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McDaniel v. Jackson

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

December 2, 2019

Roymad Shaquil McDaniel, Plaintiff,
v.
Jacob Scott Jackson, K-9 Magnum, Richard A. Finch, Jr., Anderson City Policy Department, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge

         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 79) recommending the Court grant Defendants' motions for summary judgment (Dkt. Nos. 49, 50.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the R & R as the order of the Court to grant Defendants' motions for summary judgment.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Roymad Shaquil McDaniel filed this action pro se alleging various causes of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action arises out of a traffic stop and subsequent foot pursuit that occurred on February 25, 2017. Plaintiff alleges he was "riding with someone" when Defendant Richard A. Finch, Jr. ("Finch") initiated a traffic stop "due to racial profiling of seeing two innocent, defenseless, and non-threatening civilians traveling by vehicle. . ." (Dkt. No. 66 at 1-2.) Plaintiff alleges the driver of the vehicle kept going and lost control of the car, hitting another vehicle, spinning, and flipping over multiple times. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3.) Plaintiff alleges that he fled the scene and attempted to run and passed out. (Id.)

         Defendant Finch avers he initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle because he observed the vehicle driving in a reckless manner above the speed limit and failing to stop for a stop sign. (Dkt. No. 49-2 at 1.) After Defendant Finch pulled the vehicle over, he approached the vehicle by foot and the "driver suddenly pulled away at a high rate of speed." (Id.) The vehicle struck a parked car and flipped. (Id.) Defendant Finch observed Plaintiff climb out of the vehicle and flee into a baseball field adjacent to a wooded area. (Id.) At this juncture, Defendant Finch "lost sight" of Plaintiff. (Id.) Defendant Finch avers that he did not see any other individuals exit the vehicle and confirmed that no other individuals were in the vehicle. (Id. at 1-2.)

         Defendant Saxon observed Defendant Finch pull the vehicle over and saw the vehicle drive off and crash. (Dkt. No. 50-2 at 1.) Defendant Saxon arrived on the scene shortly the crash and offered to assist Defendant Finch. (Id.) Defendant Saxon pursued Plaintiff in the woods with his K-9 Unit, PSD Magnum. (Id. at 2.) Defendant Finch did not enter the woods. (Id.) Defendant Saxon avers that he deployed the PSD Magnum Unit for a track and the unit successfully tracked Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff was found lying behind a brush pile and PSD Magnum bit Plaintiffs upper left leg. (Id.) Plaintiff became unconscious and Defendant Saxon did not release PSD Magnum until Plaintiff was handcuffed. (Id.) Defendant Saxon writes that EMS was immediately notified and Plaintiff was transported to the emergency room. (Id.)

         Plaintiff maintains that he did not resist arrest because he fell unconscious. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3.) He alleges that he did not receive proper medical treatment for his leg once he arrived at the Anderson County Detention Center. (Id.) Plaintiff filed the instant action against Defendant Finch alleging violations of racial profiling/deliberate indifference; excessive force; and deliberate indifference to serious medical need. He asserts claims against Defendant Saxon for excessive force; and deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. He asserts a §1983 claim against Defendant Anderson City Police Department. Last, he alleges general § 1983 claims against the K-9 Magnum Unit.

         Defendants filed separate motions for summary judgment on April 24, 2019. (Dkt. Nos. 49, 50.) Plaintiff filed a motion for extension of time and sought to amend the complaint. (Dkt. No. 53.) The Magistrate Judge liberally construed the Complaint as alleging a Fourth Amendment violation in addition to the claims already plead. (Dkt. No. 54.) The Court allowed Defendants to file supplemental briefing on their dispositive motions to the extent they sought to address the merits of the Fourth Amendment claims. Defendants filed separate supplemental briefings on June 12, 2019. (Dkt. Nos. 56, 57.) On June 29, 2019, Plaintiff filed a response to the motions and also filed a motion to compel. (Dkt. Nos. 65, 66.) He sought all video footage of the alleged pursuit from February 25, 2017. The Court granted the motion to compel. (Dkt. No. 75.) On August 29, 2019 Defendants filed a certificate of service stating they produced to Plaintiff a disc containing the requested body cam footage from Defendant Saxon. (Dkt. No. 78.) The Court also received a copy of the body cam footage. On September 27, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued an order granting Defendants' motions for summary judgment as to all of Plaintiff s claims. (Dkt. No. 79.) On November 18, 2019, Plaintiff filed objections to the R & R. (Dkt. No. 85.)

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Report and Recommendation

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court that has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). 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). This Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R Plaintiff specifically objects. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). Where Plaintiff fails to file 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." Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted). "Moreover, in the absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the recommendation." Wilson v. S.C Dept of Corr., No. 9:14-CV-4365-RMG, 2015 WL 1124701, at *1 (D.S.C. Mar. 12, 2015). See also Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983). Plaintiff filed objections in this case and the R & R is reviewed de novo.

         B. Pro Se Pleadings

         This Court liberally construes complaints filed by pro se litigants to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. See Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege facts which set forth a viable federal claim, nor can the Court assume the existence of a genuine issue of material fact where none exists. See Weller v. Dep't of Social Services, 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).

         C. ...


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