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Walker v. Koon

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

January 30, 2017

David Richard Walker, Jr., #188417, Plaintiff,
v.
Brian “Jay” Koon, Sheriff; Kevin Jones, Major, Both of Lexington County Sheriff's Dept. e.g Lex. County Detention Center, Defendants.

          ORDER

         David Richard Walker, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff is currently detained in the Lexington County Detention Center (“LCDC”). (ECF No. 11 at 1.)

         This matter is before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), which requires the court to dismiss civil actions filed in forma pauperis if they are frivolous or malicious, if they fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or if they seek monetary relief against a defendant who is immune. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02, the matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin for pre-trial handling. On April 14, 2016 the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (“Report”) recommending that Plaintiff's action be dismissed without prejudice, without issuance, and without service of process. (ECF No. 11.) The Report sets forth the relevant facts and legal standards, which the court incorporates herein without a recitation. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time to file objections to the Report (ECF No. 13), which was subsequently granted by the court. (ECF No. 14.) Specifically, the court extended Plaintiff's time to file objections until May 20, 2016. (Id.)

         The Magistrate Judge's Report is made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with this court. See Matthews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270- 71 (1976). This court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objections are made, and 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). Objections to a Report and Recommendation must specifically identify portions of the Report and the basis for those objections. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). “[I]n the absence of a timely filed objection, a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead 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, 316 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note).

         Here, the court will assume that Plaintiff's Objections to Report and Recommendation, (ECF No. 16), were timely filed.[1] In his Objections, Plaintiff claims that the court erred in determining that he lacked standing based on an assumption that he was bringing his claim on behalf of all detainees. (See ECF No. 16 at 2.) In response, Plaintiff clarifies that he is bringing his claim on behalf of himself alone. (Id.) Additionally, Plaintiff contends that the Magistrate Judge erred in dismissing his claim for failure to assert a plausible claim. (Id. at 3.) In his Objections, Plaintiff alleges multiple injuries brought about by the alleged violation of his right to access the courts, many of which were not mentioned in his Complaint. (See id. at 8-16; ECF No. 1.)[2]

         Analysis

         First, the court sustains Plaintiff's objection to the Magistrate Judge's finding that he lacked standing. Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se[3] and because he clarified in his objections that he only intended to bring this action on behalf of himself, not other prisoners, the court finds that Plaintiff has standing to bring this action. (See ECF No. 16 at 2.)

         Additionally, the court liberally construes Plaintiff's new allegations of injury in his Objections as a request to amend his Complaint. Rule 15(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows the court to give a party leave to amend their complaint “when justice so requires.” Here, Plaintiff is incarcerated and is proceeding pro se. Consideration of the alleged injuries in Plaintiff's Objections, which he failed to allege in his Complaint, could allow Plaintiff to establish a cognizable claim and survive dismissal. Consequently, the court finds that justice requires giving Plaintiff leave to amend his Complaint.

         Conclusion

         For the foregoing reasons, the court SUSTAINS Plaintiff's objection to the Magistrate Judge's finding that he lacked standing. Regarding the rest of Plaintiff's objections, the court gives Plaintiff leave to amend his complaint by February 10, 2017. If Plaintiff fails to file an amendment by this date, his claim will be subject to dismissal. The court REMANDS this matter to the Magistrate Judge for a proceeding consistent with this ruling.

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

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Notes:

[1] The envelope, containing Plaintiff's Objections, was time-stamped when the clerk received it, but it was not time-stamped when it was mailed by the prison. (See ECF No. 16-2.) Because of this issue, the court will assume that the date Plaintiff listed on his letter and his envelope, May 5, 2016, was proper. (See ECF Nos. 16-1, 16-2.)

[2] Specifically, Plaintiff generally alleges that he suffered medical, mental, and physical injuries that could have been rectified if he was given adequate resources to litigate his legal claims. (See ECF No. 16 at 8-10.) More notably, Plaintiff also asserts that this lack of legal resources led him to lose ...


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