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Walker v. Miles

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

August 25, 2014

David Richard Walker, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
Dr. William Miles and Correct Care Solutions, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

JACQUELYN D. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. [Doc. 48.] Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), D.S.C., this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in cases filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and to submit findings and recommendations to the District Court.

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, brings this action against Dr. William Miles and Correct Care Solutions (collectively, "Defendants"). [Doc. 1.] Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment on July 25, 2014. [Doc. 48.] By Order filed the same day pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Plaintiff was advised of the summary judgment procedure and the possible consequences if he failed to adequately respond to the motion. [Doc. 49.] Plaintiff filed a document, which the Clerk of Court construed as a response in opposition, [1] on August 6, 2014, and another response on August 11, 2014. [Docs. 60, 65.] Defendants filed a reply on August 18, 2014. [Doc. 68.] The motion is ripe for review.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, who is a pretrial detainee in the Lexington County Detention Center ("LCDC"), filed this § 1983 action alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. [Doc. 1.] In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he has been denied proper medical care from the time he was detained on March 4, 2013. [Doc. 1 at 3.] He claims he requested medical care on approximately forty different occasions and was seen only four times. [ Id. ] When he was seen by medical staff, Plaintiff asserts the visits lasted less than five minutes. [ Id. ] Plaintiff states he is experiencing pain and suffering as a result of several medical conditions that require monitoring, including deep vein thrombosis and blood clots in his lungs. [Doc. 1 at 3-4.] Plaintiff asks the Court to grant him a declaration that the acts and omission violate his rights and preliminary and permanent injunctions. [Doc. 1 at 5.] He also requests $30, 000 in compensatory damages, $700 per day in compensatory damages for pain and suffering and mental anguish, attorneys fees and costs, a jury trial, and any other relief the Court deems equitable. [ Id. ]

APPLICABLE LAW

Liberal Construction of Pro Se Complaint

Plaintiff brought this action pro se, which requires the Court to liberally construe his pleadings. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291, 1295 (4th Cir. 1978); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Haines, 404 U.S. at 520. Even under this less stringent standard, however, the pro se complaint is still subject to summary dismissal. Id. at 520-21. The mandated liberal construction means only that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the petitioner could prevail, it should do so. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999). A court may not construct the plaintiff's legal arguments for him. Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993). Nor should a court "conjure up questions never squarely presented." Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

Requirements for a Cause of Action Under § 1983

This action is filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a private cause of action for constitutional violations by persons acting under color of state law. Section 1983 "is not itself a source of substantive rights, ' but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.'" Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)). Accordingly, a civil action under § 1983 allows "a party who has been deprived of a federal right under the color of state law to seek relief." City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687, 707 (1999).

Section 1983 provides, in relevant part,

"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or any person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress..."

42 U.S.C. § 1983. To establish a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must prove two elements: (1) that the defendant "deprived [the plaintiff] of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States" and (2) that the defendant "deprived [the plaintiff] of this constitutional right under color of [State] statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage." Mentavlos v. Anderson, 249 F.3d 301, 310 (4th Cir. 2001) (third alteration in original) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

The under-color-of-state-law element, which is equivalent to the "state action" requirement ...


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