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Budden v. United States

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

March 11, 2019

Le'Andre Dion Budden, Plaintiff,
v.
United States of America Beth Drake, Mrs. Daniels, Mr. Van Sickle, Mr. Keys,[1] Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge

         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 56) recommending the Court grant Defendants Drake, Daniels and Van Sickle's (the "Federal Defendants") motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 28), and grant Defendant Keyes' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 48). For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts in part and declines to adopt in part the R & R, adopts the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, and the Court grants the Defendants' motions for summary judgment (Dkt. Nos. 28, 48).

         I. Background

         The Court adopts the relevant facts as outlined in the R & R. (Dkt. No. 56 at 1 - 6.)[2]Plaintiff filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens action when he was in pre-trial detention at the Lexington County Detention Center ("LCDC"). Plaintiff Budden alleges that he was injured by ATF agents when he was arrested during a scheduled visit with his probation officer. (Dkt. No. 1 at 9.) Further, while in pretrial detention at LCDC, Plaintiff alleges that he was denied medical attention and that Defendant Keyes, a sergeant at LCDC, ultimately placed him in lock up in retaliation for requesting medical care. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff ultimately received an x-ray and ultrasound at LCDC. (Id. at 10 - 11.) Plaintiff was transferred to Federal Correctional Institution - Butner ("FCI Butner") on October 3, 2017, for a psychiatric study, where Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Van Sickle, a nurse at FCI Butner, and Defendant Daniels, the Assistant Administrator of Health Services, were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs and did not provide adequate care for his medical conditions, which included lymphoma, back pain, and a blistering rash all over his body. (Id. at 10 - 12.) Plaintiff also names Beth Drake as a Defendant, an Assistant United States Attorney, who was allegedly involved in his transfer to FCI Butner. (Id. at 11.) At FCI Butner, Plaintiff was seen by medical providers, including Defendant Van Sickle and a doctor, on multiple occasions from October 4, 2017, through November 29, 2017, and received testing and treatment including a blood draw, CT Scan, and a prescription for his rash. (Dkt. Nos. 28-2; 58-1.) Plaintiff was transferred out of FCI Butner on December 4, 2017, when the psychiatric study concluded. (Dkt. No. 28-1.)

         The Federal Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative for summary judgment, on August 30, 2018. (Dkt. No. 28.) Defendant Keyes, the sole state defendant, filed a motion for summary judgment on November 8, 2018. (Dkt. No. 48.) Plaintiff opposes both motions. (Dkt. Nos. 43, 53.) On February 7, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued an R & R which recommended granting both motions. (Dkt. No. 56.) Plaintiff filed objections. (Dkt. No. 58.)

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Pro Se Pleadings

         This Court liberally construes complaints filed by pro se litigants to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. See Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege facts which set forth a viable federal claim, nor can the Court assume the existence of a genuine issue of material fact where none exists. See Weller v. Dep't of Social Services, 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).

         B. Report and Recommendation

         The 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 filed objections, and the R & R is therefore reviewed de novo.

         C. Summary Judgment[3]

         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 ...


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