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Holliday v. Aiken County Detention Center

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division

June 22, 2016

Joshua Mark Holliday, #108046, Plaintiff,
v.
Aiken County Detention Center, Robert Williams, Almaz Clark, Defendants.

          Joshua Mark Holliday, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          THOMAS E. ROGERS, III, Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff, a detention center detainee, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) DSC, the undersigned is authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit findings and recommendations to a district judge. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that Defendant Aiken County Detention Center be dismissed from this case without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. In a separately docketed order, the undersigned has authorized service of the complaint against Defendants Robert Williams and Almaz Clark.

         BACKGROUND

         Joshua Mark Holliday ("Plaintiff"), an Aiken County Detention Center detainee, asserts that on January 21, 2016 he was involved in an accident that required him to have surgery. Following surgery, Plaintiff contends that he had an open wound and that he was returned to the general population placing him in "harms way". (ECF No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff also contends that he "repeatedly" ask for medication prescribed by his surgeon but that Defendant Almaz Clark refused to provide his medication. Id. Finally, he contends that Defendant Dr. Robert Williams has refused to provide him with follow up treatment. Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from Defendants.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Plaintiff filed this complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal court without prepaying the administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. To protect against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the action fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted or is frivolous or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (B)(I), (ii). A finding of frivolity can be made where the complaint lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31, 112 S.Ct. 1728, 118 L.Ed.2d 340 (1992). A claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989); Allison v. Kyle, 66 F.3d 71, 73 (5th Cir.1995). 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). 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, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007). When a federal court is evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. Fine v. City of N.Y., 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir.1975). 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 the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the 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'of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir.1990).

         Discussion

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40 (1988). As an initial matter, Defendant Aiken County Detention Center is not a proper defendant in this case. As indicated above, it is well settled that only "persons" may act under color of state law, therefore, a defendant in a § 1983 action must qualify as a "person." For example, several courts have held that inanimate objects such as buildings, facilities, and grounds do not act under color of state law. See Allison v. California Adult Auth., 419 F.2d 822, 823 (9th Cir.1969) (California Adult Authority and San Quentin Prison not "persons" subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983); Brooks v. Pembroke City Jail, 722 F.Supp. 1294, 1301(E.D. N.C. 1989) ("Claims under § 1983 are directed at persons' and the jail is not a person amenable to suit."). Cf. Roach v. West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility, 74 F.3d 46, 48 (4th Cir.1996). As a facility used primarily to house pretrial detainees, the Aiken County Detention Center is not a "person" amenable to suit under § 1983. Therefore, this Defendant is entitled to summary dismissal from the instant action.

         Conclusion

         Accordingly, it is recommended that Defendant Aiken County Detention Center be dismissed from this case without prejudice and ...


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