Addison v. Catoe et al
ORDER adopting 37 Report and Recommendation; granting Defendants' 25 Motion for Summary Judgment; and denying as moot Defendants' 34 Motion to Strike. Signed by Honorable Henry M Herlong, Jr on 4/3/2017. (mwal)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Kelvin Sharod Addison, #309917,
Investigator Danny Catoe and South
Carolina Department of Corrections,
C.A. No. 1:16-1137-HMH-SVH
OPINION & ORDER
This matter is before the court with the Report and Recommendation of United States
Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local
Civil Rule 73.02 of the District of South Carolina.1 Kelvin Sharod Addison (“Addison”), a state
prisoner proceeding pro se, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleges defamation, negligence, and
violations of his constitutional rights. In her Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge
Hodges recommends granting the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Addison is currently incarcerated at the Kershaw Correctional Institution (“KCI”), a
South Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”) facility. This matter arises out of an
investigation and subsequent prosecution of Addison for allegedly throwing urine on Officer
Steven Moore (“Moore”) at KCI. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 2, ECF No. 25-1.) Moore filed
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a
final determination remains with the United States District Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423
U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court is charged with making a de novo determination of those
portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. The court may
accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the magistrate judge
or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
an incident report, wherein he stated that Addison had thrown a liquid onto him, which Moore
believed to be urine. (Id., ECF No. 25-1.) Defendant Danny Catoe (“Catoe”) investigated the
incident. (Id., ECF No. 25-1.) On August 28, 2013, Catoe interviewed Moore and Sgt. Brenda
Lippe (“Lippe”), who was also present during the incident. (Id., ECF No. 25-1; Not. of Removal
Ex. 1 (State Ct. Docs 2), ECF No. 1-1.) Catoe reported that Moore and Lippe separately told him
that they believed Addison had thrown urine during the incident because of the liquid’s smell and
color. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 2, ECF No. 25-1.) Addison alleges that Catoe did not
personally interview him. (Not. of Removal Ex. 1 (State Ct. Docs 2), ECF No. 1-1.) Instead,
Addison states that another investigator interviewed him about the incident. (Id. (State Ct. Docs
2), ECF No. 1-1.) On September 4, 2013, Catoe obtained an arrest warrant for Addison for
throwing bodily fluids on a correctional employee. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 2, ECF No. 251.) After a trial, Addison was found not guilty on November 5, 2014. (Not. of Removal Ex. 1
(State Ct. Docs 2), ECF No. 1-1.)
Addison alleges that Moore testified at Addison’s SCDC disciplinary hearing on
September 10, 2013, and that Moore stated “he wasn’t lookin[g] to smell urine . . . he was very
upset.” (Id. Ex. 1 (State Ct. Docs 2), ECF No. 1-1.) Addison alleges that Lippe also testified at
the disciplinary hearing that she was five feet behind Moore and “by the time she got anywhere
close to smell anything all she could smell was mace.” (Id. Ex. 1 (State Ct. Docs. 2), ECF
Addison filed a lawsuit against Catoe on February 2, 2015. See Addison v. Catoe, Civil
Action No. 1:15-572-SB (“Addison I”). On May 14, 2015, Addison I was summarily dismissed
because Addison failed to sufficiently plead his claim. Id. (May 14, 2015 Order, ECF No. 15).
Addison filed the instant case in the Court of Common Pleas for Richland County, South
Carolina, on December 17, 2015, alleging defamation, negligence, and constitutional rights
violations based on malicious prosecution and false arrest. (Not. of Removal (State Ct. Docs),
ECF No. 1-1.) On April 12, 2016, Defendants removed the case to this court. (Not. of Removal,
ECF No. 1). Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on November 7, 2016. (Mot.
Summ. J., ECF No. 25.) On December 6, 2016, Addison filed a response in opposition. (Resp.
Opp’n Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 28.) On December 13, 2016, Defendants replied. (Reply, ECF
No. 29.) On March 3, 2017, Magistrate Judge Hodges issued her Report and Recommendation,
recommending granting Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. (R&R, ECF No. 37.) On
March 16, 2017, Addison timely filed objections. (Objs., ECF No. 39.) Catoe filed a response
on March 28, 2017. (Response Opp’n Objs., ECF No. 41.) This matter is now ripe for
II. DISCUSSION OF THE LAW
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate only “if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(a). In deciding whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the evidence of the
non-moving party is to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in his favor. See
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, “[o]nly disputes over facts
that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry
of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.”
Id. at 248.
A litigant “cannot create a genuine issue of material fact through mere speculation or the
building of one inference upon another.” Beale v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985).
“Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, disposition by summary judgment is appropriate.” Monahan v. Cty. of
Chesterfield, 95 F.3d 1263, 1265 (4th Cir. 1996). “[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual
dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary
judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Ballenger v. N.C.
Agric. Extension Serv., 815 F.2d 1001, 1005 (4th Cir. 1987).
Addison filed objections to the Report and Recommendation. Objections to the Report
and Recommendation must be specific. Failure to file specific objections constitutes a waiver of
a party’s right to further judicial review, including appellate review, if the recommendation is
accepted by the district judge. See United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 & n.4 (4th Cir.
