Williamson v. Clark et al
ORDER adopting Report and Recommendations re 64 Report and Recommendation in case 8:15-cv-04515-TMC; adopting Report and Recommendations re 40 Report and Recommendation in case 8:16-cv-00177-TMC; granting 51 Motion for Summary Judgment in case 8:15-cv-04515-TMC; granting 27 Motion for Summary Judgment in case 8:16-cv-00177-TMC in regard to Plaintiff's federal claims ONLY. Further, the court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any state law claims and remands those claims in Civil Action 8:16-177-TMC to the Pickens County Court of Common Pleas. Signed by Honorable Timothy M Cain on 10/14/16.Associated Cases: 8:15-cv-04515-TMC, 8:16-cv-00177-TMC(kmca)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Robert Earl Williamson,
Rick Clark, Sheriff of Pickens;
Director of Jail, Pickens County,
Robert Earl Williamson,
Rick Clark, Sheriff of Pickens County;
Captain Nix, Director of Jail; and
Unknown Defendants of Pickens County,
Civil Action No. 8:15-4515-TMC
Civil Action No. 8:16-177-TMC
Plaintiff Robert Earl Williamson (“Williamson”), an inmate proceeding pro se, filed these
actions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.1 Defendants in Civil Action No. 8:16-177 removed the
action from the Pickens County Court of Common Pleas. (C/A No. 8:16-177, ECF No. 1).2 The
magistrate judge issued an Order and Report and Recommendation (“Report”) (ECF No. 64)
which denied Plaintiff’s motions to amend his complaint in both cases (ECF No. 62; C/A No.
8:16-177, ECF No. 38) and recommended the court grant Defendants’ motions for summary
judgment in both cases in regard to Plaintiff’s federal claims (ECF No. 51; C/A No. 8:16-177,
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02, DSC, this matter was initially referred to a
Civil Action No. 8:15-4515 was consolidated with Civil Action No. 8:16-177 by order of the magistrate judge
dated February 19, 2016 (C/A No. 8:15-4515, ECF No.43; C/A No. 8:16-177, ECF No. 18). Docket entries have
since been entered by the clerk under both case numbers. Unless otherwise noted, docket entries cited herein will be
for those appearing in Civil Action No. 8:15-4515.
ECF No. 27); decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any state law claims; and
remand C/A No. 8:16-177 to the Pickens County Court of Common Pleas. (ECF No. 64; C/A
No. 8:16-177, ECF No. 40). Plaintiff timely filed objections. (ECF No. 67). Defendants filed a
response to Plaintiff’s objections. (ECF No. 69). Plaintiff filed a reply to defendants’ response.
(ECF No. 70)
The recommendations set forth in the Report have no presumptive weight and the
responsibility to make a final determination in this matter remains with this 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 to which specific objection is made, and the court
may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the magistrate judge,
or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). However, the court need not
conduct a de novo review when a party makes only “general and conclusory objections that do
not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate’s proposed findings and
recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence of a
timely filed, specific objection, the magistrate judge’s conclusions are reviewed only for clear
error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).
The magistrate judge summarizes the facts of this case in his Report. Briefly, Plaintiff
alleges that he served a term of imprisonment from 2009 until February 1, 2012, for grand
larceny. (ECF No. 1 at 3). In early December 2014, he was arrested for shoplifting and released
later on a personal recognizance bond. (ECF No. 40 at 2).3 On December 10, 2014, he was
arrested and served with an outstanding bench warrant originally issued on October 2, 2009 by
Plaintiff alleges this event occurred on December 11, 2014 and the bench warrant arrest occurred the next day.
(ECF No. 1 at 2). However, defendants filed a copy of the booking report for the bench warrant arrest which lists
that date as December 10, 2014. (ECF No. 51-2). Therefore, the date of the shoplifting incident is unclear.
the Deputy Clerk of Court in Pickens County ordering Plaintiff’s arrest. (ECF No. 51-2).
Despite Plaintiff’s protests that he had already served full time on the charge, he was held in
custody for over a week. Plaintiff was released on December 19, 2014, after the Honorable G.
Edward Welmaker, presiding judge of the Court of General Sessions for Pickens County, entered
an order recalling the warrant. (ECF No. 51-4).4
In his original and amended complaints, Plaintiff alleged false imprisonment, gross
negligence, and violation of his due process rights. (ECF Nos. 1 and 40, respectively).
review, the court finds that many of Plaintiff’s objections merely restate his claims or are nonspecific and unrelated to the dispositive portions of the Report. However, the court was able to
glean three specific objections.
