being held at the ACDC on other charges. Id.

         At Plaintiff's bond hearing, ACDC employees advised Detective Butler that Plaintiff had been detained at the time of the crime, and the Magistrate gave Plaintiff a personal recognizance bond for the carjacking claim though at least two of the other charges against him each required a $200, 000 surety bond.[5] Detective Buttler confirmed that Plaintiff had been incarcerated at the time of the carjacking and notified the solicitor's office, who dismissed the warrant on January 29, 2018. Warrant Status Change Form (Ex. to Pl. Resp.).

         As stated above, Plaintiff alleges claims of malicious prosecution, defamation, and slander. He seeks relief in the form of the dismissal of all of his criminal charges currently pending in South Carolina state court, twenty million dollars, and to be released from the detention facility in which he currently resides.

         IV. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, the moving party bears the burden of showing that summary judgment is proper. Summary judgment is proper if there is no genuine dispute of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Summary judgment is proper if the non-moving party fails to establish an essential element of any cause of action upon which the non-moving party has the burden of proof. Id. Once the moving party has brought into question whether there is a genuine dispute for trial on a material element of the non-moving party's claims, the non-moving party bears the burden of coming forward with specific facts which show a genuine dispute for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986). The non-moving party must come forward with enough evidence, beyond a mere scintilla, upon which the fact finder could reasonably find for it. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). The facts and inferences to be drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Shealy v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991). However, the non-moving party may not rely on beliefs, conjecture, speculation, or conclusory allegations to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Barber v. Hosp. Corp. of Am., 977 F.2d 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992). The evidence relied on must meet “the substantive evidentiary standard of proof that would apply at a trial on the merits.” Mitchell v. Data General Corp., 12 F.3d 1310, 1316 (4thCir. 1993).

         To show that a genuine dispute of material fact exists, a party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleadings. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. Rather, the party must present evidence supporting his or her position by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A); see also Cray Communications, Inc. v. Novatel Computer Systems, Inc., 33 F.3d 390 (4th Cir. 1994); Orsi v. Kickwood, 999 F.2d 86 (4th Cir. 1993); Local Rules 7.04, 7.05, D.S.C.

         V. DISCUSSION

         A. ...


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