1984). In the absence of specific objections to the Report and Recommendation of the magistrate
judge, this court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation. See
Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Upon review, the court finds that many of
Addison’s objections are non-specific, unrelated to the dispositive portions of the magistrate
judge’s Report and Recommendation, or merely restate his claims. However, the court was able
to glean three specific objections.
First, Addison objects that the magistrate judge erred in finding that he failed to provide
sufficient facts to demonstrate that Catoe intentionally lied or recklessly made material omissions
to obtain the arrest warrant, or that Catoe believed he lacked probable cause for the arrest
warrant. (Objs. 2, ECF No. 39.) Addison argues that Moore and Lippe’s testimony and
statements demonstrate that probable cause did not exist for the September 4, 2013, arrest
warrant. (Id., ECF No. 39.)
“To state a claim for false arrest or imprisonment under § 1983, a plaintiff must
demonstrate that he was arrested without probable cause.” Sower v. City of Charlotte, 659 Fed.
App’x 738, 739 (4th Cir. 2016) (per curiam). Specifically, Addison must allege that the
defendants: “(1) caused (2) a seizure of the plaintiff pursuant to legal process unsupported by
probable cause, and (3) criminal proceedings terminated in plaintiff’s favor.” Id. (quoting Evans
v. Chalmers, 703 F.3d 636, 646 (4th Cir. 2012). The existence of probable cause is determined
at the time of arrest. Id. When Catoe sought the arrest warrant, there was a reasonable basis to
believe probable cause existed because both Moore and Lippe had stated that they were sure
Addison had thrown urine on Moore. (Mot. Summ. J. Ex 2 (Lippe Aff. ¶ 4), ECF No. 25-3;
Ex. 7, (Moore Aff. ¶ 4), ECF No. 25-8.) Addison argues the court should consider Lippe and
Moore’s subsequent statements. (Objs. 2, ECF No. 39.) However, the statements have no
bearing on whether Catoe knowingly lied, omitted material information, or believed probable
cause did not exist at the time he sought the arrest warrant. Moreover, a Lancaster County, South
Carolina magistrate judge reviewed the information Catoe presented and found that probable
cause existed. As Addison provides no evidence which demonstrates Catoe believed these
statements were false, his objection is without merit.
Second, Addison objects that the magistrate judge failed to consider his claim for
malicious prosecution. (Objs. 2, ECF No. 39.) A “malicious prosecution claim under § 1983 is
properly understood as a Fourth Amendment claim for unreasonable seizure which incorporates
certain elements of the common law tort.” Lambert v. Williams, 223 F.3d 257, 261 (4th Cir.
2000). To state a claim for malicious prosecution, the plaintiff must show he was “seized
pursuant to legal process that was not supported by probable cause and . . . the criminal
proceedings [must have] terminated in [plaintiff’s] favor.” Brooks v. City of Winston-Salem, 85
F.3d 178, 183-84 (4th Cir. 1996). Under South Carolina law, malicious prosecution requires
proof of: “(1) the institution or continuation of original judicial proceedings . . . ; (2) by, or at the
[insistence] of, the defendant; (3) termination of such proceedings in plaintiff’s favor; (4) malice
in instituting such proceedings; (5) want of probable cause; and (6) resulting injury or damage.”
Ruff v. Eckerds Drugs, Inc., 220 S.E.2d 649, 651 (S.C. 1975). A police officer or correction
officer may be held liable for malicious prosecution if, for instance, the officer misled or lied to
the prosecutor. Evans v. Chalmers, 703 F.3d 636, 647 (4th Cir. 2012). However, an officer is
“not liable for a plaintiff’s unlawful seizure following indictment in the absence of evidence that
[the officer] misled or pressured the prosecution.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
Addison has failed to provide any evidence that Catoe misled or pressured the prosecution, or
that he lied or made a material omission in his application for the arrest warrant. Therefore, the
magistrate judge did not err and Addison’s objection is without merit.
Lastly, Addison objects that the magistrate judge erred in finding that Catoe was not
negligent in his investigatory duties for allowing another investigator to interview Addison.
(Objs. 3, ECF No. 39.) Under the collective knowledge doctrine, “probable cause can rest upon
the collective knowledge of the police, rather than solely on that of the officer who actually
makes the arrest.” United States v. Gaither, 527 F.2d 456, 458 (4th Cir. 1975) (internal quotation
marks omitted). Therefore, the magistrate judge did not err in finding that Addison had failed to
demonstrate that Catoe was negligent in his investigatory duties for not personally interviewing
Addison. Based on the foregoing, Addison’s objection is without merit.
Therefore, after a thorough review of the magistrate judge’s Report and the record in this
case, the court adopts Magistrate Judge Hodge’s Report and Recommendation and incorporates it
herein by reference.
It is therefore
ORDERED that the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, docket number 25, is
granted. It is further
ORDERED that the Defendants’ motion to strike, docket number 34, is denied as moot.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Henry M. Herlong, Jr.
Senior United States District Judge
Greenville, South Carolina
April 3, 2017
NOTICE OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
Plaintiff is hereby notified that he has the right to appeal this order within thirty (30)
days from the date hereof, pursuant to Rules 3 and 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate
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