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Campbell v. South Carolina Department of Corrections

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

March 21, 2019

MARK KATRELL CAMPBELL, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, BRIAN P. STIRLING, CHRIS FLORIAN, and DAVID TATARSKY, Defendants.

          ORDER REJECTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND DENYING FLORIAN AND TATARSKY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          MARY GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Mark Katrell Campbell (Campbell) initially filed this putative class action lawsuit in the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas. He alleged constitutional violations and state law causes of action of false imprisonment and negligence/gross negligence/recklessness.

         The defendants who were then named in the complaint removed the case to this Court, after which Campbell amended his complaint to add additional defendants. In Campbell's amended complaint, he brings the following claims: (1) false imprisonment and negligence/gross negligence/recklessness as to the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), and (2) violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments against Brian P. Stirling, the Director of the SCDC, Chris Florian (Florian), Deputy General Counsel for the SCDC, and David Tatarsky (Tatarsky), head General Counsel for the SCDC (collectively, Defendants). The Court has federal- question jurisdiction over Campbell's constitutional claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331; and it has supplemental jurisdiction over his state claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

         The matter is before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation (Report) of the United States Magistrate Judge suggesting SCDC and Stirling's motion for summary judgment be granted, Florian and Tatarsky's motion for summary judgment be granted, Campbell's motion for summary judgment on his false imprisonment claim be denied, and Defendant SCDC and Stirling's motion to stay consideration of Campbell's motion to certify be granted. The Report was made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina.

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (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 with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         The Magistrate Judge filed the Report on October 1, 2018, Campbell filed his objections on October 25, 2018, and Defendants filed their replies on November 8, 2018.

         II. FACTUAL HISTORY

         Campbell is a former inmate of the SCDC. He was convicted on a drug charge in state court on December 2, 2011, and sentenced to a twenty-five-year term of imprisonment, suspended to service of seven years and five years of probation.

         The drug offense Campbell was convicted of and sentenced for was considered a “no parol offense.” As such, he was ineligible for “early release, discharge, or community supervision” until he had “served at least eighty-five percent of the actual term of imprisonment imposed.” S.C. Code Ann. § 24-13-150 (the eighty-five percent rule). In addition,

(1) no-parole offenders are given significantly less credits for good conduct, work, or education than other offenders, (2) no-parole offenders are required to participate in a community supervision program before their sentences are considered completed, and (3) no-parole offenders are required to serve eighty percent of their sentences before they are eligible for work release

Bolin v. S.C. Dep't of Corr., 781 S.E.2d 914, 916 (S.C. Ct. App. 2016) (footnote omitted).

         After Campbell's arrest, but before his conviction and sentencing, the South Carolina General Assembly passed the Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act of 2010 (the Act). It became effective on June 10, 2010. The Act provided, in pertinent part, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person convicted and sentenced pursuant to this subsection for a first offense or second offense may have the sentence suspended and probation granted, and is eligible for parole, supervised furlough, community supervision, work release, work credits, education credits, and good conduct credits.” 2010 Act No. 273, § 38.

         Florian was charged with reviewing the Act to determine its applicability to the inmates incarcerated by the SCDC. In a memorandum Florian drafted setting forth his interpretation of the Act, he concluded that, although the Act served to make certain no parole offenses parole eligible, if an inmate was denied parole, the eighty-five-percent rule still applied.

         Michael Bolin, an inmate of the SCDC, challenged the SCDC's application of the eighty-five-percent rule for what was, at the time of his sentencing, a no parole drug offense. ...


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