United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division
Timothy M. Cain, United States District Judge
a pretrial detainee held in Orangeburg County Detention
Center (“OCDC”), proceeding pro se, filed this
civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In accordance
with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), this matter was referred to a
magistrate judge for pretrial handling. Defendants filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment on March 10, 2017. (ECF No. 31).
The magistrate judge issued an order pursuant to Roseboro
v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), alerting
Plaintiff of the potential consequences if he did not respond
to the motion sufficiently. (ECF No. 32). Before the court is
the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation
(“Report”) (ECF No. 47), recommending the
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be granted.
Plaintiff was advised of his right to file objections to the
Report. (ECF No. 47 at 9). Plaintiff filed objections to the
Report, (ECF No. 50), and later supplemented those
objections, (ECF No. 51).
recommendations set forth in the Report have no presumptive
weight, and this court remains responsible for making a final
determination in this matter. See Matthews v. Weber,
423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court is charged with making
a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to
which a specific objection is made, and the court may accept,
reject, modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of
the magistrate judge or recommit the matter with
instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). However, the court
need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only
“general and conclusory objections that do not direct
the court to a specific error in the magistrate's
proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence
of a timely filed, specific objection, the magistrate
judge's conclusions are reviewed only for clear error.
See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co.,
416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he is housed under
hazardous living conditions because of a black mold
infestation at the jail. (ECF No. 1 at 4). Plaintiff alleges
that this mold is found in the cells, showers, and living
quarters of the Orangeburg County Detention Center.
Id. at 5. Plaintiff states that because of this
mold, he has suffered constant itching, irritations all over
his body, and shortness of breath. Id. As relief,
Plaintiff seeks “any and all money available to [him]
for pain and suffering, physical duress, ailments, mental
anguish, etc.” (ECF No. 1 at 6).
attachments to their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants
provided multiple “Inmate Request Forms” and
medical forms regarding Plaintiff and his alleged
symptoms. (ECF No. 31-2 at 8-14). According to
these reports, Plaintiff requested medical attention on
August 14, 2016, complaining of his body itching, a bump on
his arm, and shortness of breath. (ECF No. 31-2 at 8).
However, the nurse noted that there was “no rash or
skin irritation” present. Id. Plaintiff sought
further medical assistance on August 16, 2016, complaining of
itching, bumps, black marks, and shortness of breath.
Id. at 9. This was listed as a “duplicate sick
call” since Plaintiff had just been seen two days
earlier by medical staff. Id. On August 22, 2016,
Plaintiff saw medical staff again, complaining of shortness
of breath and itching. Id. at 10. The nurse noted
that, upon examination, there were no symptoms and that the
pulse oximeter showed that Plaintiffs oxygen levels were at
99% saturation, indicating no respiratory distress.
Id. Again, Plaintiff requested medical attention on
August 24, 2016, and was seen on August 28, 2016.
Id. at 11. Plaintiffs complaints were consistent
with his earlier complaints. Id. Upon examination,
the nurse noted that there was a raised area on Plaintiffs
arm that appeared to be eczema and that Plaintiff had no
respiratory distress. Id. at 12. The nurse
prescribed Plaintiff some hydrocortisone cream for the place
on his arm. Id. at 13. Finally, on September 14,
2016, Plaintiff requested medical attention for the same
complaints and for sinus problems. Id. at 14. The
nurse noted that Plaintiff had a stuffy nose, some itching,
and some sinus pressure, so she ordered him a prescription of
addition to these medical reports, Defendants attached an
affidavit from Defendant Dozier and test reports from mold
testing to their Supplemental Memorandum in Support of their
Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendant Dozier's affidavit
states that a private company, Compliance Centre, performed a
mold inspection in October of 2016, at the facility. (ECF No.
46-1). That inspection revealed that there was mold on the
ceiling of the shower area of Gate 8, that the airborne mold
level was lower than that found outside the building and was
not excessive, and that mold was found on the wall of Room
116, Pod A. (ECF No. 42-2). The report recommended using a
mold killer and blocker on those areas, vacuuming with a HEPA
vacuum, and maintaining a lower humidity level to prevent
regrowth of mold. Id. at 5. Defendant Dozier stated
in her affidavit that all of these recommendations were
followed. (ECF No. 42-1). Furthermore, Defendants attached a
report of all of the cells in which Plaintiff has resided,
which shows that Plaintiff did not reside in the affected
areas. (ECF No. 46-3).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate only “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In deciding whether a genuine issue of
material fact exists, the evidence of the non-moving party is
to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn
in his favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, “[o]nly disputes over
facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment.” Id. at 248. Therefore, mere
“factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary
will not be counted.” Id. at 248. Furthermore,
a litigant “cannot create a genuine issue of material
fact through mere speculation or the building of one
inference upon another.” Beale v. Hardy, 769
F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985). Accordingly, “where the
record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of
fact to find for the non-moving party, disposition by summary
judgment is appropriate.” Monahan v. County of
Chesterfield, 95 F.3d 1263, 1265 (4th Cir. 1996).
evaluating a pro se plaintiff's complaint, the court is
charged with liberally construing the factual allegations of
the complaint in order to allow potentially meritorious
claims to go forward. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Upon careful review, the court finds that
many of Plaintiff's objections are non-specific,
unrelated to the dispositive portions of the magistrate
judge's Report, or merely restate his claims. However,
the court is able to glean that Plaintiff alleges that the
magistrate judge erred in finding that he had not asserted a
cognizable Constitutional violation under the stated facts.
Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at all times relevant to
the claims at issue, his claims are evaluated under the
Fourteenth Amendment rather than the Eighth Amendment, which
is ordinarily used to evaluate conditions of confinement for
those convicted of crimes. See City of Revere v. Mass.
Gen. Hosp., 463 U.S. 239, 244 (1983). However, the
“due process rights of a pretrial detainee are at least
as great as the [E]ighth [A]mendment protections available to
the convicted prisoner.” Martin v. Gentile,
849 F.2d 863, 870 (4th Cir. 1988).
order to state a claim alleging that conditions of
confinement violate constitutional requirements, a pretrial
detainee must show “both (1) a serious deprivation of a
basic human need; and (2) deliberate indifference to prison
conditions on the part of prison officials.” See
Williams v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 824 (4th Cir.
1991). To demonstrate that the prison's conditions
deprived him of a basic human need, a plaintiff must allege
that officials failed to provide him with humane conditions
of confinement, such as “adequate food, clothing,
shelter, and medical care, and . . . reasonable measures to
guarantee the safety of inmates.” Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, at 832 (1994). Furthermore, in
order to prove that the prison officials were
“deliberate[ly] indifferen[t]” to the conditions,
a plaintiff must show that the prison official had actual
knowledge of a substantial risk of harm to a prisoner and
that the official disregarded that risk. Id. at 847;
see also Parrish v. Cleveland, 372 F.3d 294, 302
(4th Cir. 2004).
has not shown that the conditions of his confinement rise to
the level of being a Constitutional violation. While it is
uncontested that mold was found within OCDC, Plaintiff has
failed to show how Defendants have been deliberately
indifferent of this fact. Defendants have submitted multiple
affidavits and a mold inspection report showing that the
facility has conducted mold inspections in 2013 and 2016.
(ECF No. 31-2). Notably, the 2016 inspection report  stated that
there were no excessive or harmful concentrations of mold and
that the airborne level of the mold was less inside than it
was outside. (ECF No. 46-2). Furthermore, the inspection
recommended remediation procedures. Id. In her
affidavit, Defendant Dozier stated that every recommendation