United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Bobby C. Jenkins, Plaintiff,
Brian Stirling; Wayne McCain; A. Jolley; Willie Eagleton; and Charles West; Defendants.
Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation ("R & R") of the Magistrate
Judge (Diet. No. 15), recommending partial summary dismissal
of Plaintiff s case. The Magistrate Judge recommends
Plaintiffs case be dismissed without prejudice with respect
to the allegations concerning the provisions of photocopies,
Restrictive Housing Unit ("RHU") policies, and the
grievance system at Evans Correctional Institution.
(Id.). Plaintiff has filed objections to the R &
R. (Dkt No. 20). For the reasons stated below, the Court
ADOPTS in part and REJECTS in part the R & R as an order
of this Court.
is incarcerated at Evans Correctional Institution
("Evans"), as part of the South Carolina Department
of Corrections ("SCDC") prison system. Through his
complaint, Plaintiff brings four claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (See Dkt. No. 1), First, Plaintiff
alleges his constitutional right to access the court was
violated when he was not allowed to access his legal boxes.
(Id., at 6). Plaintiff asserts he missed the filing
deadline for an appeal in state court because he was not
allowed to access his legal boxes. (Id.). Second,
Plaintiff contends his access to court rights were also
violated when the only way for him to obtain copies of his
legal documents in a state court post-conviction relief
("PCR") action was to pay $138, 75 plus $18.00 in
postage to the South Carolina Judicial Department.
(Id. at 10). Plaintiff asserts he is indigent and he
is not obligated to immediately pay the South Carolina
Judicial Department when requesting photocopies of his legal
documents. (Id. at 11). Third, Plaintiff contends
his constitutional rights are being violated because the
prison officials and administration are violating the SCDC
policy on placement of prisoners in the RHU at Evans.
(Id. at 11-13). Finally, Plaintiff alleges his
constitutional rights are being violated because the
inmate-grievance system at Evans is not operating as it is
supposed to operate. (Id. at 13-14).
19, 2016, Plaintiff filed apro se complaint against
Defendants. (Id. at 1). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C §
636(b)(1), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), the
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 also 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e), 1915(A) (as soon as possible
after docketing, district courts should review prisoner cases
to determine whether they are subject to summary dismissal).
On September 1, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued an R &
R recommending partial summary dismissal of Plaintiff s case.
(Dkt. No. 15 at 1). The Magistrate Judge recommends
Plaintiffs case be dismissed without prejudice with respect
to Plaintiffs claims concerning the provisions of
photocopies, Restrictive Housing Unit ("RHU")
policies, and the grievance system at Evans Correctional
Institution. (Id.). Additionally, the Magistrate
Judge recommends Defendants be "directed to respond to
Plaintiffs allegations regarding denial of access to court
arising from the failure to provide his legal boxes to him in
time to permit him to perfect an appeal." (Id.
at 5). Plaintiff filed objections (Dkt. No. 20) to portions
of the R & R on September 12, 2016.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. Mathewsv. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976).
The Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in
part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court is
charged with making a de novo determination of those portions
of the R & R or specified proposed findings or
recommendation to which objection is made. Diamond v.
Colonial Life & Ace. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)); accord
as to the portions of the R & R to which no objection is
made, this Court "must 'only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to
accept the recommendation.'" Diamond v. Colonial
Life &Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 71 advisory committee note).
Additionally, the Court need not give any explanation for
adopting the R & R in the absence of specific objections
by the parties. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198,
200 (4th Cir. 1983) ("Absent objection, we do not
believe that any explanation need be given for adopting the
reviewing this complaint, the Court is mindful of Plaintiff
spro se status. 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 this court is charged with liberally construing
the pleadings of a pro se litigant to allow for the
development of a potentially meritorious claim. Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating
a.pro se complaint by this court, the plaintiffs
allegations are assumed to be true. De 'Lonta v.
Angelone, 330 F, 3d 630, 630 n.l (4th Cir. 2003). The
requirement of a liberal construction does not mean, however,
that the Court can ignore apro se plaintiffs clear
failure in the pleadings to allege facts that set forth a
cognizable claim. See United States v. Wilson, 699
F.3d 789, 797 (4th Cir. 2012).
objects to the R & R's recommendation that partial
summary dismissal be granted on two grounds. The Court will
address each in turn.
Plaintiff maintains prisoners have a fundamental
constitutional right to access the court system. (Dkt No. 20
at 1). Plaintiff asserts his right to access the court was
violated when defendants did not give him his legal boxes.
(Id. at 2). Plaintiff argues, due to the deprivation
of his legal boxes by Defendants, Plaintiff cannot file
"another successive" PCR or Habeas Corpus.
(Id. at 2). However, the Plaintiffs objection is
unnecessary. The Magistrate's R & R does not
recommend dismissal of Plaintiff s claim regarding the
Defendants' failure to provide Plaintiff his legal boxes,
but instead directs the Defendants to respond to Plaintiffs
claim. (Dkt. No. 15 at 5). Accordingly, the Plaintiffs
objection is overruled.
Plaintiff contends his complaint was not to be construed to
claim his right to access the court was violated when he did
not receive free copies of his legal documents
because he is indigent. (Dkt. No. 20 at 4). Plaintiff
explains, "I never said the defendants violated my
rights by not giving me free copies because copies aren't
free, but they violated my constitutional rights to access to
the courts by not giving me access to my legal material to be
able to obtain copies." (Dkt. No. 20 at 3). SCDC
Policies/Procedures speak directly to Plaintiffs contention.
See GA-01.03, Inmate Access to the Courts,
South Carolina Department of Corrections Policies/Procedures.
According to SCDC's Procedure 12.4, restitution will be
created for indigent inmates to pay for photocopies and their
accounts will be debited for reimbursement once funds become
available. (Id.). Here, Plaintiff has not requested
that the Defendants provide him with free photocopies of his
PCR documents. (See Dkt. No. 1 at 10). Instead,
Plaintiff has requested that he be provided with photocopies
of his PCR documents, which under the ...