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STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA )

) IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS


COUNTY OF DORCHESTER )
)
Joseph Levem McFadden, ) CIVIL ACTION COVERSHEET
Plaintiff(s) )
) C/ANo.: 2018-CP-18- ulfo
vs. )
)
South Carolina Department of Corrections, Michael )
McCall and Bryan Sterling, in their individual )
capacities, )
'·2>.<.
·". J .,
'c,,\·\
Defendant(s) ) 1:,~;j_
~<·,- ,
Submitted By: Ryan K. Hicks/Samantha E. Albrecht SC Bar#: 100941 1102642•;.J s·
Address: CROMER BABB PORTER & HICKS, LLC Telephone #: (803) 799-9530 ~ >. ...
P.O. Box 11675 Fax#: (803) 799-9533 ~-----· _,
Columbia, SC 29211 E-mail: ryan(~cbphlaw .com~
samantha(ft,cbphlaw.com
NOTE: The coversheet and information contained herein neither replaces nor supplements the filing and service of pleadings or other papers as required by law.
This form is required for the use of the Clerk of Court for the purpose of docketing cases that are NOT E-Filed. It must be filled out completely, signed, and dated.
A copy of this coversheet must be served on the defendant(s) along with the Summons and Complaint. This form Is NOT required to be filed In E-Flled Cases.
DOCKETING INFORMATION ( Check all that apply)
*If Action is Judgment/Settlement do not complete
181 JURY TRIAL demanded in complaint. 0 NON-JURY TRIAL demanded in complaint.
D This case is subject to ARBITRATION pursuant to the Court Annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules.
181 This case is subject to MEDIATION pursuant to the Court Annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules.
D This case is exempt from ADR. (Proof of ADR/Exemption Attached)
NATURE OF ACTION (Check One Box Below)
Contracts Torts - Professional Malpractice Torts - Personal Injury Real Property
• Constructions ( I 00)
• Dental Malpractice (200)
• Conversion (310)
• Claim & Delivery (400)
• Debt Collection (110)
• Legal Malpractice (210)
• Motor Vehicle Accident (320)
• Condemnation (410)
• General ( 130)
• Medical Malpractice (220)
• Premises Liability (330)
• Foreclosure (420)
• Breach of Contract ( 140) Previous Notice of Intent Case#
• Products Liability (340)
• Mechanic's Lien (430)
• Fraud/Bad Faith (ISO) 20_-NI-_ _
• Personal Injwy (350)
• Partition (440)
• Failure to Deliver/
• Notice/ File Med Mal (230)
• Wrongful Death (360)
• Possession (4 50)
Wanunty (160)
• Other(299) • Assault/Battery (3 70)
• Building Code Violation (460)
• Employment Discrim (170)
• Slander/Libel (380)
• Other(499)
181 Employment ( 180)
• Other (399)
• Other(l99)

Inmate Pedtions Admlrustratlve Law/Relief Judgments/Settlements Appeals


• PCR(500)
• Reinstate Orv. License (800)
• Death Settlement (700)
• Arbitration (900)
• Mandamus (520)
• Judicial Review (810)
• Foreign Judgment (710)
• Magistrate-Civil (910)
• Habeas Coq>us (530)
• Relief(820)
• Magistrate's Judgment (720)
• Magistrate-Criminal (920)
• Other(599)
• Permanent Injunction (830)
• Minor Settlement (730)
• Municipal (930)
• Forfeiture-Petition (840)
• Transcript Judgment (740)
• Probate Court (940)
• Forfeiture-Consent Order (850)
• Lis Pendens (750)
• SCDOT(950)
• Other(899)
• Transfer of Structured
• Worker's Comp (960)
Settlement Payment Rights
• Zoning Board (970)
Application (760)
• Public Service Comm. (990)
Special/Complex /Other
• Confession of Judgment (770)
• Employment Security Comm (991)
• Environmental (600)
• Phannaceuticals (630)
• Petition for Workers
• Automobile Arb. (610)
• Unfair Trade Practices (640) Compensation Settlement
Approval (780) • Other(999)

