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Gregory v. Simms

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

February 18, 2015

Jacoby Jamar Gregory, #XXXXXX-XXX Plaintiff,
v.
Gilbert Simms; Scott Hawkins; Anthony Morton; Fountain Inn Police Department; Leigh B. Paoletti; Greenville County Solicitors Office; Greenville County Detention Center; City of Fountain Inn, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

JACQUELYN D. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

Jacoby Jamar Gregory ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is currently detained in the Greenville County Detention Center ("GCDC"), and he files this action in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The Complaint is subject to summary dismissal.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff claims many legal violations arising from the criminal process and proceedings and his jail conditions based on the following alleged facts. On October 3, 2013, Gilbert Simms ("Simms"), an officer with the Fountain Inn Police Department ("FIPD"), went to Chantee Nelson's house (Plaintiff's girlfriend) and obtained a written statement from her. [Doc. 1 at 4.] Simms used the girlfriend's [phone] number for personal reasons, told her confidential information, attempted to become sexual with her, and persuaded her not to say anything about his conduct. [ Id. ] Simms "intimidated potential witnesses that came to file statements in [Plaintiff's] defense." [ Id. ] Scott Hawkins ("Hawkins"), an officer with the FIPD, also used Nelson's number to attempt to obtain information about Plaintiff's case "or anything else." [ Id. ] Hawkins told Nelson that "the police department was aware [Plaintiff] didn't commit the crime but someone had to be an example, " and he disclosed information to her about Plaintiff's co-defendant and his lawyer. [ Id. ] Further, Hawkins forced Plaintiff into writing a statement. [ Id. ]

Anthony Morton ("Morton") is the Chief of the FIPD. [ Id. ] He told Plaintiff during an interview that he knew Plaintiff did not commit the crime. [ Id. ] Morton also slandered Plaintiff's name and coerced a statement in order to place Plaintiff under arrest. [ Id. ] The FIPD has a history of harassing Plaintiff by filing false evidence and false accusations against him and seizing two of his vehicles, and phones, and towing several of his vehicles. [ Id. ] Additionally, the City of Fountain Inn employs the above police officers and permits them to "pursue such misconduct." [ Id. at 5.]

Leigh Paoletti ("Paoletti") is a Greenville County Assistant Solicitor, and she objected to Plaintiff giving consent to the public defender's office to release information to someone of his choice. [ Id. ] Then, two weeks later Paoletti released information to Plaintiff's children's mother and her mother, told them who Plaintiff converses with and attempted to cause conflict. [ Id. ] Further, Paoletti has omitted certain information to the judge. [ Id. ]

While at the GCDC, Plaintiff has caught staff infection on his cheek and pneumonia. [ Id. ] Some of Plaintiff's property has "come up missing, " and that has not been resolved. [ Id. ]

Based on those facts, Plaintiff contends that Paoletti violated his privacy and committed defamation, libel, and slander. [Doc. 1 at 5; Doc. 1-2 at 1.] He alleges that the FIPD also committed defamation, libel, slander, and private nuisance. [Doc. 1-2 at 1.] In general, he contends harassment, conflict, invasion of privacy, misconduct, false charges and accusations, coercion, false evidence, faulty police methods, violation of due process, loss of employment, mental distress, instability, and depression, loss of property, money, and liberty, illegal search and seizure, family endangerment, false imprisonment, releasing information to people uninvolved in the case, bias, ignoring complaints, delay in the case, and missing events (birth, Christmas, holidays, etc.). [Doc. 1 at 2-3; Doc. 1-2 at 1.] On February 12, 2015, Plaintiff submitted a document seeking to add a claim for breach of contract against the GCDC. [Doc. 1-4.]

For his relief, Plaintiff seeks $2.5 million from Simms, Hawkins, Morton, the FIPD, and the City of Fountain Inn. [Doc. 1 at 6.] He also seeks $2.5 million from Paoletti, the Greenville County Solicitor's Office, and the GCDC. [ Id. ]

This Court takes judicial notice that Plaintiff has pending charges of murder and possession of weapon during a violent crime in the Greenville County Court of General Sessions. See Greenville County 13th Judicial Circuit Public Index, http://www.greenvillecounty.org/SCJD/PublicIndex/PIError.aspx, (enter "Jacoby Jamar Gregory" and "search, " click on "2013A2320200306" and "2013A2320200307" click on "Charges") (last visited Feb. 12, 2015); see also Philips v. Pitt Cnty. Mem. Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009) (courts "may properly take judicial notice of matters of public record."); Colonial Penn Ins. Co. v. Coil, 887 F.2d 1236, 1239 (4th Cir. 1989) ("We note that the most frequent use of judicial notice is in noticing the content of court records.'"). From those records, it appears that he was arrested on those charges on October 4, 2013, and the indictment was true billed on September 16, 2014.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) DSC, the undersigned is authorized to review the Complaint for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court. Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that the action "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, " is "frivolous or malicious, " or "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Further, Plaintiff is a prisoner under the definition in 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), and "seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Thus, even if Plaintiff had prepaid the full filing fee, this Court is charged with screening Plaintiff's lawsuit to identify cognizable claims or to dismiss the Complaint if (1) it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

As a pro se litigant, Plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ( per curiam ). However, even under this less stringent standard, the pro se pleading remains subject to summary dismissal. The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which Plaintiff could prevail, it should do so, but a district court may not rewrite a petition to include claims that were never presented, Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999), or construct Plaintiff's legal arguments for him, Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993), or "conjure up questions never squarely presented" to the court, Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). The requirement of liberal ...


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