United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge
Tate ("Plaintiff), proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, filed this action against Department of Public
Safety Officer Colbert ("Colbert"), Lakisha Martin
("Martin"), and Beryl Lynette Myers
("Myers"), alleging a violation of her
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)
and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), the undersigned
is authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit
findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the
reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the
district judge dismiss the complaint in this case without
prejudice and without issuance and service of process as to
the Martin and Myers.
Factual and Procedural Background
filed this complaint on August 3, 2016, alleging she was
falsely arrested on January 4, 2015, and charged with DUI.
[ECF Nos. 1 at 5; 1-1 at 5, 9]. Plaintiff claims she was driving
home when she heard a loud bang. [ECF No. 1-1 at 1].
Plaintiff alleges she called 911 and her insurance company.
Id. Although another officer was the initial
responding officer, Colbert was also on the scene of the
accident. Id. at 2. Plaintiff alleges Colbert asked
her to go to his vehicle. Id. at 2. Plaintiff states
Colbert asked her if she had been drinking, and when she
denied having been drinking, Colbert asked her to take a
sobriety test. Id. Plaintiff contends she agreed to
take the test, but alleges she told Colbert she had problems
with her leg that would impact the sobriety test.
Id. Plaintiff says Colbert asked her if she was on
any medication, and she said she was not. Id.
Plaintiff alleges Colbert then took her purse and removed her
medication. Id. Plaintiff alleges she took the test,
and Colbert put her in handcuffs and placed her in the front
seat of the vehicle. Id. Plaintiff claims she then
had a panic attack, activated her life alert, and an
ambulance arrived and took her to the hospital. Id.
at 2-3. Plaintiff states she had blood taken at the hospital
and was then discharged. Id. Plaintiff was charged
with DUI-lst, and Plaintiff states her case was dismissed on
November 9, 2016. [ECF Nos. 1-1 at 11; 19 at 1]. Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages. [ECF No. 1 at 5].
Standard of Review
filed this complaint 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 a case upon a finding that the action fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted or is frivolous
or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii). 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. 25, 31 (1992). A claim based on a
meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Allison v.
Kyle, 66 F.3d 71, 73 (5th Cir. 1995).
complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d
1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). 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). In evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiffs
allegations are assumed to be true. Merriweatherv.
Reynolds, 586 F.Supp.2d 548, 554 (D.S.C. 2008). 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 the plaintiff could prevail, it
should do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal
construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear
failure in the pleading to allege facts that 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).
complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although the court must
liberally construe a pro se complaint, the United States
Supreme Court has made it clear that a plaintiff must do more
than make conclusory statements to state a claim. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009); Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
Rather, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its
face, and the reviewing court need only accept as true the
complaint's factual allegations, not its legal
conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. Plaintiffs
complaint does not contain any factual allegations of
constitutional wrongdoing or discriminatory actions
attributable to Martin and Myers. Instead, Plaintiff
indicates Myers owned the vehicle that Martin was driving in
the subject traffic incident. Accordingly, these defendants
should be summarily dismissed from this action.
Conclusion and Recommendation
foregoing reasons, the undersigned recommends that the court
dismiss the complaint without prejudice and without issuance
and service of process as to Martin and Myers.
parties are directed to note the important information in the
attached "Notice of Right to File Objections to ...