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Feaster v. Sanders

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

September 17, 2019

Christopher Clevon Feaster, Plaintiff,
v.
Sgt. Rickey Prevell Sanders, Sheriff Alex Underwood, Lt. Fourney, Sgt. Moss, Sgt. Graham, Lt. Moore, Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

         This action arises from the arrest of Plaintiff Christopher Clevon Feaster on September 13, 2016. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, claims that the arrest violated his constitutional rights. (Id.) The matter before the court is a review of the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (“Report”) (ECF No. 64.)

         For the reasons below, the court ACCEPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 64), GRANTS Defendant Alex Underwood's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 37), and DENIES Defendants Sgt. Rickey Prevell Sanders, Lt. Fourney, Sgt. Moss, Sgt. Graham, and Lt. Moore's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 46).

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The Report sets forth the relevant facts and legal standards which the court incorporates herein without full recitation. On July 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against the City of Chester Police Department (“CCPD”) officers Sgt. Rickey Prevell Sanders, Lt. Fourney, Sgt. Moss, Sgt. Graham, and Lt. Moore (“City Defendants”). (ECF No. 21.)

         Two jurisdictions, Gaston County, North Carolina, and York County, South Carolina, charged Plaintiff with crimes that led to his arrest on September 13, 2016. (ECF No. 64 at 2-3.) A detective from the Gaston County Police Department (“GCPD”) called the CCPD with notice that Plaintiff had been identified as a suspect for crimes committed in North Carolina. (Id. at 3.) CCPD knew of Plaintiff's place of residence. (Id.) A Gaston County Magistrate Judge issued a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest and the GCPD detective joined officers at the CCPD. (Id.) A detective from the York County Sheriff's Office (“YCSO”) also arrived at CCPD because Plaintiff was a suspect in robberies in York County. (Id. at 4.)

         Officers allegedly arrested Plaintiff pursuant to the Gaston County warrant. (Id.) However, Plaintiff claims that officers failed to serve him with an arrest warrant, failed to provide a basis for his arrest, and that neither YCSO nor GCPD participated in his arrest (Id.) The GCPD detective questioned Plaintiff at CCPD (Id. at 4-5) and the CCPD booked Plaintiff in the Chester County Detention Center. (Id. at 5.) YCSO obtained warrants for Plaintiff's arrest on September 14, 2016, and transferred Plaintiff to York County Detention Center. (Id.) Upon dismissal of charges in York County, CCPD served Plaintiff with charges for armed robbery in Chester County and booked him into the Chester County Detention Center on August 23, 2017. (Id.)

         On October 12, 2018, Defendant Sheriff Alex Underwood (“Defendant Underwood”) filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 37.) On October 22, 2018, City Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 46.)

         On May 10, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report (ECF No. 64) recommending that the court grant Defendant Underwood's motion (ECF No. 37) and deny City Defendants' motion (ECF No. 46). (Id. at 9-10.) On July 1, 2019, City Defendants filed timely objections to the Report. (ECF No. 72.) On July 3, 2019, Plaintiff filed timely objections to the Report. (ECF No. 74.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge only makes a recommendation to this court, and the recommendation has no presumptive weight. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the court. Id. at 271. As such, the court is charged with making de novo determinations of those portions of the Report to which specific objections are made. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). In the absence of specific objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report, the court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the Report. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Rather, “in the absence of a 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.” Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note). Thus, the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge's recommendation or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         The court is required to interpret pro se documents liberally and will hold those documents to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. See Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978); see also Hardin v. United States, C/A No. 7:12-cv-0118-GRA, 2012 WL 3945314, at *1 (D.S.C. Sept. 10, 2012). Additionally, pro se documents must be construed in a favorable manner, “no matter how inartfully pleaded, to see whether they could provide a basis for relief.” Garrett v. Elko, No. 95-7939, 1997 WL 457667, at *1 (4th Cir. Aug. 12, 1997). Although pro se documents are liberally construed by federal courts, “[t]he ‘special judicial solicitude' with which a district court should view pro se complaints does not transform the court into an advocate.” Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. for Balt., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Plaintiff's Objections

         Plaintiff only objects to the Report's recommendation that the court grant Defendant Underwood's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 74.) The Report states that “Plaintiff does not dispute [Defendant] Underwood's statement” that “he is the Sheriff for Chester County and ...


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