Hamm v. Scaturo et al
ORDER adopting Report and Recommendations of Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant; finding as moot 34 Motion to Deny Dispositive Motions; granting 35 Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs remaining state law claims forbreach of contract and/or breach of trust are remanded to the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas in Richland County. Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 8/29/2017.(cwhi, )
UNITED ST ATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Michael E. Hamm,
Case No.: 9:16-cv-2960
ORDER AND OPINION
Ms. Holly Scaturo, Director; NFN
Poholochck, Assistant Program
Coordinator-BMC; NFN Helff, BMC;
Dr. Gothard, Psychologist; NFN Jones,
CM/CC; Captain Abney, Dept. of Public
Safety; Bryant Morton, Supervisor
Activity Therapy; NFN Haley, Governor
of State of South Carolina; State of South
Carolina Department of Mental Health,,
This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("R. & R.") of the
Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 43) recommending that this Court grant Defendants' motion for
summary judgment (Dkt. No. 35) with respect to Plaintiff's claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
remand Plaintiff's remaining state law claims to state court. For the reasons set forth below, this
Court adopts the R. & R. (Dkt. No. 43) as the order of the Court. Defendants' motion for
summary judgment (Dkt. No. 35) is granted as to Plaintiff's § 1983 claims. Plaintiff's state law
claims are remanded to state court.
Plaintiff is civilly committed at the South Carolina Department of Mental Health pursuant
to South Carolina' s Sexually Violent Predator Act, S.C. Code Ann. §§ 44-48-10 et. seq. Plaintiff,
proceeding pro se, claims that he has been subject to inadequate treatment (for several reasons,
including that his treatment sessions were sometimes cancelled) and frequent lockdowns in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff also alleges state law claims for breach of contract and/or
breach of trust. The Magistrate has provided a thorough summary of the facts of this case, so the
Court need not repeat them in detail here. (Dkt. No. 43 at 2-9.)
a. Pro Se Pleadings
This Court liberally construes complaints filed by pro se litigants to allow the
development of a potentially meritorious case. See Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972); Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the
Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege facts which set forth a viable federal
claim, nor can the Court assume the existence of a genuine issue of material fact where none
exists. See Weller v. Dep 't of Social Services, 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).
b. Magistrate's Report and Recommendation
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation
has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). This Court is charged with
making a de nova determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which
specific objection is made. Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in
part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l).
Where a plaintiff fails to file any specific objections, "a district court need not conduct a de nova
review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in
order to accept the recommendation." See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416
F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted).
The Magistrate evaluated Plaintiffs allegations in detail and determined that Defendants
are entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs constitutional claims. (Dkt. No. 10-18.) Plaintiff
has filed Objections to the R. & R. in which he restates what he considers to be the constitutional
questions he has raised and asks that his state claims be remanded to the lower court. (Dkt. No.
45.) The Court has reviewed these Objections and determined that they are not specific to the
Magistrate's R. & R. For this reason, the Court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error
on the face of the record. The Court finds that the Magistrate has correctly applied the
controlling law to the facts of this case.
For the reasons set forth above, this Court adopts the R. & R. (Dkt. No. 43) as the order of
the Court. Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 35) is granted with respect to
Plaintiffs claims arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs remaining state law claims for
breach of contract and/or breach of trust are remanded to the South Carolina Court of Common
Pleas in Richland County.
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.
United States District Court Judge
)Jr , 201 7
Charleston, South Carolina
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