United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
OPINION AND ORDER
CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Defendant William F. Krebs'
(“Defendant”) renewed motion for summary judgment
on the sole issue of whether res judicata and collateral
estoppel bar Plaintiff's claim. ECF No. 93. Plaintiff filed a
response in opposition (ECF No. 94), and Defendant filed a
reply (ECF No. 95).
Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on the merits,
arguing he was not deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's medical needs. ECF No. 42. After full
briefing, the Magistrate Judge recommended denial of summary
judgment. ECF No. 52. Defendant objected (ECF No. 55),
Plaintiff replied (ECF No. 60), and the court adopted the
Report and denied summary judgment (ECF No. 62). Thereafter,
at a pretrial conference, Defendant requested leave to amend
his Answer and to file an additional motion for summary
judgment based on res judicata and collateral estoppel. ECF
No. 70. The court allowed Defendant to file a motion for
leave to amend the Answer, which he did. ECF No. 73. Although
Plaintiff opposed, the court determined the res judicata
issue was one that required resolution prior to trial as a
matter of law, and allowed the Amended Answer and renewed
motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 88. Defendant filed his
Amended Answer (ECF No. 91) and the instant motion.
judgment should be granted if “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). It is well established that summary
judgment should be granted “only when it is clear that
there is no dispute concerning either the facts of the
controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those
facts.” Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Properties, 810 F.2d
1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). The party moving for summary
judgment has the burden of showing the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact, and the court must view the evidence
before it and the inferences to be drawn therefrom in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. United States v.
Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962).
56(c)(1) provides as follows:
(1) A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . .,
admissions, interrogatory answers or other materials; or
(b) showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).
sole issue before the court is whether res judicata and
collateral estoppel bar Plaintiff's claims as a matter of
law. Defendant notes Plaintiff filed a prior case in South
Carolina Circuit Court, bringing claims against the South
Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”)
arising out of the same instances of alleged dental
mistreatment as the instant case. ECF No. 93-1, 93-2 (State
Court Complaint). The Circuit Judge determined Plaintiff
failed to show SCDC was grossly negligent, and therefore
granted summary judgment to SCDC. ECF No. 93-4. As this was a
determination on the merits, Defendant argues res judicata
and collateral estoppel apply to bar Plaintiff's instant
contends he only argued gross negligence and did not name Dr.
Krebs as a defendant in his state court action, and therefore
res judicata and collateral estoppel do not apply. ECF No. 94
at 5. He also argues the final judgment of the prior action
was not on the merits, but the case was dismissed because
Plaintiff did not submit an expert affidavit. Id. at
6. He contends the issue in the current lawsuit, deliberate
indifference, was not previously litigated because the South
Carolina Tort Claims Act “had no jurisdiction to here
[sic] this present claim.” Id. at 7.
reply, Defendant asserts summary judgment in the prior action
was granted on the merits, and Plaintiff had a “full
and fair opportunity to litigate” his case in state
court. ECF No. 95 at 1-2. He argues the difference in
defendants (SCDC and Dr. Krebs) does not preclude collateral
estoppel because Dr. Krebs was adequately identified in the
prior action. Id. at 2. Finally, he contends