United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge
the Court is the Report and Recommendation ("R &
R") of the Magistrate Judge. (Dkt. No. 107.)
recommending that the Court grant Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No. 85.) Also before the Court is
Plaintiffs motion for subpoena. (Dkt. No. 111.) For the
reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the R & R, and
grants Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and denies
Plaintiffs motion for subpoena.
brought apro se action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on June
28, 2018. (Dkt. No. 1.) Plaintiff is a civilly-committed
individual in the Sexually Violent Predator Treatment Program
("SC SVPTP") at the state facility Correct Care
Solutions ("CCRS") located in Columbia South
Carolina. Plaintiff alleges that on May 23, 2018, W., a
civilly-committed individual, began assaulting another
civilly-committed individual, G., in the recreation yard.
(Dkt. No. 11 at 5.) Plaintiff alleges he jumped on G. to
protect him and W. began to hit and stab Plaintiff with a pen
and fists. (Id. at 5-6.) Plaintiff alleges that CCRS
staff restrained W. while waiting for help to arrive.
(Id. at 6.) Plaintiff alleges the staff were not at
their posts and did not have radios that day. (Id.)
Plaintiff alleges Timothy Budz, Director of CCRS was
"well aware of. . . [W.'s] violent behaviors . . .
since [CCRS] took over the program. (Id.)
alleges claims for negligence, failure to protect, and
mitigating circumstances. (Id. at 4.) In addition,
the complaint alleges Plaintiffs constitutional rights were
violated under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
(Id.) Defendant produced several incident reports
that recount the incident at issue all dated May 23, 2019.
(Dkt. Nos. 84-2, 105-2.) In addition, Defendant produced a
video of the incident, which does not provide a clear view of
the altercation. On April 29, 2019, Defendants filed a motion
for summary judgment and Plaintiff responded. (Dkt. Nos. 85,
91, 110, 112.) The Magistrate Judge recommended dismissing
Plaintiffs § 1983 claims. (Dkt. No. 107.) Plaintiff
filed objections to the R & R and subsequently filed a
motion for subpoena. (Dkt. Nos. 109, 111.) Defendant filed
responses to Plaintiffs objection to the R & R and
Plaintiffs motion for subpoena. (Dkt. No. 114, 115.)
prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the movant must
demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of any material
fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The party seeking summary
judgment has the burden of identifying the portions of the
"pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, any
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
which show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). The Court will construe all inferences and
ambiguities against the movant and in favor of the non-moving
party. US. v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655
(1962). The existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in
support of the non-moving party's position is
insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252
(1986). However, an issue of material fact is genuine if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict in favor of the non-movant. Id. at 257.
the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its
opponent must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."
Matsushita Elec, Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "In the language of the Rule,
the nonmoving party must come forward with "specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
Id. at 587. "Where the record taken as a whole
could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
non-moving party, there is no 'genuine issue for
trial.'" Id. quoting First Nat'l
Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289
Report and Recommendation
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270
- 71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo
determination of those portions of the Report and
Recommendation to which specific objection is made.
Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by
the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In
the absence of any specific objections, "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."
See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins.
Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal
quotation omitted). Plaintiff filed objections and therefore
the R & R is reviewed de novo.
Magistrate Judge ably found, Plaintiffs § 1983 claims
fail. Plaintiff asserts a failure to protect claim while also
asserting claims for negligence and mitigating circumstances.
(Dkt. No. 11 at 5-6.) The Magistrate Judge concedes that
Plaintiffs claims for negligence and mitigating circumstances
are not actionable under § 1983. See Daniels v.
Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 328 (1986) 328 (1986) (holding
the Due Process Clause is "simply not implicated by a
negligent act of an official causing unintended loss of or
injury to life, liberty, or property.") Failure to
protect claims filed by a civilly committed SVP are analyzed
under a standard coextensive with that applicable to persons
under the Eighth Amendment. Francis v. Watson, No.
C/A 3:05-2499-JFA-JRM, 2006 WL 2716452, at *6 (D.S.C.
Sept. 22, 2006). The Eighth Amendment is not violated by the
"negligent failure to protect inmates from
is a civilly committed individual under the Sexually Violent
Predator Act. S. C. Code Ann. § 44-48-10. This type of
custody most closely resembles that of a pre-trial detainee.
Treece v. McGill, Case No. 3:08-cv-03909-DCN, 2010
WL 3781695, at *4 (D.S.C. Sept. 21, 2010). The Due Process
rights of a pre-trial detainee are at least equal to Eighth
Amendment protections available to a protected prisoner.
Martin v. Gentile,849 F.2d 863, 870 (4th Cir.
1988). The Eighth Amendment requires prison officials to
protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other
prisoners." Farmer v. Brennan,511 U.S. 825,
833 (1994). The burden ...