First, Plaintiff asserts that the court lacks jurisdiction over his claims. (ECF No. 67 at 1–
2). District courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions involving a federal question or
diversity of citizenship. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332. In this case, jurisdiction depends on whether
a federal question was involved. See id. at § 1441(a) (authorizing removal to district court of
state court civil action “of which the district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction”); id. at § 1331 (providing for original jurisdiction in the district courts of “all civil
actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States”). According to the
Supreme Court, “a case arises under federal law when federal law creates the cause of action
asserted.” Gunn v. Minton, 133 S. Ct. 1059, 1064 (2013). In this case, Plaintiff filed a claim
alleging violation of his due process rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, thus, subject matter
jurisdiction is proper.
Plaintiff’s timeline is slightly different per his complaint, alleging that his second arrest on the outstanding bench
warrant took place on December 12, 2014 and he was held in custody for 11 days until being released on December
23, 2014. (ECF No. 40 at 2–3).
Second, Plaintiff objects to the dismissal of his due process claim by challenging the
magistrate judge’s reliance on Mitchell v. Aluisi, 872 F.2d 577 (4th Cir. 1989). The Fourth
Circuit found no due process violation in Mitchell when Plaintiff was arrested, detained, and
served with a facially valid bench warrant that had been recalled, unbeknownst to the arresting
officers. 872 F.2d at 579. Plaintiff claims that the case “is moot in its entirety,” “has no legal
significance,” and is invalidated by the Fourth Amendment. (ECF No. 67 at 14, 17). However,
Mitchell has not been overturned or found to violate the Fourth Amendment and is not “moot;” it
is good law. See Etheridge v. Norfolk & Western Ry.Co., 9 F.3d 1087 (4th Cir. 1993) (“A
decision of a panel of [the Fourth Circuit] court becomes the law of the circuit and is binding on
other panels unless it is overruled by a subsequent en banc opinion of [the Fourth Circuit] court
or ‘a superseding contrary decision of the Supreme Court.’”) (quoting Busby v. Crown Supply,
Inc., 896 F.2d 833, 840–41 (4th Cir.1990)). Further, Plaintiff appears to argue that the arrest
occurred, “knowing the bench warrant wasn’t facially valid . . . .” (ECF No. 67 at 17).
However, it has been determined that the warrant was indisputably facially valid because it was
not recalled until after his 2014 arrest. (ECF No. 51-4). As the Supreme Court held in Baker v.
McCollan, there was no violation of due process when Plaintiff had been detained on a facially
valid warrant because of an inadvertent mistake. 443 U.S. 137 (1979).
Finally, Plaintiff references two South Carolina statutes—neither of which he raised in
his original or supplemental complaint.
(ECF No. 67 at 18–20).5
However, these new
arguments do not challenge any part of the Report and Plaintiff cannot use objections to plead
new claims not alleged in his complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (providing for “de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations
Plaintiff alleges violation of (1) S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-910, a criminal kidnapping statute and (2) S.C. Code Ann.
§ 22-3-710, a criminal procedure statute.
to which objection is made.”); Backus v. Cox, 2013 WL 5707328, at *2 (D.S.C. Oct. 18, 2013)
(“Plaintiff, however, cannot use his objections to plead new claims or cure the factual defects of
his existing claims . . . .”). Further, Plaintiff’s assertions regarding state criminal statutes do not
alter the analysis of his federal claims.
After a thorough review of the entire record, including the Report and Plaintiff’s
objections in accordance with the standard referenced above, the court overrules Plaintiff’s
objections, adopts the Report, and incorporates it herein by reference. Defendants’ motions for
summary judgment in both cases (ECF No. 51; C/A 8:16-177, ECF No. 27) in regard to
Plaintiff’s federal claims are GRANTED. Further, the court declines to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over any state law claims and remands those claims in Civil Action 8:16-177 to the
Pickens County Court of Common Pleas.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Timothy M. Cain
United States District Judge
October 14, 2016
Anderson, South Carolina
NOTICE OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
The parties are hereby notified of the right to appeal this order pursuant to Rules 3 and 4
of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.
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