United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND OPINION
Margaret B. Seymour Senior United States District Judge.
time of the underlying events, Plaintiff Joseph Thomas
Randolph was a detainee housed at the Orangeburg County
Detention Center (“OCDC”) in Orangeburg, South
Carolina. Defendant Veinetta Dozier is Director of the OCDC.
Defendant Harold Young is the Orangeburg County
Administrator. Defendants Kerry Murphy and Bradley James
apparently are employed by OCDC. On August 24, 2016,
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, brought this action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that he was shot
eleven times prior to his detention and as a result suffered
severe damage to his kidney, gall bladder, spleen, and
intestines. Plaintiff contends that he was removed from the
medical unit to the general population, where he was exposed
to black mold that caused infections and other exacerbation
of his injuries.
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02,
D.S.C., this matter was referred to United States Magistrate
Judge Kaymani D. West for pretrial handling. The Magistrate
Judge reviewed the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915, 1915A, and other precedents. On September 22, 2016, the
Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation in which
she observed that Plaintiff failed to allege any of the named
Defendants had personal knowledge of the alleged black mold
at the OCDC or that any of the named Defendants were
responsible for the maintenance of the OCDC. The Magistrate
Judge further determined that Plaintiff failed to state a
claim on which relief may be granted because Plaintiff failed
to allege any wrongdoing or responsibility for the mold
removal by Defendants. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge
recommended that the complaint be summarily dismissed.
October 3, 2016, and October 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed
objections to the Report and Recommendation. Plaintiff
contends that Defendants Dozier and Young are aware of the
black mold because of grievances filed by him and other
prisoners. Plaintiff consents to the dismissal of Defendants
Murphy and James. Plaintiff also moves to amend his complaint
to add Captain Charles Govan as a Defendant. Plaintiff
alleges that Govan, against advice of medical personnel,
removed Plaintiff from the medical unit.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270
(1976). This court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or
in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This court may
also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the
Magistrate Judge with instructions. Id.
that detention center officials were deliberately indifferent
to the medical needs or conditions of confinement of pretrial
detainees are evaluated under the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment rather than under the Eighth
Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual
punishment. See Martin v. Gentile, 849 F.2d 863, 870
(4th Cir. 1988). The due process rights of a pretrial
detainee are at least as great as the Eighth Amendment
protections available to a convicted prisoner. Id.
To determine whether a prison official has violated a
prisoner's Eighth Amendment right to humane conditions of
confinement, a court must determine “whether the prison
official acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind
(subjective component) and whether the deprivation suffered
or injury inflicted on the inmate was sufficiently serious
(objective component).” Williams v. Benjamin,
77 F.3d. 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1996).
subjective component of an Eighth Amendment claim challenging
the conditions of confinement is satisfied by a showing of
deliberate indifference by prison officials. De'Lonta
v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 634 (4th Cir.
2003). Deliberate indifference “requires that a prison
official actually know of and disregard an objectively
serious condition, medical need, or risk of harm.”
Id. Here, Plaintiff contends that Defendants Dozier
and Young were aware of the black mold and affect on his
health because of the grievances he filed.
to black mold may, in an appropriate case, satisfy the
objective component of an Eighth Amendment violation.
Sumpter v. Crib, C/A No. 8:14-180-MGL, 2015 WL
3400437, *6 (D.S.C. May 27, 2015) (comparing Board v.
Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 486 (7th Cir. 2005) (finding that
mold in the ventilation system violated the Eighth Amendment)
with Causey v. Allison, Civil Action No.
1:08-155-RHW, 2008 WL 4191746, at *1 (S.D.Miss. Sept. 9,
2008) (deciding there was no Eighth Amendment violation where
a prisoner claimed black mold was growing in the shower but
“admit[ed] that he . . . had no medical problems
resulting from the black mold”)). In this case,
Plaintiff alleges that he was in a weakened physical
condition that was made worse by exposure to the black mold.
court cannot state at this stage of the proceedings that
Plaintiff failed to state a plausible claim for relief as to
Defendants Dozier and Young. Accordingly, the court declines
to accept the Report and Recommendation as to these
Defendants. The court adopts the Report and Recommendation as
to Defendants Murphy and James. The court grants
Plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint (ECF No. 17) ...