United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
C. COGGINS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment.ECF No. 117. Plaintiffs filed a response in
opposition. ECF Nos. 125, 128. In accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), (D.S.C.),
this matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge
Kaymani D. West for pre-trial proceedings and a Report and
Recommendation (“Report”). On May 30, 2019, the
Magistrate Judge issued a Report recommending that the Motion
for Summary Judgment be granted in part and denied in part.
ECF No. 137. The Magistrate Judge advised the parties of the
procedures and requirements for filing objections to the
Report and the serious consequences if they failed to do so.
All parties have filed objections and replies. ECF Nos. 141,
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a
specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the
Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate
Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. §
636(b). The Court will review the Report only for clear error
in the absence of an objection. See Diamond v. Colonial
Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th
Cir. 2005) (stating that “in the absence of timely
filed objection, 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.” (citation omitted)).
Magistrate Judge provided a thorough recitation of the
procedural history, facts, and applicable law in the case,
which the Court incorporates by reference. Based on the
numerous claims and the lengthy record of this case, the
Court will follow the structure of the discussion used in the
Report to rule on the parties' objections.
Fourth Amendment Claims for Unreasonable Search and Seizure
Under § 1983
§ 1983 Claim for Unlawful Seizure
Magistrate Judge determined that there was probable cause to
arrest Tyler, and recommends that the motion for summary
judgment be granted with respect to this claim. In making her
recommendation, the Magistrate Judge considered that some of
Fuleihan's statements to the state court magistrate judge
were misleading but ultimately determined that they were not
material. Accordingly, considering the affidavit without the
misleading statements, she found that it established probable
cause that Tyler's conduct violated the disorderly
conduct statute. Plaintiffs object and argue that the warrant
presents only conclusory statements and is devoid of a
substantial basis to find probable cause.
the Court does not condone Fuleihan's exaggeration that
Tyler fled the scene, the Court agrees with the Magistrate
Judge's discussion of the existence of probable cause
after that statement is omitted from the affidavit. The
affidavit's statements that Tyler “was observed by
a Law Enforcement Officer to use loud and profane language to
the victim . . . [and] was further observed to act in the
same loud and boisterous manner using extreme vulgar language
inside the LEC until such time a Lake City Police Officer
asked the defendant to leave the location” are
sufficient to establish probable cause that Tyler violated
the disorderly conduct statute. Accordingly, the Court agrees
with the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge and overrules
§ 1983 Claim for Unlawful Seizure
Magistrate Judge found that Timothy's claim is barred by
the Supreme Court's ruling in Heck v. Humphrey,
512 U.S. 447 (1984). Specifically, she determined that
Timothy was convicted of “Breach/Breach of Peace,
non-Aggravated Nature, ” that his conviction has not
been overturned, and that a finding that he was unlawfully
seized would implicitly invalidate his conviction.
Accordingly, she recommends granting Defendants' motion
with respect to his § 1983 claim for money damages for
object and contend that Defendants Fuleihan, Beane, and
Urquhart (“the Individual Defendants”) did not
have any legal justification to be inside Timothy's home
where he was arrested. They state that Timothy was arrested
for exercising his First Amendment rights to object to their
unlawful entry. Therefore, they argue that this claim is not
barred by Heck.
provides that a § 1983 claim cannot be pursued based on
allegations of unlawful circumstances surrounding a criminal
prosecution until the conviction has been set aside or the
charges have been dismissed without the possibility of
revival. Here, as discussed by the Magistrate Judge, a
favorable determination on the merits of Timothy's §
1983 claim would implicitly invalidate his criminal
conviction; accordingly, his claim is barred under
Heck. Plaintiffs' objection is overruled, and
summary judgment is granted with respect to this claim.
Basile's § 1983 Claim for Unlawful Seizure
Magistrate Judge determined that there is a genuine issue of
material fact with respect to whether there was probable
cause to seize Mrs. Basile for allegedly assaulting Fuleihan.
Accordingly, she recommends denying summary judgment with
respect to this claim.
object and argue that there is nothing in the record to
support Mrs. Basile's version of events. They further
contend that she was not arrested, taken into custody, or
Report, the Magistrate Judge lays out the different versions
of events offered by Mrs. Basile and Fuleihan, which the
Court specifically incorporates into this Order. See
ECF No. 137 at 15. Upon de novo review of the record and the
pleadings in this case and viewing the facts in the light
most favorable to Plaintiffs, the Court agrees that there is
a genuine issue of material fact with respect to whether
there was probable cause to seize Mrs. Basile. Accordingly,
summary judgment is denied with respect to this
Basile's Claim for Unlawful Seizure
Magistrate Judge determined that Defendants were entitled to
summary judgment with respect to this claim because there was
no indication that he was ever under arrest. Neither party
has objected to this recommendation. Upon review of the
record, applicable law, and Report for clear error, the Court
agrees with the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge.
Defendants' motion is granted with respect to this claim.
1983 Fourth Amendment Claims for Unlawful
Magistrate Judge recommends that Defendants' motion be
denied as to all Plaintiffs regarding this claim. She states
that the issue to be decided is whether the Individual
Defendants had reason to believe that Tyler was inside the
house when they entered the home without a warrant. She
concludes that there is a genuine issue of material fact with
respect to whether the Individual Defendants knew the
difference between the twins such that they knew that they
had the correct brother in custody and entered the home
object and contend that there is undisputed evidence that
clearly reflects that they did not know they had Tyler in
custody. Accordingly, pursuant to Payton v. New
York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980), they assert the Individual
Defendants had authority to enter the home to confirm that
they had the correct twin in custody.
there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether
the Individual Defendants knew that they had Tyler in
custody. Tyler testified that he identified himself and one
of the officers stated, “yeah, that's him because
he's the broader one.” ECF No. 125-9 at 2. Because
there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the
Individual Defendants knew they had Tyler in custody, at this
procedural posture they may not rely on Payton to
justify their entrance into the house. Accordingly, summary
judgment is denied with respect to this claim.
§ 1983 ...