United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge
the Court is the Report and Recommendation ("R &
R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 13) recommending
the Court grant in part and deny in part the Defendants'
motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 5). For the reasons set forth
below, the Court adopts the R & R as the order of the
Court and the Court grants in part and denies in part
Defendants' motion to dismiss.
alleges that she was arrested without probable cause on June
5, 2017, on a fraudulent check charge. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at
¶¶ 6 - 14.) Plaintiff alleges that because of the
arrest, she spent almost twenty-four (24) hours in jail, and
that the charges were ultimately dismissed for a lack of
probable cause. (Id. at ¶¶ 13, 34.) The
Defendants are the North Charleston Police Department
("NCPD"), City of North Charleston (the
"City"), and the arresting officers. (Dkt. No.
1-1.) Plaintiff asserts five causes of action: gross
negligence/negligence/negligence per se against NCPD
and the City; False Imprisonment against all Defendants;
Malicious Prosecution against all Defendants; a 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claim against all Defendants, and; a 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 Monell claim against the NCPD and the
removed the case to this Court on September 26, 2018. (Dkt.
No. 1.) Following removal, Defendants filed a partial motion
to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 5.) Plaintiff consented to four of
Defendants' requests in the motion, but opposes dismissal
of her § 1983 Monell claim against the NCPD and
the City (fifth cause of action). (Dkt. No. 8.) On February
7, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued an R & R which
recommended granting the motion to dismiss to the extent
Plaintiff consented to drop certain claims, but denying the
motion as to Plaintiffs § 1983 Monell claim
against the City. (Dkt. No. 13.) Defendants have not filed
objections to the R & R.
Report and Recommendation
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court
that has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a
final determination remains with the Court. See Mathews
v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). 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). This Court must make
a de novo determination of those portions of the R
& R Plaintiff specifically objects. Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2). Where Plaintiff fails to file 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." Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (internal quotation omitted). "Moreover, in the
absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court
need not give any explanation for adopting the
recommendation." Wilson v. S.C. Dept of Corr.,
No. 9:14-CV-4365-RMG, 2015 WL 1124701, at *1 (D.S.C.
Mar. 12, 2015). See also Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d
198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983). Plaintiff did not file objections
in this case, and the R & R is therefore reviewed for
Motion to Dismiss
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits the
dismissal of an action if the complaint fails "to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted." Such a motion
tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint and "does
not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of the
claim, or the applicability of defenses.... Our inquiry then
is limited to whether the allegations constitute 'a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.'" Republican Party of N.C.
v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (quotation
marks and citation omitted). In a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the
Court is obligated to "assume the truth of all facts
alleged in the complaint and the existence of any fact that
can be proved, consistent with the complaint's
allegations." E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs.
Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000).
However, while the Court must accept the facts in a light
most favorable to the non-moving party, it "need not
accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable
conclusions, or arguments." Id.
survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." BellAtl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570(2007). Although the
requirement of plausibility does not impose a probability
requirement at this stage, the complaint must show more than
a "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). A complaint has "facial plausibility"
where the pleading "allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Id.
begin with, as the Magistrate Judge correctly noted,
Plaintiff, agreed to: 1) dismiss the NCPD as it is the same
as the City for the purposes of this lawsuit; 2) dismiss
Defendants Glenn and Russ, the arresting officers, from her
state law claims (the second and third causes of action); 3)
dismiss the City as a Defendant under her fourth cause of
action, a § 1983 claim, and; 4) dismiss all claims for
punitive damages against the City. The Court will grant the
motion to dismiss as to those parties and claims.
the only remaining issue is Defendants' motion to dismiss
as to Plaintiffs fifth cause of action asserting a §
1983 Monell claim against the City. Under §
1983, no municipality can be held liable on a theory of
respondeat superior, and instead a city "is
only liable under section 1983 if it causes such a
deprivation through an official policy or custom."
Carter v. Morris,164 F.3d 215, 218 (4th Cir. 1999)
citing Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S.
658, 690 - 91, (1978). However, the Supreme Court has
explained that a Plaintiff can make out a Monell
claim were a municipality's "failure to train
amounts to deliberate indifference to the rights of persons
with whom the police come into contact." City of
Canton, Ohio v. Harris,489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989)
("it may happen that in light of the duties assigned to
specific officers or employees the need for more or different