Nautilus Insurance Company v. Crime Prevention Security Patrol LLC et al
ORDER affirming the decisions 79 99 of the Magistrate Judge. Signed by Honorable Mary Geiger Lewis on 12/22/2016. (bgoo)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
ROCK HILL DIVISION
NAUTILUS INSURANCE COMPANY,
CRIME PREVENTION SECURITY PATROL, §
LLC, STEPHEN TARSITANO, THOMAS
TARSITANO, SHANIQUA T. MOORE, and §
CRIME PREVENTION SECURITY PATROL, §
LLC, STEPHEN TARSITANO, and THOMAS §
GILL INSURANCE, LLC, and KRISTY
DENNIS, in her capacity as agent of Gill
Insurance a/k/a Gill Insurance Agencies,
Civil Action No. 0:14-03167-MGL-PJG
ORDER AFFIRMING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S ORDERS AND
DENYING THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANTS’ APPEAL OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Pending before the Court is Third-Party Defendants’ Appeal of Magistrate Judge Decision
(Appeal). ECF No. 102. In the Appeal, Third-Party Defendants contend the Magistrate Judge’s
Order, ECF No. 79, granting Defendants Shaniqua T. Moore and Sharetta Moore’s (Moores)
Motion to be Substituted as Real Party in Interest, ECF No. 57, and Order, ECF No. 99, denying
Third-Party Defendants’ Motion to Alter or Amend, ECF No. 88, are erroneous. At issue in the
Appeal is the Magistrate Judge’s decision to grant the Moores’ motion to be substituted as real
parties in interest for Defendants/Third-Party Plaintiffs (Defendants) pursuant to an agreement
(Assignment) between the Moores and Defendants assigning Defendants’ claims against Plaintiff
and Third-Party Defendants to the Moores.
Under Rule 25(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court, upon motion, may
order the transferee of an interest of an original party to be substituted as the real party in interest.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(c). When a party objects to a Magistrate Judge’s pretrial order, the “district
judge in the case must consider timely objections and modify or set aside any part of the order that
is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(A). Under
this clear error standard, the Court will reverse the Magistrate Judge’s holdings only if it is “left
with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. Harvey,
532 F.3d 326, 337 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting In re Mosko, 515 F.3d 319, 324 (4th Cir. 2008))
(internal quotation marks omitted).
In Fowler v. Hunter, 697 S.E.2d 531 (S.C. 2010), the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld
an assignment of an insured defendant’s claims against its insurance agents to a plaintiff that was
similar to the Assignment in this case. Relying on Fowler, the Magistrate Judge held the risk of
collusion between the Moores and Defendants was minimized, the Assignment was enforceable,
and the Moores should therefore be substituted for Defendants. There is little South Carolina law
regarding the enforceability of assignments of claims such as the one at issue in this case. In light
of Fowler, the Court is unable to say it is “left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake
has been committed.” Harvey, 532 F.3d at 337. Consequently, the Court is also unable to hold
that the Magistrate Judge’s Orders, ECF Nos.79, 99, are clearly erroneous or contrary to law. As
such, the decisions of the Magistrate Judge on this issue are AFFIRMED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed this 22nd day of December 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina.
s/Mary Geiger Lewis
MARY GEIGER LEWIS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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