• Medical (620)
• Out-of State Depositions (650) 0 Incapacitated Adult Settlement
(790)
• Other(699) • Motion to Quash Subpoena in
an Out-of-County Action (660)
• Sexual Predator (5 I 0)
• Pre-Suit Discovery (670)
0 Other(799)
0 Permanent Restraining Order (680)
0 lnterpleader (690)

Submitting Party Signature: _;~,;..~=:;:~~~?;c-=,=-------- Date: April 5, 2018

SCCA I 234 (02/2018) Page 1 of2


Note: Frivolous civil proceedings may be subject to sanctions pursuant to SCRCP, Rule 11, and the South Carolina Frivolous
Civil Proceedings Sanctions Act, S.C. Code Ann. §15-36-10 et. seq.

Effective January 1, 2016, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is mandatory in all counties, pursuant
to Supreme Court Order dated November 12, 2015.

SUPREME COURT RULES REQUIRE THE SUBMISSION OF ALL CIVIL CASES TO AN ALTERNATIVE
DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS, UNLESS OTHERWISE EXEMPT.

Pursuant to the ADR Rules, you are required to take the following action(s):

1. The parties shall select a neutral and file a "Proof of ADR" form on or by the 210th day of the filing of this
action. If the parties have not selected a neutral within 210 days, the Clerk of Court shall then appoint a
primary and secondary mediator from the current roster on a rotating basis from among those mediators
agreeing to accept cases in the county in which the action has been filed.

2. The initial ADR conference must be held within 300 days after the filing of the action.

3. Pre-suit medical malpractice mediations required by S.C. Code §15-79-125 shall be held not later than 120
days after all defendants are served with the ''Notice of Intent to File Suit" or as the court directs.

4. Cases are exempt from ADR only upon the following grounds:

a. Special proceeding, or actions seeking extraordinary relief such as mandamus, habeas corpus, or
prohibition;

b. Requests for temporary relief;

c. Appeals

d. Post Conviction relief matters;

e. Contempt of Court proceedings;

f. Forfeiture proceedings brought by governmental entities;

g. Mortgage foreclosures; and

h. Cases that have been previously subjected to an ADR conference, unless otherwise required by
Rule 3 or by statute.

5. In cases not subject to ADR, the Chief Judge for Administrative Purposes, upon the motion of the court or
of any party, may order a case to mediation.

6. Motion of a party to be exempt from payment of neutral fees due to indigency should be filed with the
Court within ten (10) days after the ADR conference has been concluded.

Please Note: You must comply with the Supreme Court Rules regarding ADR.
Failure to do so may affect your case or may result in sanctions.

SCCA I 234 (02/2018) Page2 of2


STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
IN THE FIRST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
COUNTY OF DORCHESTER CASE NO. 2018-CP-18- {Ql.JQ

Joseph Levern McFadden,

Plaintiff,
SUMMONS
v.
. '\

South Carolina Department of Corrections,


Michael McCall and Bryan Sterling, in their >
individual capacities,

Defendants.

TO THE DEFENDANTS ABOVE NAMED:

YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED and required to answer the Complaint herein, a copy

of which is served upon you, and to serve a copy of your answer to this Complaint upon the

subscriber at the address shown below within thirty (30) days (thirty-five (35) days if served by

United States Mail) after service hereof, exclusive of the date of such service, and if you fail to

answer the Complaint, judgment by default will be rendered against you for the relief demanded

in the Complaint.

CROMER BABB PORTER & HICKS, LLC

BY: ~ = = - -
~ mer(#l470)
Ryan K. Hicks (#100941)
Samantha E. Albrecht (#102642)
1418 Laurel Street, Suite A
Post Office Box 11675 (29211 )
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Phone 803-799-9530
Fax 803-799-9533
Attorney for Plaintiff
April 5, 2018
Columbia, South Carolina
STA1E OF SOUIH CAROUNA IN 11-IE COURT OF CO:MMON PLEAS
FOR 11-IE FIRST JUDIOAL ORCUIT
COUNTY OF DORCHES1ER CASE NO. 201s-a>-1s- lo4 o

Joseph Levem McFadden,

Plaintiff, COMPLAINT
Oury Trial Demanded)
v.

