United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAYMANI D. WEST FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA UNITED STATES
a civil action filed pro se by a local
detainee. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1),
and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), this magistrate
judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in such
pro se cases and to submit findings and recommendations to
the district court. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e); 1915A (as soon as possible after docketing, district
courts should review prisoner cases to determine whether they
are subject to summary dismissal.
to publicly available information, Christopher Odom
("Plaintiff) is a detainee at the Sheriff Al Cannon
Detention Center in Charleston County, South Carolina
(last consulted Dec. 5, 2017). In his difficult-to-decipher
initial pleading in this case, Plaintiff alleges that his
constitutional rights were violated in June 2015 when the
presiding judge refused to dismiss the criminal charges that
are currently pending against him. He asserts that neither
his court-appointed counsel nor the complaining witness
attended a hearing and contends that the judge should have
dismissed the charges as a result. Plaintiff also alleges
that his constitutional rights were violated in 1998 when he
was convicted of undisclosed charges and incarcerated in the
South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDC")
prison system. Plaintiff also alleges that his current
conditions of confinement are unconstitutional because of his
confinement "behind deadlock . . . door approx. 23 hours
a day with no way to contact officer in emergency, " and
peeling paint and mold at the CCDC. In this regard, he does
not specify which of the 35 Defendants he has listed have
caused the conditions or controlled the premises. Instead,
Plaintiff states that "all listed captioned
defendants" and are "violating [his] life, liberty
and pursuit of happiness due to living condition, housing
condition, clothing condition, food service condition
too." Plaintiff seeks release from custody and $52
million in damages.
Standard of Review
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,
1915A, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, 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 o/Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995); Todd v.
Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); Boyce v.
Alizaduh, 595 F.2d 948 (4th Cir. 1979).
complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by attorneys, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d
1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district court is
charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro
se litigant to allow the development of a potentially
meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007); Kerr v. Marshall Univ. Bd. of Governors,
824 F.3d 62, 72 (4th Cir. 2016). When a federal court is
evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiffs allegations are
assumed to be true. De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330
F.3d 630, 630 n.l (4th Cir. 2003). Nevertheless, the
requirement of liberal construction does not mean that this
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, 391 (4th Cir. 1990). Even under
this less stringent standard, the Complaint filed in this
case is subject to summary dismissal under the provisions of
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
to the extent that this case is considered a habeas corpus
action, the initial pleading is subject to summary dismissal
to the extent that it seeks release from custody because of
the state court's refusal to dismiss the pending charges
because this claim is duplicative of the claim raised and
rejected in Odom v. Director, Charleston County Detention
Center, No. 5:17- cv-01906-RMG-KDW (case closed Aug. 24,
2017) (appeal pending). As in that case, there are no
allegations showing that Plaintiff exhausted his state court
remedies relative to the pending charges. Therefore, no
plausible habeas corpus claim is stated.
extent that the initial pleading is considered a complaint
filed pursuant to §§ 1983 and 1985, it is subject
to summary dismissal insofar as Plaintiff complains about the
state court judge's rulings because this court should not
interfere with ongoing state criminal prosecutions under the
doctrine established by Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S.
37 (1971), and its progeny. Younger and other cases
hold that, absent extraordinary circumstances, federal courts
are not authorized to interfere with a state's pending
criminal proceedings. See, e.g., Younger, 401 U.S.
at 44; Nivens v. Gilchrist, 319 F.3d 151, 154-55
(4th Cir. 2003); Cinema Blue of Charlotte, Inc. v.
Gilchrist, 887 F.2d 49, 50-53 (4th Cir. 1989). Plaintiff
has not shown that there are extraordinary circumstances
requiring this court's interference in his pending
none of Plaintiff s allegations about the conditions of his
confinement in SCDC in 1998 state any plausible habeas or
non-habeas civil claims because the statute of limitations
has long run on any such claims. First,
conditions-of-confinement claims are not properly raised in a
habeas action. See, e.g., Lee v. Winston, 111 F.2d
888, 892 (4th Cir. 1983); Crouchman v. Lofties, No.
