Scott v. S. Health Partners, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-00047-RMG

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtRichard M. Gergel United States District Judge
PartiesJohnathan Scott Plaintiff, v. Southern Health Partners, Inc., Defendant.
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 1:18-00047-RMG
Decision Date20 July 2020

Johnathan Scott Plaintiff,
Southern Health Partners, Inc., Defendant.

Civil Action No. 1:18-00047-RMG


July 20, 2020


This mater comes before the Court upon the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of the Magistrate Judge, recommending the Court remand the case to the Marion County Court of Common Pleas. (Dkt. No. 119). For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the R & R as the Order of the Court.

I. Background

On December 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant action in the Marion County Court of Common Pleas against Defendants County of Marion, South Carolina; the Marion County Detention Center; the Marion County Sheriff's Office; Former Sheriff Mark W. Richardson; Frank Anthony Gibbons; and Southern Health Partners, Inc. ("Southern Health Partners"). (Dkt. No. 1-1). Plaintiff brought claims for: (1) assault and battery; (2) negligence and gross negligence; (3) negligent hiring, supervision, and training; (4) outrage; (5) Fourth Amendment Violation; (6) First Amendment Violation; (7) Fourteenth Amendment Violation; (8) Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and (9) medical malpractice asserted against Southern Health Partners.

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(Dkt. No. 1-1). Plaintiff alleges Defendants utilized excessive force against him amongst other violations while he was housed at the Marion County Detention Center.1

On January 5, 2018, Defendants Marion County, Marion County Detention Center, Marion County Sheriff's Office, Former Sheriff Mark W. Richardson, and Frank Anthony Gibbons ("Marion County Defendants") removed the case to the District of South Carolina on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 1 at 1-5). Southern Health did not join the removal or file a consent for removal.

On January 21, 2020, Plaintiff filed a motion to remand informing the Court that "Plaintiff has settled and resolved all claims with all Defendants, excepting Defendant Southern Health Partners, Inc. [for medical malpractice], and accordingly have resolved all federal questions and issues." (Dkt. No. 80 at 1). On February 4, 2020, Southern Health Partners filed a response in opposition to Plaintiff's motion to remand. (Dkt. No.88). On February 5, 2020, Plaintiff filed a stipulation of dismissal indicating Plaintiff reached a settlement with Marion County Defendants. (Dkt. No. 90). Southern Health Partners is the sole remaining Defendant in this case and the only remaining cause of action is Plaintiff's medical malpractice claim against

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this Defendant. (Dkt. No. 102 at 8).2 On May 25, 2020, the Magistrate Judge issued an R & R recommending the Court remand Plaintiff's medical malpractice claim to the Marion County Court of Common Pleas. (Dkt. No. 119). Southern Heath filed objections to the R & R on June 9, 2020. (Dkt. No. 120). Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to Southern Health's objections (Dkt. No. 121) and Southern Health filed a reply. (Dkt. No.122 ). The matter is ripe for the Court's review.

II. Legal Standard

The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court that has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). 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)(1). This Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R Plaintiff specifically objects. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2). Where Plaintiff fails to file any specific objections, "a district court need not conduct a de novo 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." Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted). "Moreover, in the absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the recommendation." Wilson v. S.C. Dept of Corr., No. 9:14-CV-4365-RMG, 2015 WL 1124701, at *1 (D.S.C. Mar. 12, 2015). See also Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir.1983). Southern Health Partners filed objections in this case, and the R & R is reviewed for de novo.

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III. Discussion

Upon a careful review of the record, the Court finds the Magistrate Judge comprehensively addressed Plaintiff's motion for remand and ably concluded the Court should remand Plaintiff's sole remaining medical malpractice claim to state court. A defendant may remove a state court action to a federal district court if the state court action could have been filed originally in a federal district court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Generally, a case may be filed in federal district court if there is federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 or diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

On January 5, 2018, the Marion County Defendants removed this case to federal court solely on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. (Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 5). On January 21, 2020, Plaintiff filed a motion to remand indicating he settled with the Marion County Defendants and is no longer pursing any federal claims, leaving one remaining medical malpractice claim against Southern Health Partners. (Dkt. No. 80 at 1); (Dkt. No. 102 at 8). Southern Health Partners objects to the R & R on the basis that the Plaintiff's stipulation of dismissal is null and void because it is not signed by Southern Health Partners as party that appeared in the action. (Id.)3

Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a "plaintiff may dismiss an action without a court order by filing . . . a stipulation of dismissal signed by all parties who have appeared." FED. R. CIV. P. 41(a)(1)(A)(iii). Except a provided under Rule 41(a)(1), "an action

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may be dismissed at the plaintiff's request only by court order, on terms that the court considers proper." FED. R. CIV. P. 41(a)(2). Some courts have declined to give legal effect to a stipulation of dismissal that has not been signed by all parties that appeared in the action. Alholm v. Am. S.S. Co., 167 F.R.D. 75, 79 (D. Minn. 1996). At the same time, case law establishes that a representation of a settlement to the district court between the plaintiff and some but not all of the co-defendants in a case and an agreement that a plaintiff will not further prosecute his or her claim against the settling co-defendants, "is tantamount to a stipulation of dismissal" under Rule 41. Oswalt v. Scripto, Inc., 616 F.2d 191, 194 (5th Cir. 1980). Once the...

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