South Carolina Department of C.Orrections,


:Michael McCall and Bryan Sterling, in their
individual capacities,

Defendants.

EMPLOYMENT CASE

Plaintiff,Joseph LevemMcFadden, complaining of the Defendants herein, respectfully alleges

as follows:

PARTIES & JURISDICTION

1. Plaintiff, Joseph Levem McFadden (hereinafter "Plaintiff'), is a resident and citizen of

Oar-endon C.Ounty, South Carolina, and was formerly employed by the Defendant, South Carolina

Deparunent of C.Orrections.

2. Defendant, South Carolina Department of C.Orrections (hereinafter "Defendant SCDC') is a

state agency, headquartered in Richland C.Ounty, South Carolina, tasked with confining and

rehabilitating offenders in controlled facilities throughout the State of South Carolina.

3. Defendant, :Michael McCall (hereinafter "Defendant McCall"), upon information and belief,

is a citizen and resident of Richland C.Ounty, South C.arolina and worked for Defendant SCDC as a

Deputy Director at all times mentioned herein.

4. Defendant, Bryan Stirling (hereinafter "Defendant Stirling"), upon information and belief, is

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a citizen and resident of Richland County, South Gu-olina and worked for Defendant SCDC as its

.St:ate Director at all times mentioned herein.

5. This action arises under the statutory and common law of South Gu-olina.

6. The events giving rise to this action occurred in Clarendon County, the panies have sufficient

connections to Clarendon County, and jurisdiction is proper.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

7. Plaintiff, Joseph McFadden, is a citizen and resident of Clarendon County.

8. Plaintiff began working for Defendant SCDC in 1994; most recently Plaintiff has served as

the Warden at Palmer Work Release C.enter.

9. Outside of the events discussed herein, Plaintiff maintained an exemplary work record with

Defendant SCDC and was subjected to minimal disciplinary action during his employment, if any.

10. In 2011, Plaintiff was transferred from Palmer Pre-Release C.enter to Lieber Correctional

Institute (hereinafter "Lieber"). Lieber his classified as a Level III correctional facility.

11. In 2012, Plaintiff was promoted to Warden of Lieber Correctional Institute, and was named

manager of the year in his first year as Warden.

12. Although Plaintiff was supposed to receive an initial staning salary of $86,000 as Warden,

Plaintiff only received $77,000 - a substantially lower wage than any new warden.

13. Upon taking over as Warden, Plaintiff was tasked with improving the conditions at Lieber,

including, but not limited to, staff shortages, staff training, building condition of the institution, and

more, which he accomplished over the years of his command. Plaintiff was fwther appointed by

Defendant McCall to serve as the team leader over all Level III wardens.

14. On or about July 4, 2017, for the first time under his command, an inmate, Jimmy Causey

(hereinafter "Causey'), escaped from Lieber.

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15. In peninent part, the shift supervisor, Lieutenant Barbara Wright, did not conduct an

appropriate role count and/ or visual inspection that day.

16. Because the count was not handled pursuant to policy and training, Causey, a prior escapee of

Broad River C.Orrectional Institute, escaped through the recreation field and left a dummy in bed to

appear as if he had not escaped

17. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff and his staff, Defendant smc had classified Causey, despite his

criminal record, including his prior escape, in such a way that placed him into the general population.

18. Notwithstanding, at the time of the erroneous count, Lieber was operating with approximately

fifteen (15) officers. The minimum number of officers deemed necessary to run the institution was

twenty-six (26); however, it was recommended to have forty-two (42) officers.

19. This shortage of officers is/was agencywide and was not limited to Lieber.

20. Plaintiff was not working at the time of the escape, nor did he have any involvement in the

cause of the escape.

21. On July 5, 2017, Defendant McCall telephoned Plaintiff to advise that that Causey had escaped

and advised Plaintiff that a fence in the facility was cut during the escape.

22. Plaintiff subsequently closed the yard, checked the inmate's cell, made the report of a missing

inmate, and began perfonning a perimeter sweep in an attempt to locate Causey.

