Timpson et al v. Haley et al
OPINION AND ORDER denying 50 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Signed by Honorable Mary Geiger Lewis on 2/14/2017.(abuc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
JOHNNY TIMPSON, by and through his
Conservator Sandra Timpson, and SANDRA
TIMPSON, in her individual capacity,
NIKKI HALEY, Governor of the State of
South Carolina, ANDERSON COUNTY
DISABILITIES AND SPECIAL NEEDS
BOARD, HORACE PADGETT, Chairman of '
the Anderson County Disabilities and Special '
Needs Board, DALE THOMPSON, former
Executive Director of the Anderson Disabilities '
and Special Needs Board, JOHN KING,
Current Director of the Anderson Disabilities '
and Special Needs Board, SOUTH
CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF
DISABILITIES AND SPECIAL NEEDS,
WILLIAM DANIELSON, Chairman DDSN
Commission, BEVERLY BUSCEMI, Director '
of the South Carolina Department of
Disabilities and Special Needs, SOUTH
CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
AND HUMAN SERVICES, CHRISTIAN
SOURA, Director of the South Carolina
Department of Health and Human Services,
GREENVILLE COUNTY DISABILITIES
AND SPECIAL NEEDS BOARD,
UNKNOWN ACTORS at the Anderson
Disabilities and Special Needs Board,
UNKNOWN ACTORS at the Greenville
County Disabilities and Special Needs Board '
and/or Thrive Upstate, TYLER REX, Director '
of the Anderson DSN Board, ALEXANDER
CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:16-1174-MGL
MCNAIR, Chairman of the Board of Thrive
Upstate, formerly known as the Greenville
County Disabilities and Special Needs Board,
JOHN COCCIOLINE, Director of Thrive
Upstate, UNKNOWN ACTORS at the South
Carolina Department at Health and Human
Services, UNKNOWN ACTORS at the
Department of Disabilities and Special Needs,
and THRIVE UPSTATE,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DENYING DEFENDANT SOURA=S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Plaintiffs Johnny Timpson, by and through his Conservator Sandra Timpson, and Sandra
Timpson, in her individual capacity, bring this action against Defendants for their alleged
violations of the following statutes: (1) the South Carolina Torts Claims Act (SCTCA), S.C. Code
Ann. ' 15-78-210, (2) the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ' 12101, (3) Section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act (RA), 29 U.S.C. ' 794, (4) the South Carolina Administrative
Procedures Act (SCAPA), S.C. Code Ann. ' 1-23-301, and (5) 42 U.S.C. ' 1983. The Court has
federal question jurisdiction over Plaintiffs= ADA, RA, and ' 1983 claims under 28 U.S.C. ' 1331
and it has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs= SCTCA and SCAPA causes of action under
28 U.S.C. ' 1367.
Pending before the Court is Defendant Christian Soura=s motion for partial summary
judgment. Having considered the motion, the response, the reply, the record, and the applicable
law, the Court will deny the motion.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff Timpson receives Medicaid services under the South Carolina Intellectually
Disabled and Related Disabilities Waiver (SCIDRDW). Medicaid provides financial assistance
to states to assist them in providing medical care to needy individuals. A waiver such as the
SCIDRDW allows states to Awaive@ some requirements of the Medicaid program and provide
services to eligible participants in a manner disallowed under the regular Medicaid program.
Plaintiffs complain Defendants have violated the SCAPA by imposing rules that limit
Medicaid waiver services without promulgating regulations. According to Plaintiffs, Defendants
imposed caps on services that violate the directives of the United States Supreme Court and the
South Carolina General Assembly to provide services in the least restrictive setting.
Subsequent to Plaintiffs’ filing of their Amended Complaint with the Court, Defendant
Soura filed the instant motion for partial summary judgment. The Court, having been fully
briefed on the relevant issues, is prepared to adjudicate the motion.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary judgment is appropriate only Aif 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.
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). The moving party has the burden of
proving that summary judgment is appropriate. Once the moving party makes this showing,
however, the opposing party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials, but rather must, by
affidavits or other means permitted by the Rule, set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323 (1986). A party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by
Aciting to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents,
electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for
purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.@ Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(c)(1)(A). A litigant Acannot 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).
Therefore, A[m]ere unsupported speculation . . . is not enough to defeat a summary judgment
motion.@ Ennis v. Nat=l Ass=n of Bus. & Educ. Radio, Inc., 53 F.3d 55, 62 (4th Cir. 1995).
A[W]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
non-moving party, disposition by summary judgment is appropriate.@ Teamsters Joint Council
No. 83 v. Centra, Inc., 947 F.2d 115, 119 (4th Cir. 1996). ASummary judgment is proper 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).
The court must determine Awhether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must
prevail as a matter of law.@ Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
Defendant Soura urges the Court to dismiss this action against him in his official capacity
as the director of South Carolina Department of Health and Human Resources (the Agency)
because, by naming both him and the Agency separately, the causes of action are duplicative.
Defendant also maintains Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs= SCAPA
claim because, according to Defendant Soura, the terms put forth in the SCIDRDW can be
enforced without promulgating regulations.
Plaintiffs takes issue with each of Defendant Soura=s arguments.
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
First, Defendant Soura contends Plaintiffs= claims against him in his official capacity as the
Director of the Agency are duplicative of the claims against the Agency itself. Thus, according
to Defendant Soura, the claims ought to be dismissed against him in his official capacity.
AUnless a State has waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity or Congress has overridden
it, . . . a State cannot be sued directly in its own name regardless of the relief sought.@ Kentucky
v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 171 n.14 (1985). For this reason, Aimplementation of state policy or
custom may be reached in federal court only because official-capacity actions for prospective relief
are not treated as actions against the State.@ Id. In that the State=s policy regarding Medicaid
waivers can Abe reached in federal court only because official-capacity actions for prospective
relief are not treated as actions against the State[,]@ id., the Court will deny Defendant Soura=s
request to be dismissed from this action in his official capacity.
Second, Defendant Soura maintains there has been no violation of the SCAPA because the
terms set forth in the waiver can be enforced without promulgating regulations.
Citing to the SCAPA, the South Carolina Supreme Court opined Aan agency guideline . . .
can never trump a regulation.@ Doe v. SC Dep=t of Health & Human Servs., 727 S.E.2d 605, 608
n.7 (S.C. 2011).
The term Aregulation@ refers to Aeach agency statement of general public
applicability that implements or prescribes law or policy or practice requirements of any agency.
Policy or guidance issued by an agency other than in a regulation does not have the force or effect
of law.@ Id. (quoting S.C. Code Ann. ' 1B23B10(4)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Hence,
it necessarily follows a waiver document such as SCIDRDW fails to carry the force and effect of
law when its contents contradict federal or state law. Because, as already noted, Plaintiffs contend
Defendants imposed caps on services under the SCIDRDW that are violative of the directives of
the United States Supreme Court and the South Carolina General Assembly to provide services in
the least restrictive setting, the Court will deny Defendant Soura=s request to dismiss Plaintiff=s
Therefore, based on the foregoing discussion and analysis, Defendant Soura=s motion for
partial summary judgment is DENIED.
Concerning Plaintiffs= brief suggestion of Defendant Soura=s bad faith in filing this motion,
the Court is unpersuaded. Hence, each party will be responsible for its own fees and costs related
to this motion.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed this 14th day of February, 2017, in Columbia, South Carolina.
s/ Mary Geiger Lewis
MARY GEIGER LEWIS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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