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Robertson v. State

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

June 1, 2015

Jason Michael Robertson, Plaintiff,
State of South Carolina, and Greenville County DBA Greenville County Detention Center, Defendants.


MARY GORDON BAKER, Magistrate Judge.

This is a civil action filed pro se by an inmate currently housed at the Kirkland Reception and Evaluation Center, regarding events which occurred while he was a local detention center inmate. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1), and District of South Carolina Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e), this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in such pro se cases and to submit findings and recommendations to the District Court. See 28 U.S.C. § § 1915(e); 1915A (as soon as possible after docketing, district courts should review prisoner cases to determine whether they are subject to summary dismissal).


Jason Michael Robertson ("Plaintiff") has filed a Complaint in which he complains about the medical care he received while housed in the Greenville County Detention Center ("GCDC") in Greenville, South Carolina. In the Complaint now under review, he alleges that he arrived at the GCDC after being in a car accident during which he suffered injury to his right ankle and lower back. He indicates that he was given a wheel chair, an ace bandage and ibuprofen. He received an x-ray approximately one week later and indicates that he was told that he had a sprained ankle. He alleges that after two and one half months his ankle is still "swollen, painful and discolored". He acknowledges that he has been seen by GCDC's nurse practioner who indicated that "it takes severe sprains up to 90 days to heal." Plaintiff believes that he has a "hairline fracture or something other than a severe sprained ankle." Despite his indication that he was given ibuprofen, he states that GCDC has refused to provide him pain medications. He would like for this court to order the GCDC to provide "actual doctors for diagnosis, " and that he be seen by a local specialist. Compl. 4, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff names the State of South Carolina, and Greenville County DBA the Greenville County Detention Center as Defendants in his case.


Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of Plaintiff's pro se Complaint filed in this case. This review has been conducted pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § § 1915, 1915A, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, and in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Md. House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); Boyce v. Alizaduh, 595 F.2d 948 (4th Cir. 1979).

Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). When a federal court is evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 630n.1 (4th Cir. 2003). Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that this Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990). Even under this less stringent standard, the Complaint filed in this case is subject to summary dismissal under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).


A. The State of South Carolina

As to Defendant State of South Carolina, any § 1983 claim sought to be raised against it by Plaintiff is barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution divests this Court of jurisdiction to entertain a suit for damages brought against the State of South Carolina or its integral parts. The Eleventh Amendment provides:

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

See Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999); College Savs. Bank v. Florida Prepaid Educ. Expense Bd., 527 U.S. 666 (1999); Bellamy v. Borders, 727 F.Supp. 247, 248-50 (D.S.C. 1989); Coffin v. South Carolina Dep't of Social Servs., 562 F.Supp. 579, 583-585 (D.S.C. 1983). The State of South Carolina has not consented to suit in federal court and, accordingly, no plausible federal claim is stated against it. See S.C. Code Ann. §15-78-20(e) (providing that South Carolina does not waive Eleventh Amendment immunity, consents to suit only in a South Carolina state court, and does not consent to suit in a federal court or in a court of another state).

B. Greenville County DBA as Greenville County Detention Center

Additionally, the Complaint should be summarily dismissed insofar as it names Greenville County Detention Center as a Defendant. To state a plausible claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, [1] an aggrieved party must sufficiently allege that he or she was injured by "the deprivation of any [of his or her] rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the [United States] Constitution and laws" by a "person" acting "under color of state law." See 42 U.S.C. § 1983; see generally 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1230 (2002). ...

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