23. Causey was apprehended approximately two (2) days later.

24. Initially, Defendant McCall instructed Plaintiff to fire every employee of Lieber that was

working at the time of the escape. Plaintiff advised Defendant McCall that doing so would result in

terminating approximately 11-14 employees - some of whom had indirect involvement in the escape

whatsoever.

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25. Shonly thereafter, Plaintiff's direct supeIVisor, Bernard McKie (hereinafter "McKie"), notified

Plaintiff that he would like likely receive corrective action as a result of the incident despite not being

on-duty at the time of the escape. McKie's reasoning was that Plaintiff's "name was on the sign."

26. During their conversation, McKie further informed Plaintiff that "these people are trying to

fire you." McKie's comment directly referenced Defendants McCall and Stirling.

27. At or around this same time, Defendant SCDC performed a shakedown at Lieber. This

shakedown revealed no deficiencies or errors on the part of Plaintiff or his supeIVisory staff.

28. Plaintiff then requested a meeting with Defendant McCall to discuss the proposed corrective

action to be issued Defendant SCDC employees, including himself.

29. The meeting was attended by Plaintiff, SCDC Attorney Stephen Lunsford, 3-4 Police Semces

Representatives, Defendant McCall, and McKie.

30. Following the meeting, auditors were immediately sent from the Division of Security to assess

the status of Lieber. The auditors reponed trivial findings such as unsigned log books and trash in the

yard.

31. Plaintiff never received a copy of the audit repon so that he could review and/ or respond to

the pwponed findings.

32. In late July 2017, after conclusion of the audit, Defendant McCall called Plaintiff on morning

and advised that he would be contacted by Police Semces. Plaintiff inquired as to if he needed to

come into work and was told in the affinnative.

33. That same day, while at Lieber, Plaintiff was met by Joel Anderson, a security employee for

Defendant SCDC, who seIVed Plaintiff with correction action citing only the Audit. The corrective

action did not address and/ or mention the Causey escape.

34. Plaintiff was charged with "negligence in the line of duty' and received a write up in his

personnel file.

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35. On or about August 3, 2017, Plaintiff attended a hearing on his corrective action in which

Defendant NkCall instructed Plaintiff to respond. Plaintiff was questioned about the audit but was

given no time to answer Defendant McCall's questions.

36. Plaintiff was fwther questioned about the escape and wrote a statement outlining his minimal

knowledge of the details of the escape.

37. At the conclusion of the corrective action hearing, Plaintiff was given only two options by

Defendant McCall: (1) accept an Associate Warden position at Kershaw C.Orrectional including a

substantial demotion in pay; or (2) accept a Warden position at Palmer Work Release Center, a much

smaller facility.

38. Plaintiff accepted the Warden position at Palmer.

39. Notably, while Plaintiff was meeting with McCall, Defendants had already placed Joel

Anderson as the Interim Warden at Lieber.

40. Defendant SCDC also immediately notified local media outlets that Plaintiff and his Associate

Warden,James Blackwell, who was also not working at the time of the Causey escape, were responsible

for the same.

FOR A FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION


AGAINST THE DEFENDANT SCDC
(Defamation)

41. Plaintiff realleges the paragraphs herein as if verbatim, where not inconsistent herewith.

42. At all times herein, Defendant SCDC knew or should have known the allegations and charges

against Plaintiff that he was responsible or had been the cause of the Causey escape were baseless in

fact, false, and recklessly disregarded the truth in taking personnel action against the Plaintiff.

43. The accusations of Defendant SCDC, including, but not limited to, publicly identifying

Plaintiff and Blackwell as the cause of the Causey escape, and otherwise being incompetent as the

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Warden of Lieber, as discussed herein, and actions associated herewith have defamed the Plaintiff by

a~tions as well ~ words.


44. Such statements were false and known to be false by Defendant SQ)C at the time they were

made. Defendant SQ)C was aware that Plaintiff was not present at the time of the Causey escape,

and that Plaintiff had specifically trained his officers on the proper manner to conduct a count as

evidenced in the audit.

45. Such statements were rnaliciouslypublished by Defendant SffiCto the Plaintiff's co-workers,

colleagues, subordinates, and the public at-large. Such publication was made with malice, mean-spirit,

and without justification.