9:16-1707-CMC-BM, 2016 WL 4727322, at *4 (Aug. 5, 2016),
report and recommendation adopted, 2016 WL 4719997
(D.S.C. Sept. 9, 2016); Marcum v. Esparza, No.
2:10cvl07, 2010 WL 4955703, at *1 (N.D. W.Va. Sept. 14,
2010). Second, when considered as §§ 1983, 1985
claims, Plaintiffs allegations are raised over 16 years too
late. In South Carolina, the general or residual statute of
limitations for personal injury claims is codified at S.C.
Code Ann. § 15-3-530(5), which provides that the statute
of limitations is three years for "an action for
assault, battery, or any injury to the person or rights of
another, not arising on contract and not enumerated by law. .
. ." This statute of limitations has been held to be the
applicable statute of limitations for § 1983 claims in
the United States District Court for the District of South
Carolina in many cases. See, e.g., Huffman v. Tuten,
446 F.Supp.2d 455 (D.S.C. 2006); Singleton v. City of
Georgetown, No. 2:15-02579-DCN, 2017 WL 570007, at * 4
(D.S.C. Feb. 13, 2017); Ward v. Parole, Probation, &
Pardon Bd, No. 2:07-cv-0106-HMH-RSC, 2007 WL 3377163
(D.S.C. Nov. 7, 2007). Here, Plaintiff would have had three
years from 1998 in which to file a § 1983 action in this
court concerning conditions of confinement in 1998. He did
not. Accordingly, the Complaint is subject to summary
dismissal insofar as it seeks relief for anything that
occurred during his SCDC confinement in 1998.
insofar as Plaintiff seeks to assert claims arising from his
current conditions of confinement, his pleading is subject to
summary dismissal because he has not alleged with sufficient
specificity which, if any, of the many named Defendants are
personally responsible for the conditions. His blanket
reference to "all listed captioned defendants" is
far too broad and vague to satisfy the established pleading
requirement that a plaintiff show that something happened to
him and that this particular defendant caused it. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (pleading
must contain sufficient "factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged."). It is clear that
most of the named Defendants have no connection whatsoever to
the detention center where Plaintiff is incarcerated.
detainee has filed over 35 cases in this court since 1998.
Most of those cases have been summarily dismissed, often for
reasons similar to those discussed in this case. Over and
over, this detainee has been told that his pleadings must
conform to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and that he must
plead with sufficient specificity to permit this court to
understand which of his always numerous defendants he seeks
to sue for which claim or claims sought to be raised.
Plaintiff has been informed that using collective terminology
such as "all listed captioned defendants" does not
comply with the requirements of Rule 8. Nevertheless, he
persists in naming an excessive number of defendants without
informing that court which, if any, of the named defendants
are connected to which of his rambling allegations.
Plaintiffs continued failure to name specific Defendants in
connection with his assertions of wrongdoing by someone not
identified, his assertion of stale claims arising from events
that occurred over 18 years ago, and his attempts to enjoin
state criminal proceedings despite having been told numerous
times that such is not permitted require excessive
expenditure of limited court resources and render this
some of the noted inadequacies in the pleading under review
could possibly be cured by amendment, the case should be
dismissed without prejudice. See Amekudzi v. Bd. of City
of Richmond Pub. Sch., No. 3:07-CV-645, 2007 WL 4468683,
at *1 (E.D. Va. Dec. 17, 2007) (citing Young v.
Nichols,413 F.3d 416, 418 (4th Cir. 2005) (ruling that
an order dismissing a complaint without prejudice is final
only if it clearly indicates that the plaintiff could not
eliminate the defect(s) in the complaint by amending it)).
Nevertheless, because of the frivolity of the pleading, a
valid strike may be issued under the Prison Litigation Reform
Act ("PLRA"). See McLean v. United States,566 F.3d 391, 399 (4th Cir. 2009) (while dismissal without
prejudice for failure to state a claim does not support a
strike, dismissal without prejudice for frivolity may
constitute a strike); Lester v. Ratigan, No.
4:12-0016-TMC, 2012 WL 1032619 (D.S.C. Mar. 27, 2012),
ajf'd,487 Fed.Appx. 125 (4th Cir. 2012)
(affirming strike on a claim which was ...