United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Eugene P. Harrison, a/k/a Eugene Paul Harrison, Sr., Plaintiff,
Tim Riley, Warden, Inmate Intake, Defendant.
ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION
Bristow Marchant United States Judge.
a civil action filed by the Plaintiff, Eugene H. Harrison,
also known as Eugene Paul Harrison, Sr., pro se, and is
before the Court for pre-service review. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B); In re Prison Litigation Reform Act.
105 F.3d 1131, 1134 (6th Cir. 1997)[pleadings by
non-prisoners should also be screened]. Under established
local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review
has been made of the pro se complaint herein pursuant to the
procedural provisions of § 1915, and in light of the
following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S.
25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams. 490 U.S. 319 (1989);
Haines v. Kerner. 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v.
Warden. Maryland House of Corr.. 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir.
1995) (en banc); and Todd v. Baskerville.
asserts that Tim Riley, the Warden-Inmate Intake of the
Kershaw Correctional Institution (KCI) (part of the South
Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC)) falsely arrested
and imprisoned him and subjected him to double jeopardy.
Complaint, ECF No. 1 at 3. He alleges:
In the Summer of 2005 around May-August I Eugene Harrison was
arrested and reentered into the S.C. department of Correction
in Kirkland Correctional Institution on the same charges that
I did time before in Summer of 2003 for Fraudulent
Checks/released. In 2005 incarceration did 50 days before
released by repaying the same checks.
ECF No. 1 at 5 (errors in original). Plaintiff seeks $ 10,
000 a day for the 50 days he was incarcerated, three million
dollars for depression and mental anguish he claims he
suffered as a result of the alleged false arrest and
incarceration, $10, 000 a day for pain and suffering, and
punitive damages of three million dollars. Id.
1915 permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in
federal court without paying the administrative costs of
proceeding with the lawsuit. However, to protect against
possible abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a
district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the
action "is frivolous or malicious, " "fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted, " or
"seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A
finding of frivolousness can be made where the complaint
"lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact."
Denton v. Hernandez. 504 U.S. at 31. Hence, 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. Further, while this Court is
also required to liberally construe pro se documents, holding
them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by
attorneys, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007)(quoting Estelle v. Gamble. 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976)), 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 court. Weller v. Dep't of
Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990). Such is the
action is subject to summary dismissal because Plaintiffs
§ 1983 claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and
double jeopardy are barred by the applicable statute of
limitations. State law concerning limitation of actions
applies in claims brought under § 1983; see Wilson
v. Garcia. 471 U.S. 261, 266 (1985), partially
superseded by statute as stated in Jones v. R .R.
Donnelly & Sons, Co.. 541 U.S. 369, 377-380 (2004);
and in South Carolina the applicable statute of limitations
is generally three years. See S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-530.
While federal law governs the question of when a cause of
action accrues; see Wallace v. Kato. 549 U.S. 384,
387 (2007); under federal law the running of the statute of
limitations begins when a plaintiff knows or has reason to
know of his injury. Id.
Section 1983 claim for false arrest or false imprisonment
accrues when the claimant is detained pursuant to legal
process. Wallace v. Kato. 549 U.S. 384
(2007)[holding "that the statute of limitations upon a
§ 1983 claim seeking damages for false arrest in
violation of the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is
followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time
the claimant becomes detained pursuant to legal
process."]. An illegal search and seizure cause of
action is analogous to a claim of false arrest and
imprisonment, Barnhill v. Strong. No. JFM 07-1678,
2008 WL 544835 (D.Md. Feb. 25, 2008), and accrues at the time
the defective process was initiated. See Wallace v.
Kato. 549 U.S. 384 (2007); Smith v. McCarthy.
349 Fed.Appx. 851, 856-857 (4th Cir. 2009). Here, Plaintiff
clearly had knowledge of the alleged violation of his double
jeopardy rights, false arrest, and false imprisonment at the
time of his incarceration, or at least by the time he was
released from custody (both of which he alleges occurred in
2005). Thus, the incidents at issue in this lawsuit occurred
well in excess of three years prior to the filing of this
action, and are barred by the applicable statute of
issuing this Recommendation, the undersigned also notes that
Plaintiff previously filed actions (against different
defendants) which appear to concern the same alleged
incident, further indicating that Plaintiff had knowledge of
his alleged injuries more than three years before this action
was filed. In July 2005, Plaintiff and his wife brought
claims against Deputy Kelly, Lt. Colclough, Deputy Reynolds,
and Sheriff Anthony Dennis, all employees of the Sumter
County Sheriffs Department, in which he alleged that the
defendants violated his Fourth Amendment rights by entering
his home without a search warrant and by falsely arresting
him. The defendants in that case filed a motion for summary
judgment in which they attached copies of arrest warrants for
numerous charges of fraudulent checks, and in May 2006, the
Honorable Patrick Michael Duffy, Senior United States
District Judge, adopted the report and recommendation of the
magistrate judge and granted the defendants' motion for
summary judgment. See Harrison v. Colclough, No.
