Buchanan v. JUMPSTART, INC. et al
ORDER denying 42 Motion in Limine; denying 43 Motion to Strike. Signed by Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges on 7/13/2021. (lbak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Stewart R. Buchanan, also known
as Daphne Renee’ Stewart,
JumpStart South Carolina;
Michael Scharff, Chairman, Bd. Of
Dir., JumpStart South Carolina;
Daniel Sulton, Vice-Chairman, Bd.
Of Dir., JumpStart South
Carolina; Bob Caldwell; Sharon
McDowell; Chris Phillips; Chuck
Fields; Tommy Holt; Mike
Kiriakides; Chris Urban; Tommy
Moore; Carey Sanders; David
Johnson; NFN Beard; Bryan
Stirling; Larry Epps; Charles
Williams; and Willie Davis,
C/A No.: 1:21-385-DCN-SVH
Stewart R. Buchanan, also known as Daphne Renee’ Stewart
(“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this suit on
February 5, 2021, against JumpStart South Carolina (“JumpStart”) and
multiple members of that organization (collectively “JumpStart Defendants”).
Plaintiff additionally brings suit against the following employees of the South
Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”): Bryan Stirling, Larry Epps,
Charles Williams, and Willie Davis (collectively “SCDC Defendants”).
This matter comes before the court on Plaintiff’s motion in limine and
motion to strike. [ECF Nos. 42, 43]. SCDC Defendants have filed an
opposition to Plaintiff’s motion to strike [ECF No. 47] and both SCDC
Defendants and JumpStart Defendants have filed oppositions to Plaintiff’s
motion in limine. [ECF Nos. 48, 49].
Turning first to Plaintiff’s motion in limine, Plaintiff argues the court
should prevent the introduction of evidence that “has never been presented
during the agency grievance process or before the South Carolina
Administrative Law Court,” in particular regarding an email that is now in
Plaintiff’s possession due to the discovery process. [ECF No. 42 at 1]. Plaintiff
argues that because the referenced email, and the facts contained within,
were never presented during the agency grievance process or to the
administrative law court, presentation now is judicially estopped. See id. at 3
(citing Martineau v. Wier, 934 F.3d 385, 393 (4th Cir. 2019) (“Typically,
judicial estoppel is reserved for cases where the party to be estopped . . . has
taken a later position that is ‘clearly inconsistent’ with her earlier one; has
persuaded a court to adopt the earlier position, creating a perception that
‘either the first or the second court was misled’; and would ‘derive an unfair
advantage or impose an unfair detriment on the opposing party if not
Plaintiff’s motion is denied. First, the court has insufficient information
before it to conclude that judicial estoppel applies where there is no
indication that SCDC Defendants or JumpStart Defendants intentionally
mislead a court. 1 See, e.g., John S. Clark Co. v. Faggert & Frieden, P.C., 65
F.3d 26, 29 (4th Cir. 1995) (“Even so, courts must apply the doctrine with
caution. The ‘determinative factor’ in the application of judicial estoppel is
whether the party who is alleged to be estopped ‘intentionally misled the
court to gain unfair advantage.’ The vice which judicial estoppel prevents is
the cold manipulation of the courts to the detriment of the public interest. It
is inappropriate, therefore, to apply the doctrine when a party’s prior position
was based on inadvertence or mistake.”) (citations omitted)).
Second, this case is not at the appropriate stage for motions in limine to
be determined. See, e.g., Newkirk v. Enzor, C/A No. 2:13-1634-RMG, 2017
WL 823553, at *2 (D.S.C. 2017) (“The purpose of a motion in limine is to
allow a court to rule on evidentiary issues in advance of trial in order to avoid
delay, ensure an even-handed and expeditious trial, and focus the issues the
jury will consider.") (citations omitted)).
Turning to Plaintiff’s motion to strike, Plaintiff requests the court to
strike certain portions of SCDC Defendants’ answer for the same reasons
JumpStart Defendants further represent that they were not involved in any
administrative law proceedings. [ECF No. 49 at 3].
offered in the motion in limine. However, as argued by SCDC Defendants,
Plaintiff’s specific requests to strike do not include information inconsistent
with the information provided by these defendants in prior proceedings.
Instead, the information sought to be struck are either denials or affirmative
defenses SCDC Defendants were required to make under the Fed. R. Civ. P.
[See ECF No. 43]. 2
For the foregoing reasons, the undersigned denies Plaintiff’s motion in
limine [ECF No. 42] and motion to strike [ECF No. 43].
IT IS SO ORDERED.
July 13, 2021
Columbia, South Carolina
Shiva V. Hodges
United States Magistrate Judge
SCDC Defendants further note that the referenced administrative
proceedings dismissed Plaintiff’s claim on a motion to dismiss filed by SCDC
and “the matters before the court were matters of law rather than matters of
fact” and “the decision was based on the applicable law and not on any
specific facts.” [ECF No. 47 at 2].
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