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Evans v. S.L.R. Detention Center

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

January 28, 2018

Gene David Evans, Jr., #23042, Plaintiff,
S.L.R. Detention Center, Sumter County, Sumter County Sheriff's Department, S.H.P/Southern Health Partners, Miss Abraham, Sgt. Sweat, Corr. Ofc. Glisson, Defendants.


         This is a civil action filed by a pretrial detainee, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and District of South Carolina Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e), the undersigned 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).


         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the 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 of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir.1995) (en banc); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir.1983).

         The 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 frivolousness can be made where the complaint “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Denton, 504 U.S. at 31. Hence, under § 1915(e)(2)(B), a claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte. See Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.

         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 is 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 brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that on May 4, 2017, at 6:30pm, while on suicide watch, he managed to get two small razor blades. (ECF No. 1 at 5, 7). He sliced his right wrist. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Defendants Sweat and “Gleason” came in, and then, Plaintiff swallowed the blades. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Defendants were informed that Plaintiff had swallowed the blades. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Without attending to the wrist cut or taking Plaintiff to another facility, the three named defendants strapped Plaintiff in a chair and gave him laxatives. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Blood built up in his throat, and he started choking and passed out. (ECF No. 1 at 7). He was awakened later when he was taken out of the chair straps for five minutes and then strapped back in the chair. (ECF No. 1 at 7). The lights stayed on all night. (ECF No. 1 at 7).

         He was then taken out of the chair the next morning. (ECF No. 1 at 7). He was able to use a phone to inform others what happened and that person called the news. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Around 9am the next day, he was taken to a hospital and admitted. (ECF No. 1 at 7). He said Defendant Abraham was very angry. (ECF No. 1 at 7). The two blades were in his intestines per the x-ray. (ECF No. 1 at 8). A doctor stated that he was to remain at the hospital until a bed came open at Bryan's Mental Health. (ECF No. 1 at 8). He passed the blades. A few days later was told the ER needed his room and a doctor told him he would have to wait at the detention center. (ECF No. 1 at 8). Later, he found out the detention center removed his name from the list for placement at the mental health facility. (ECF No. 1 at 8).

         He also reports he has been kept in solitary confinement since June 2017 “without cause.” (ECF No. 1 at 5). He is having problems with his medications as well. Under relief, he states he wants to “get to mental health... and placed in an open pod.” He requests monetary damages.

         Plaintiff also alleges there is no law library. (ECF No. 1 at 6). He wants access to a law library. (ECF No. 1 at 10).

         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 individual to be liable under § 1983, the Plaintiff must show that the defendant named acted personally in the deprivation of the plaintiff's rights).

         A pretrial detainee's § 1983 actions are evaluated under the Fourteenth Amendment. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535, 537 n.16 (1979); Martin v. Gentile, 849 F.2d 863, 870 (4th Cir. 1988). Plaintiff's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment are at least as great ...

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