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Luck v. Ramey

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

January 27, 2017

Dashaud Luck, # 351475, Plaintiff,
v.
Georgina Ramey; Sgt, Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

         Plaintiff Dashaud Luck (“Plaintiff”) filed this pro se and in forma pauperis action against Georgina Ramey (“Defendant”) and other unnamed officials, [1] seeking injunctive relief and a hearing before the administrative law court. Plaintiff alleges Defendant interfered with the grievance process, [2] depriving him of access to the courts.

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(g) (D.S.C.), the matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III for pre-trial handling. On November 25, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (“Report”) recommending the court dismiss the case without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. (ECF No. 21 at 6.) This review considers Plaintiff's Objections to the Report (“Objections”) filed December 15, 2014. (ECF No. 24.) For the reasons set forth herein, the court ACCEPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report (ECF No. 21), and DISMISSES this action (ECF No. 1) without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.

         I. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This court concludes, upon its own careful review of the record, that the Magistrate Judge's factual synopsis is accurate and incorporates it by reference. This court will thus focus on the facts pertinent to the analysis of Plaintiff's Objections.

         Plaintiff alleges he was wrongly accused of refusing to obey and creating a disturbance.[3](ECF No. 1 at 3.) Plaintiff's failing to obey charge was dropped (id.), however, the more serious charge of creating a disturbance was not dropped. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff alleges he filed a grievance regarding the charge on June 8, 2015, but accuses Defendant of withholding the grievance past the filing deadline. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and a proceeding before the administrative law court. (Id. at 5.)

         The Magistrate Judge's November 25 Report found that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate a claim for a constitutional violation that would allow his claims to be brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 21 at 5.) The Magistrate Judge found that prison inmates have no constitutional right to an inmate grievance system where they are incarcerated. (Id. at 5.)

         In response to the Magistrate Judge's Report, Plaintiff filed a timely Objection on December 15, 2014. (ECF No. 24.)[4] In his Objections, Plaintiff emphasizes how he wouldn't have been allowed to bring an action against Defendant if he had not filed a grievance. (Id. at. 2) Plaintiff asserts that because his grievance was sabotaged, he was effectively denied access to the courts. (Id. at 3.) Additionally, Plaintiff reiterates how his First and Eighth Amendment constitutional rights were violated by Defendant's actions, and how he had been informed by Defendant that he had no other remedies. (Id. at 5.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge's Report is only a recommendation to this court, and has no presumptive weight-the responsibility to make a final determination remains with this court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objections are made. Id. The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge's recommendation or recommit the matter with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         Plaintiff filed this Complaint in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which allows a federal court to proceed with a prisoner's complaint or action without the prepayment of court fees by the prisoner litigant. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). The statute attempts to restrain this privilege, and thus avoid allowing meritless lawsuits to flood the court system, by permitting a court to dismiss the case at any time upon finding that the action fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.[5] § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         Pro se complaints must be held to a less stringent legal standard than those complaints or proceedings drafted by lawyers, and a pro se document should be liberally construed by a federal court. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). “Technical niceties” should not defeat a meritorious claim when it can be amended to achieve justice. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). However, while a pro se complaint may be entitled to “special judicial solicitude, ” federal courts are not required to recognize “obscure or extravagant claims.” Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990) (quoting Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985)). A complaint will be dismissed, even under the lens of a liberal interpretation, “if it does not allege ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief.'” Smith v. Smith, 589 F.3d 736, 738 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Giarratano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008)).

         Federal courts are courts of limited subject matter jurisdiction and there is no presumption that the court has jurisdiction. Pinkley Inc. v. City of Frederick, MD., 191 F.3d 394, 399 (4th Cir. 1999). They are “constrained to exercise only the authority conferred by Article III of the Constitution and affirmatively granted by federal statute.”[6] In re Bulldog Trucking, Inc., 147 F.3d 347, 352 (4th Cir. 1998). Therefore, a federal court is required to determine if there is a valid basis for jurisdiction, “and to dismiss the action if no such ground appears.” Id. at 352. A plaintiff who seeks jurisdiction, even a pro se plaintiff whose complaint must be viewed liberally, must “allege in his pleadings the facts essential to show jurisdiction.” McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936). Subject matter jurisdiction can be attained through (1) federal question under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and (2) diversity of citizenship pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

         Objections to a Report must specifically identify portions of the Report and the basis for those objections. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). The Magistrate Judge correctly concludes that the allegations contained in Plaintiff's Complaint are not sufficient to show constitutional violations that would warrant relief under § 1983. Plaintiff's Objections do not bring forward any new facts that change this initial conclusion.

         III. ...


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