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Shelley v. Stirling

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

July 22, 2019

Bronson Shelley, Plaintiff,
v.
Bray P. Stirling, Michael McCall, Warden Ms. Thompson, Major Mr. Jackson, Captain Ms. Holsinger, Lt. Mr. Bell, LT. Travis Reese, LT. Ms. Housten, Lt. Mr. Marone, Lt. Ms. Flemming, Sgt. Shelba Right, Sgt. Ms. Tribble, Mr. Goodson, Ms. Gibson, SMU Officer Bouyan, individually and in their official capacities, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOSEPH F. ANDERSON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Bronson Shelley, (“Plaintiff”), brings this action raising claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by using excessive force and being deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. On February 11, 2019, Defendants[1] filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 60). Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Plaintiff was advised of the dismissal procedure and the possible consequences if he failed to adequately respond to the Defendants' Motion. (ECF No. 61). On March 25, 2019, Plaintiff responded. (ECF No. 67). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.), the case was referred to the Magistrate Judge.

         The Magistrate Judge assigned to this action[2] prepared a thorough Report and Recommendation (“Report”) and opines that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be granted in part and denied in part. (ECF No. 71). The Magistrate opines that summary judgment be granted as to all claims against Defendants Stirling, McCall, Riley, Thompson, Jackson, and Holsinger, and as to the excessive force claim against Defendants Sgt. Wright, Lt. Flemming, Lt. Housten, Mr. Goodson, and Ms. Gibson. Id. Further, the Magistrate opines that summary judgment should be denied as to the excessive force claim against Defendants Reese, Lt. Bell, and Officer Bouyan, and as to the medical indifference claim against Defendants Reese, Lt. Bell, Officer Bouyan, Sgt. Wright, Lt. Flemming, Lt. Housten, Mr. Goodson, and Ms. Gibson. Id. The Report sets forth, in detail, the relevant facts and standards of law on this matter, and this Court incorporates those facts and standards without a recitation.

         The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objections are made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). However, a district court is only required to conduct a de novo review of the specific portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report to which an objection is made. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); Carniewski v. W. Virginia Bd. of Prob. & Parole, 974 F.2d 1330 (4th Cir. 1992). In the absence of specific objections to portions of the Report of the Magistrate, this Court is not required to give an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983).

         Defendants filed objections to the Report on May 17, 2019. (ECF No. 77). Plaintiff filed a response to the objections on June 3, 2019. (ECF No. 78). On June 4, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Appoint Counsel. (ECF No. 81). Thus, this matter is ripe for review.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show “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). The movant has the burden of proving that summary judgment is appropriate. Once the movant makes the showing, however, the opposing party must respond to the motion with “specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56).

         When no genuine issue of any material fact exists, summary judgment is appropriate. See Shealy v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991). In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the facts and inferences to be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. However, “the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.

         “[O]nce the moving party has met [its] burden, the nonmoving party must come forward with some evidence beyond the mere allegations contained in the pleadings to show that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Baber v. Hospital Corp. of Am., 977 F.2d 872, 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992).

         The nonmoving party may not rely on beliefs, conjecture, speculation, or conclusory allegations to defeat a motion for summary judgment. See Id. Rather, the nonmoving party is required to submit evidence of specific facts by way of affidavits, depositions, interrogatories, or admissions to demonstrate the existence of a genuine and material factual issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The Report recites the factual and procedural background giving rise to this action in detail, which is incorporated by reference. Briefly, Plaintiff alleges that under §1983, Defendants violated his rights guaranteed under the Eighth Amendment to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by using excessive force and failing to timely provide him with medical treatment. Plaintiff alleges that certain Defendants denied him medical treatment for over twenty-four hours following an injury to his shoulder. It is undisputed that Plaintiff suffered a dislocated shoulder injury at some point on August 11, 2016. Defendants argue that no force was used at all and suggest that Plaintiff caused the injury himself.

         a. Plaintiff cannot prevail on a theory of supervisory liability, so summary judgment is granted as to Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Stirling, McCall, Riley, Thompson, Jackson, and Holsinger.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants Stirling, McCall, Riley, Thompson, Jackson, and Holsinger are “legally responsible” for the excessive force and deliberate indifference of other Defendants. Plaintiff contends that said Defendants are liable in some form of supervisory capacity and does not allege that these Defendants were actually involved in the use of excessive force or denial of medical treatment.

         As the Magistrate correctly opines, Plaintiff has not presented sufficient evidence to create an issue of fact with respect to the liability of these officers. Plaintiff cannot meet the three elements to prevail under §1983 on a theory of supervisory liability. See Shaw v. Stroud, 13 F.3d 791, 799 (4th Cir.1994). Plaintiff does not object to this recommendation, and in the absence of specific objections to portions of the Report of the Magistrate, this Court is not required to give an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir.1983). Thus, summary judgment is granted as to Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Stirling, McCall, Riley, Thompson, Jackson, and Holsinger.

         b. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to the excessive force claim is denied as against Defendants ...


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