United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
TIMOTHY M. CAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
Raymond Doricchi (“Doricchi”), with the
assistance of counsel, filed this action in the Greenville
County Court of Common Pleas pursuant to the South Carolina
Tort Claims Act (“SCTCA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. (ECF No. 1-1). Defendants removed
the action to federal court. (ECF No. 1). On November 12,
2018, Defendant Jeremy Jones (“Jones”) filed a
motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 29). Plaintiff
responded to the motion (ECF No. 31), and Jones replied (ECF
No. 37). On November 13, 2018, Defendants County of
Greenville, Greenville County Sheriff's Department, and
Steve Loftis (“County Defendants”) filed a motion
for summary judgment. (ECF No. 30). Plaintiff responded to
the motion (ECF No. 35), and County Defendants replied (ECF
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and District of South Carolina
Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), this case was referred to a
magistrate judge for all pre-trial proceedings. The
magistrate judge conducted a hearing on both motions for
summary judgment on February 27, 2019. (ECF No. 42).
Following the hearing, the magistrate judge issued a Report
and Recommendation (“Report”), which is now
before this court. The Report recommends that the court deny
Jones's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 29); dismiss
all federal claims against the County Defendants pursuant to
the parties' stipulation; and deny in part and grant in
part the County Defendants' motion for summary judgment
(ECF No. 30). (ECF No. 44). The magistrate judge alerted the
parties of their right to file objections. Id. at
19. Jones filed timely objections (ECF No. 47), but no other
party filed objections to the Report. Plaintiff filed a
response to Jones's objections, stating that he
“requests that this Court adopt the Report and
Recommendations in its entirety.” (ECF No. 50 at 1).
The time for objections has now run.
to Plaintiff, on May 10, 2015, he was walking down Highway
290 with a friend and was carrying a machete in one hand and
a dead snake in the other. (ECF No. 1-1 at 4). When Defendant
Jones, a deputy sheriff, pulled up and ordered Plaintiff to
drop the weapon, Plaintiff admits that he ran away from Jones
and that Jones pursued him. Id. at 4-5. Plaintiff
contends that he eventually gave up on running from Jones and
raised his hands in the air to surrender. Id. at 5.
In the process of the arrest, Plaintiff states that Jones
unnecessarily broke his arm. Id. Plaintiff contends
that at no point after he raised his hands in the air did he
fight Defendant Jones or do anything that would cause Jones
to fear imminent bodily harm. Id. Plaintiff also
alleges that after breaking his arm, Jones stated, “You
shouldn't have run, you son of a bitch. I'm a
professional arm bar fighter.” Id.
account of the arrest is vastly different. Jones contends
that when he arrived on the scene, he asked Plaintiff to come
speak to him, to which Plaintiff responded with profanity.
(ECF No. 29-1 at 2). Jones states that he then drew his
weapon and asked Plaintiff to drop the machete, which he did.
Id. Having noticed that Plaintiff appeared to be
under the influence of illegal substances, Jones states that
he alerted Plaintiff that he was under arrest. Id.
According to Jones, upon hearing that he was under arrest,
Plaintiff fled the scene, and Jones pursued him. Id.
chasing Plaintiff for some ways, Jones states that he was
able to tackle Plaintiff but that Plaintiff continued to
resist. Id. Jones alleges that he was required to
administer “close-fisted” strikes to
Plaintiff's back and head to attempt to subdue Plaintiff.
Id. Subsequently, Jones drew his weapon and ordered
Plaintiff to give him his hands or he would shoot.
Id. at 3. According to Jones, it appeared Plaintiff
was trying to “push up” and get up off the
ground. Id. Jones claims that at that time, he
holstered his weapon and grabbed Plaintiff's right arm,
placing it in an arm bar. Id. He then placed one
knee on Plaintiff's back and the other on Plaintiff's
shoulders. Id. He states that he “braced
Plaintiff's arm, bent Plaintiff's wrist, and started
applying pressure with every command” but that
Plaintiff continued to resist. Id. Jones contends
that during the struggle, Plaintiff's arm was injured.
Id. Eventually, Jones was able to handcuff Plaintiff
and roll him into a recovery position. Id.
Bryant (“Bryant”), the owner of the property
where the arrest took place, testified at his deposition that
he witnessed the events surrounding the arrest. (ECF No. 29-4
at 5-6). Bryant testified that when he saw Jones and
Plaintiff, they were on the ground “wrassling
(sic).” Id. at 9. Bryant asked Jones if he
should call for help, and Jones nodded. Id. at 10.
Bryant then called 911. (ECF No. 31-3 at 9). Meanwhile, Jones
was able to subdue Plaintiff and get his arms behind his
back. Id. at 10. Bryant then saw Jones sit Plaintiff
up. Id. Though he was not far away from the scene of
the arrest, Bryant states that he could not hear what was
being said over the sound of his lawnmower. Id. at
13. However, he does remember Jones “hollering”
at Plaintiff. Id.
witness, Michael Johnson (“Johnson”), who was
walking with Plaintiff on the road prior to Plaintiff's
encounter with Jones, testified by sworn statement stating
that he observed Plaintiff either trip or be tackled by Jones
and then saw Jones hit Plaintiff in the head seven or eight
times. (ECF No. 31-4 at 2 - 4). Johnson states that Plaintiff
then remained face- down on the ground and did not fight or
resist Jones. Id. at 3. Johnson states that, after
Plaintiff was arrested, another police officer asked Johnson
what had happened, to which Johnson responded that he had
“seen one of [the] deputies beat up [his]
friend.” Id. at 4. Johnson states that the
officer told him that they would not need his statement.
witness, Thomas Gowens (“Gowens”), who lived in
the area, gave a sworn statement that he saw two men (later
identified as Plaintiff and Johnson) walking on the shoulder
of the road. (ECF No. 31-5 at 1). Gowens then saw Jones skid
his car to a stop in the intersection, get out of the car,
and point his gun at Plaintiff. Id. at 2. He then
saw Plaintiff drop the machete. Id. Gowens states
that he was “close enough that [he] should have been
able to hear anything the deputy and the man said to each
other” but did not “hear the deputy tell the man
that he was under arrest.” Id. at 3. Gowens
states he saw Plaintiff run down the road and behind a house,
and Jones chased him. Id. At that point, Gowens lost
sight of Plaintiff and Jones. Id. Eventually, other
Greenville County deputies and an ambulance arrived.
his arrest, Plaintiff was taken to the hospital for treatment
and then transported to Greenville County Detention Center.
(ECF No. 1-1 at 5). Plaintiff was charged with possession of
drug paraphernalia, possession of methamphetamine, giving
false information to law enforcement, resisting arrest, and
disorderly conduct. (ECF Nos. 30-3 at 17-22; 30-6; 30-7).
pled guilty to resisting arrest and possession of
methamphetamine, and his other charges were dismissed. (ECF
Nos. 30-3 at 17-22; 30- 6; 30-7). Plaintiff then brought this
action alleging that Defendant Jones violated his
constitutional rights and that County Defendants were also
liable for such violations pursuant to the South Carolina
Tort Claims Act. (ECF No. 1-1).
judgment is appropriate if, after reviewing the entire record
in a case, the court is satisfied that no genuine issues of
material fact exist and that the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). An issue of
fact is “genuine” if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the plaintiff.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Issues of fact are ...