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Juste v. Columbia Regional Care Center

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

February 3, 2017

Andre Juste, #078-361-619, Plaintiff,
Columbia Regional Care Center, Correct Care Solutions, Dr. Vernelle Fogle, Dr. Cynthia McFadden, Brice McClease, Ronald Lawrence, Rose, Nancy Crawford, Individuals, Medical Staff, Nurses, Volunteers, Individuals, Medical Staff, Security Custody Officers Staff, Patients, Individual Patients, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Director of Accreditation on National Commission on Correctional Health, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Georgia Department of Corrections, Individual Patients, C.D.C., U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, Defendants.


          Thomas E. Rogers, III, United States Magistrate Judge

         This is a civil rights action filed by a pro se litigant who indicates that he is an immigration detainee.[1] Because Plaintiff cannot leave the facility where he is detained on his own, in the event that a limitations issue arises, Plaintiff shall have the benefit of the holding in Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988) (prisoner's pleading was filed at the moment of delivery to prison authorities for forwarding to District Court). 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.


         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of Plaintiff's pro se complaint filed in this case. This review has been conducted pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Md. House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147 (4th Cir. 1978).

         This complaint has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal court without prepaying the administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. To protect against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the action “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” “is frivolous or malicious, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A finding of frivolity can be made where the complaint “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. at 31. Under § 1915(e)(2)(B), a claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989).

         This court is required to liberally construe pro se complaints. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Such pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Id.; Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Even under this less stringent standard, however, the pro se complaint may be subject to summary dismissal. The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which plaintiff could prevail, it should do so, but a district court may not rewrite a complaint to include claims that were never presented, construct the plaintiff's legal arguments for him, or conjure up questions never squarely presented to the court. Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985); Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411 (7th Cir. 1993); Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128 (10th Cir. 1999). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir.1990) (The “special judicial solicitude” with which a [court] should view such pro se complaints does not transform the court into an advocate.).


         Plaintiff has filed several documents that are construed as his Complaint in this action. (ECF Nos. 1, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4). The court has issued three proper form orders and Plaintiff has made multiple attempts to bring his service documents into proper form. Plaintiff's service documents are still insufficient; however, the court finds Plaintiff in substantial compliance[2] and addresses his pleadings.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants tampered with his food. (ECF No. 1-4, 1-3). There are no allegations as to particular Defendants in ECF Nos. 1-4 and 1-3. Plaintiff states that he never consented to health care treatment. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges he was forcibly medicated. (ECF No. 1 at 11). Plaintiff alleges Defendants used poison to slow his heart down. (ECF No. 1 at 12). Plaintiff states Defendants blackmailed and threatened him. (ECF No. 1 at 12). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants neglected his care. (ECF No. 1 at 15). Plaintiff alleges Defendants confiscated his mail and had a conspiracy to murder Plaintiff. (ECF No. 1-1).

         There are twenty-two named Defendants here. There are “specific” allegations against only seven: 1) Dr. Vernell Fogle was the “doctor in charge;” 2) Dr. Cynthia McFadden was the “head doctor in charge”; 3) Brice McClease was the “chief of all individual custody officers”; 4) Ronald Lawrence “maintains] the facility hospital”; 5) Rose performed “facility maintenance”; 6) Nancy Crawford prescribed Plaintiff medicine; and 7) Individual Patients were “inciting wars”. (ECF No. 1 at 8-9). This is the extent of any details as to each Defendant regarding any actions taken by individuals against Plaintiff.


         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 “is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (internal quotation and citation omitted). A legal action under § 1983 allows “a party who has been deprived of a federal right under the color of state law to seek relief.” City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687, 707 (1999).

         Under § 1983, a plaintiff must establish two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation “was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         In order to assert a plausible § 1983 claim against any particular state actor, a “causal connection” must exist between the conduct alleged by the plaintiff and the particular defendant named in the suit. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S.159, 166 (1985); Rizzo v. Good, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72 (1976) (a § 1983 plaintiff must show that he suffered a specific injury resulting from a specific defendant's specific conduct and must show an affirmative link between the injury and that conduct); Vinnedge v. Gibbs, 550 F.2d 926, 928 (4th Cir.1977) (for an ...

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