United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION FOR DISMISSAL OF MRS.
Jacquelyn D. Austin, United States Magistrate Judge
Martin (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, brings
this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
violations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff is a South
Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”)
inmate incarcerated at the Evans Correctional Institution
(“Evans”). He files this action in forma
pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Part of this case
is subject to summary dismissal.
alleges certain conditions in the Evans restrictive housing
unit are unconstitutional.[*] With respect to Defendant Mrs.
Graves, Plaintiff alleges she is the IGC (inmate grievance
coordinator), and she failed to process several of his
grievances. He seeks damages.
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B), and Local
Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) DSC, the undersigned is authorized
to review the Complaint for relief and submit findings and
recommendations to the District Court. Plaintiff filed this
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma
pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District
Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied 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). Further, Plaintiff is a prisoner under the
definition in 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), and “seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
Thus, even if Plaintiff had prepaid the full filing fee, this
Court is charged with screening Plaintiff's lawsuit to
identify cognizable claims or to dismiss the Complaint if (1)
it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted or (2) seeks monetary relief from
a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
pro se litigant, Plaintiff's pleadings are accorded
liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard
than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam).
However, even under this less stringent standard, a portion
of the pro se pleading remains 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 petition to include claims that were never
presented, Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133
(10th Cir. 1999), or construct Plaintiff's legal
arguments for him, Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411,
417-18 (7th Cir. 1993), or “conjure up questions never
squarely presented” to the court, Beaudett v. City
of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). 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 cognizable in a federal
district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).
Complaint appears to be filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, which “‘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) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S.
137, 144 n.3 (1979)). A civil action under § 1983
“creates a private right of action to vindicate
violations of ‘rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United
States.” Rehberg v. Paulk, 132 S.Ct. 1497,
1501 (2012). To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff
must allege 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 the color of state law. West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
the Court must liberally construe the pro se Complaint and
Plaintiff is not required to plead facts sufficient to prove
his case as an evidentiary matter in the Complaint, the
Complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)); see also
Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009)
(explaining that a plaintiff may proceed into the litigation
process only when his complaint is justified by both law and
fact); cf. Skinner v. Switzer, 131 S.Ct. 1289 (2011)
(holding that plaintiff need not pin his claim for relief to
precise legal theory). As explained below, this Court finds
that Plaintiff does not allege a plausible claim against Mrs.
well settled that an inmate's access to and participation
in a prison's grievance process are not constitutionally
protected. See Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 75 (4th
Cir. 1994); Taylor v. Lang, 483 F. App'x 855,
858 (4th Cir. 2012); Sweat v. Harell, C/A No.
9:09-2040-HFF-BM, 2009 WL 3334451, at *3 (D.S.C. Oct. 15,
2009). Upon review, the only involvement Plaintiff alleges
related to Mrs. Graves is that she is the inmate grievance
coordinator and failed to process several of his grievances.
As such, Plaintiff fails to allege that she violated the
Constitution or laws of the United States. Thus, he fails to
state a plausible § 1983 claim against her, and she
should be dismissed.
recommended that the District Court dismiss Defendant Mrs.
Graves without issuance and service of process. See
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989);
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); and 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A (as soon as possible after docketing, district
courts should review prisoner cases to determine whether they
are subject to summary dismissal). This action remains
pending against the other Defendants.
attention is directed to the important ...