3:05-2090-PMD, 2006 WL 1345091 (D.S.C. May 15, 2006),
affd. 199 Fed.Appx. 211 (4th Cir. Sept. 8, 2006). In
2007, Plaintiff filed an action against the Sumter County
Sheriffs Department, Deputy Jerry Kelly, Deputy Robert
Reynolds, and Lt. Colclough, in which he alleged that he was
arrested in May 2005 by Sumter County Sheriff deputies on
outdated and wrongly addressed arrest warrants from 1998 and
1999 for fraudulent checks. He claimed that he was unlawfully
arrested and his constitutional rights were violated. Judge
Duffy dismissed the complaint in that action without
prejudice because Plaintiff failed to state a claim against
the Defendants for a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights
and that his claims were barred by the doctrine of res
judicata. Harrison v. Sumter County Sheriffs
Dep't.. No. 2.07-3555-PMD-GCK, 2008 WL 553181
(D.S.C. Feb. 25, 2008).
even if this claim was not subject to dismissal for the
reasons set forth hereinabove, this action is still subject
to summary dismissal because Plaintiff makes no specific
allegations against the Defendant and provides no supporting
facts to show what the Defendant allegedly did or did not do
to violate his rights. Although Plaintiff claims that he was
falsely arrested and imprisoned, he makes no allegations that
the Defendant arrested him, and states no facts as to what
Defendant allegedly did to falsely imprison him. Thus, this
action is also subject to dismissal because Plaintiff s
Complaint does not contain "a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that [Plaintiff] is entitled to
relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2): see Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twomblv. 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
the Defendant is an employee of the SCDC and thus is entitled
to Eleventh Amendment immunity in his official capacity as to
any claims for monetary damages. The Eleventh Amendment to
the United States Constitution divests this Court of
jurisdiction to entertain a suit for damages brought against
the State of South Carolina, its integral parts, or its
officials in their official capacities, by a citizen of South
Carolina or a citizen of another state. See Alden v.
Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999); College Savs. Bank v.
Florida Prepaid Educ. Expense Bd.. 527 U.S. 666 (1999);
Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida. 517 U.S. 44
(1996)(reaffirming Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1,
10(1890) [holding that a citizen could not sue a state in
federal court without the state's consent]; Pennhurst
State School & Hosp. v. Halderman. 465 U.S. 89
(1984)[although express language of Eleventh Amendment only
forbids suits by citizens of other States against a State,
Eleventh Amendment bars suits against a State filed by its
own citizens]; Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782
(1978); Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police.
491 U.S. 58, 61-71 (1989); Edelman v. Jordan. 415
U.S. 651, 663 (1974) [stating that "when the action is
in essence one for the recovery of money from the state, the
state is the real, substantial party in interest and is
entitled to invoke its [Eleventh Amendment] sovereign
immunity from suit even though individual officials are
nominal defendants"](quoting Ford Motor Co. v.
Dep't. of Treasury, 323 U.S. 459, 464 (1945)); see
also Harter v. Vernon. 101 F.3d 334, 338-39 (4th
Cir. 1996); Bellamy v. Borders. 727 F.Supp. 247,
248-50 (D.S.C. 1989); Coffin v. South Carolina Dep't
of Social Servs.. 562 F.Supp. 579, 583-85 (D.S.C. 1983);
Belcher v. South Carolina Bd. of Corrs.. 460 F.Supp.
805, 808-09 (D.S.C. 1978).
the United States Congress can override Eleventh Amendment
immunity through legislation, Congress has not overridden the
states' Eleventh Amendment immunity in § 1983 cases.
See Quern v. Jordan. 440 U.S. 332.343 f 1979).
Further, although a State may consent to a suit in a federal
district court, Pennhurst 465 U.S. at 99 & n.9,
the State of South Carolina has not consented to such
actions. Rather, the South Carolina Tort Claims Act expressly
provides that the State of South Carolina does not waive
Eleventh Amendment immunity, consents to suit only in a court
of the State of South Carolina, and does not consent to suit
in a federal court or in a court of another state. S.C. Code
Ann. § 15-78-20(e).
on the foregoing, it is recommended that the Court dismiss
Plaintiffs Complaint without prejudice and ...