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Booker v. Graham

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

August 31, 2016

PATRICK L. BOOKER, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICIA GRAHAM, ANDERSON BLUE, ERIC BROWN, FREDERICK FORD, ANNIE SELLERS, EUGENE HOWARD, WILLIE EAGLETON, CHARLES WEST, LEON LOTT, JOHN DOE, Defendants.

          Patrick L. Booker, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

          Patricia Graham, Defendant, represented by Daniel R. Settana, Jr., McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley & Janet Brooks Holmes, McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley.

          Eric Brown, Corrections Officer, Defendant, represented by Daniel R. Settana, Jr., McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley & Janet Brooks Holmes, McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley.

          Anderson Blue, Corrections Officer, Defendant, represented by Daniel R. Settana, Jr., McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley & Janet Brooks Holmes, McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley.

          Fredrick Ford, Corrections Officer, Defendant, represented by Daniel R. Settana, Jr., McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley & Janet Brooks Holmes, McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley.

          Leon Lott, Defendant, represented by Robert David Garfield, Davidson Morrison and Lindemann.

          Annie Sellers, Defendant, represented by Daniel R. Settana, Jr., McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley & Janet Brooks Holmes, McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley.

          Eugene Heyward, Defendant, represented by Daniel R. Settana, Jr., McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley & Janet Brooks Holmes, McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley.

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

          MARY GORDON BAKER, Magistrate Judge.

         This is a civil action filed by a pro se litigant currently in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDC"). The Plaintiff alleges that he was transported by SCDC in a van without a seatbelt or other proper safety restraints. (Dkt. No. 60.) The Plaintiff alleges that the drivers of the van exceeded 85 miles per hour and drove recklessly. ( Id. ) Under Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, pretrial proceedings in this action have been referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge. This matter is before the court on the Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint on Behalf of Newly Added Defendants Willie Eagleton and Charles West.[1] (Dkt. No. 65.) The undersigned finds that the Second Amended Complaint fails to state a claim against Defendants Eagleton and West and recommends that their Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 65) be granted.

         The Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint on February 26, 2016. (Dkt. No. 60.) The Plaintiff alleged therein that Defendants Eagleton and West[2], along with other Defendants, "transported [the Plaintiff], or caused and/or allowed [the Plaintiff] to be transported in... [an] SCDC vehicle without the safety of a secure seat or seatbelt." (Dkt. No. 60 at 4.) On March 11, 2016, Defendants Eagleton and West filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), 12(b)(4), 12(b)(5), Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Dkt. No. 65.) In their Motion, Defendant's Eagleton and West allege that they were never served with a summons or complaint and that the Second Amended Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. ( Id. ) The Plaintiff responded to the Defendant's Motion on May 26, 2016. (Dkt. No. 78.) The Plaintiff argues, in direct contradiction to the allegations in Defendants Eagleton and West's Motion, that he did submit summonses and USM-285 forms to be served by the United States Marshals Service for service. ( Id. ) In the alternative, the Plaintiff requests permission to resubmit the summonses and USM-285 forms. ( Id. )

         Defendants Eagleton and West replied to the Plaintiff's response on June 6, 2016. (Dkt. No. 79.) The Plaintiff's Surreply [sic] to Defendant's Reply was filed on June 17, 2016. (Dkt. No. 80.) In the Sur-Reply, the Plaintiff argued that the Second Amended Complaint was sufficient to establish a claim against Defendants Eagleton and West. ( Id. at 2.)

         Applicable Law

         This court does not address Defendants Eagleton and West's Motion to Dismiss regarding whether they were properly served because the Second Amended Complaint does not state an actionable claim against Defendants Eagleton or West. On a 12(b)(6) motion, a "complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Giarratano v. Johnson,521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "In reviewing a motion to dismiss an action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)... [a court] must determine whether it is plausible that the factual allegations in the complaint are enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" Andrew v. Clark,561 F.3d 261, 266 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "A plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly,550 U.S. 555 (quoting Papasan v. Allain,478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the district court must "take all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true." Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). However, while the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff, it need not ...


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