46. Further, such statements and acts are defamatory per se as they accuse the Plaintiff of

incompetence in his profession{s).

47. Plaintiff has suffered severe reputational loss both professionally and personally; Defendant

smc caused and is liable to him for the same.


48. As a direct and proximate result of the defamatory conduct, the Plaintiff has suffered

reputational loss, been embarrassed, humiliated, and has sustained mental anguish. The Plaintiff is

entitled to an award of actual damages against Defendant SffiC including damages for emotional

pain and suffering, in amounts to be determined by a jury. Plaintiff is further entitled to an award of

reasonable attorneys fees and costs for this action.

FOR A SECOND AND SEPARATE CAUSE OF ACTION


AGAINST DEFENDANTS McCALL AND STIRLING
(Civil C.Onspirac~

49. Plaintiff realleges the paragraphs above as if set forth herein verbatim, where not inconsistent

herewith.

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50. At various times and places, the individual Defendants have met, schemed, planned, and

conspired with one another to harass, demean, threaten, cUtd o_!:herwi$e harm Plaintiff in his career and

well-being; in so doing they have caused him separate special damages.

51. The individual Defendants acted upon their own personal agendas and for their own personal

benefits and well-being. To wit:

a. Defendants McCall and Stirling were fully aware that Plaintiff had no involvement and

was not the cause of the Causey escape;

b. Defendants McCall and Stirling knew that in their capacities they could not issue Plaintiff

corrective action for the Causey escape because of his non-involvement;

c. Defendants McCall and Stirling knew it was enor on their part to have Causey placed into

general population, further contributing to his ability to escape from a correctional facility

agam;

d Defendants McCall and Stirling sought to identify a supervisory level employee to seive

as a scapegoat to the public at-large to be identified as the person responsible for the

Causey escape;

e. Defendants McCall and Stirling avoided their responsibilities for the Causey escape

because of fear for their own job(s).

52. The individual Defendants prepared a pretextual, manufactured complaint against Plaintiff in

order to take corrective action against him to portray him as the cause of the Causey escape externally

and to further avoid their own responsibilities.

53. Plaintiff was further informed by McKie that Defendants McCall and Stirling "wanted Plaintiff

fired"

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54. Such actions on the part of the individual Defendants were outside the course and scope of

~mpl9~J!t ;µiq c.µri~d OlJt with me intent tQ hami Plaintiff. Be~au.s~ pf their positions within

Defendant SCDC they were able to cause Plaintiff special damages.

55. The individual Defendants, named herein, and possibly others have engaged in an unlawful

conspiracy and combination of persons to cause the Plaintiff special damages which could not

otherwise have been inflicted upon him for which they are liable.

56. That as a direct and proximate result of the wrongful civil conspiracy referred to herein, the

Plaintiff has been ostracized and blacklisted, has sustained a further loss of income as a result of his

involuntary transfer to Palmer, embarrassment, humiliation, and mental suffering and is entitled to an

award of punitive damages from the individual Defendants, in their individual capacities, for their

malicious, mean-spirited, and bad faith actions. The Plaintiff is also entitled to reasonable attorneys

fees and costs for this action.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Joseph Levern McFadden prays for judgment against Defendants,

jointly and severally, in amounts equal to the sum of his actual damages, including embarrassment and

suffering, as well as punitive damages, in amounts to be determined by a jury, together with an award

of reasonable attorneys fees and costs of this action, and for any such other and further relief as this

Honorable C.oun deems just and proper.

(Signature Block on Next Page)

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CROMER BABB PORTER & HICKS, LLC

BY: a:: (# 1470)


Ryan K. I-nck.5 (# 100941)
Samantha E. Albrecht (# 102642)
1418 Laurel Street, Ste. A
Post Office Box 11675
C.Olurnbia, South C.arolina 29211
Phone 803-799-9530
Fax 803-799-9533
Ryan@cbphlaw.com
Samantha@cbphlaw.com

Attom~sfor Plaintiff

April ~ , 2018
C.Olurnbia, South C.arolina