United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. Rogers, III Florence, South Carolina United States
a civil action filed by a state prisoner, 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).
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).
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.
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
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff alleges that he was assaulted by other inmates on
May 27, 2016, after Defendant McBee left his door unlocked.
(ECF No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff suffered broken ribs, a punctured
lung, a fractured vertebra, and major cranial swelling. (ECF
No. 1 at 7). Plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for
several days. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Plaintiff requests monetary
damages. (ECF No. 1 at 8). Plaintiff sues all defendants in
their official capacity only.
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).
§ 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).
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).
sues all Defendants in their official capacity only.
Plaintiff's request for relief is monetary damages. When
a defendant is sued in his official capacity, the suit is
frequently intended as one against the state, the real party
in interest. If review of the pleadings indicates that the
state is, in fact, the party being sued, then a judgment
awarding damages is precluded by the Eleventh Amendment of
the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme
Court analyzed the interplay between § 1983 and the
Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution and stated:
Section 1983 provides a federal forum to remedy many
deprivations of civil liberties, but it does not provide a
federal forum for litigants who seek a remedy against a State
for alleged deprivations of civil liberties. The Eleventh
Amendment bars such suits unless the State has waived its
immunity (cites omitted) or unless Congress has exercised its
undoubted power under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to
override that immunity.
Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 67 (1989). The Eleventh Amendment immunity granted to the
states “applies only to States or governmental entities
that are considered ‘arms of the State' for
Eleventh Amendment purposes, ” but the court found that
state agencies, divisions, departments and officials are
entitled to the Eleventh Amendment immunity. Id. at
58. In reaching this conclusion, the court held that a suit
against state officials acting in their official capacities
is actually against the office itself, and therefore, against
the state. State officials may only be sued in their
individual capacities. “[W]hen 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 sovereign immunity from suit even though
individual officials are nominal defendants.” Ford
Motor Co. v. Dep't ofTreasury, 323 U.S.
459, 464 (1945), overruled on other ...