United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville 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. 72) recommending
that the Court grant Defendants' motion for summary
judgment (Dkt. No. 41). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court adopts in part and declines to adopt in part the R
& R as the Order of the Court. Defendants' motion for
summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.
Gary Scott is a post-conviction incarcerated person
proceeding pro se to bring a claim, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, for Defendants' violation of his
Eighth Amendment rights for their alleged use of excessive
force and deliberate indifference to his serious medical
need. Plaintiffs claim arises from a May 11, 2017 incident,
in which he was being transported to and from Perry
Correctional Institution for a urologist appointment, having
been diagnosed with an over-active bladder and benign
prostatic hyperplasia. (Dkt. No. 1 at 6.) During the
approximately four-hour transport, Plaintiff requested to use
a nearby restroom when the bus was stopped, but was told
"emphatically, 'No.'" Plaintiffs renewed
request was again denied at the second transport stop to the
destination. Plaintiff alleges that this aggravated his
urological condition, and that his resulting urine-stained
clothing prevented him from offering his midday and evening
transport back to Perry, Plaintiffs requests were again
denied. Defendant Scyphers responded in one instance,
"shut up, you little snitch," referencing Plaintiff
previously telling other officers about his denied requests
and asking his urologist to update his medical records to
reflect that he be transported in a van, rather than the bus
that required mechanical restraints prohibiting him from
using a restroom. (Id. at 6-8, No. 48-1.) After
being called a "snitch" in front of fellow inmates,
Plaintiff "became instantly belligerent," leading
to Defendant Scyphers on the bus to call ahead for Defendants
Williams, Earley and Palmer to meet it upon arrival, at which
point Plaintiff told them what had transpired. (Id.
at 9-10.) Plaintiff discusses at length S.C.D.C. Policy Op.
22.01, regarding use of mechanical security restraints. He
seeks "the liability cap of $350, 000."
(Id. at 12, 17.)
Court previously dismissed Officer Brown as a defendant
pursuant to Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. (Dkt. No. 69.) Before the Court now is the
remaining Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt.
No. 41), to which Plaintiff has responded in opposition (Dkt.
No. 62) and Defendants replied (Dkt. No. 64). The Magistrate
Judge recommends that the Court grant Defendants' motion
for summary judgment. Plaintiff filed no objections.
Review of R&R
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, e.g., 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)(C).
Where there are specific objections to the R&R, the Court
"makes a de novo determination of those
portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made."
Id. Where there are no objections to the R&R,
the Court reviews the R & R to "only satisfy itself
that there is no clear error on the face of the record in
order to accept the recommendation." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72
advisory committee's note; see also Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983) ("In the
absence of objection ... we do not believe that it requires
Motion for Summary Judgment
judgment is appropriate if the movant "shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and it is
therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Summary judgment should therefore be
granted "only when it is clear that there is no dispute
concerning either the facts of the controversy or the
inferences to be drawn from those facts." Pulliam
Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir.
1987). "In determining whether a genuine issue has been
raised, the court must construe all inferences and
ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party."
HealthSouth Rehab. Hosp. v. Am. Natl Red Cross, 101
F.3d 1005, 1008 (4th Cir. 1996). The party seeking summary
judgment has the initial burden of demonstrating that there
is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the movant has
made this threshold demonstration, the non-movant must
demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that give
rise to a genuine issue. Id. at 324. For this
showing, "[c]onclusory or speculative allegations do not
suffice, nor does a 'mere scintilla of
evidence"' in support of the non-moving party's
case. Thompson v. Potomac Elec. Power Co., 312 F.3d
645, 649 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Phillips v. CSX
Transp., Inc., 190 F.3d 285, 287 (4th Cir. 1999)).
crux of Plaintiff s claims is that, in light of his known
urologic and prostate medical conditions, "[t]he
repeated denial of the use of a privy while in mechanical
restraints and no offer [of] a urine bottle constituted
excessive force in violation of the 8th Amend, and S.C.D.C.
Policy Op. 22.01," "deliberate indifference to a
serious medical need," and "cruel and unusual
punishment." (Dkt. No. 1 at 12, 13, 17.)
Use of ...