United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER REGARDING AMENDMENT OF COMPLAINT
plaintiff, Blake Marcell Clark, proceeding pro se, brings
this civil rights action against the defendants. The
Complaint has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915
and § 1915A. This matter is before the court pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)
(D.S.C.). Having reviewed the Complaint in accordance with
applicable law, the court finds this action is subject to
summary dismissal if Plaintiff does not amend the Complaint
to cure the deficiencies identified herein.
Factual and Procedural Background
indicates he is currently being held in the Edgefield County
Jail. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 3.) He brings this
action against the defendants seeking damages pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for false arrest and imprisonment.
(Id. at 4, 6.) He alleges that he was arrested by
the defendants on June 14, 2017 at Hahn Village.
(Id. at 5.) Plaintiff asserts his “rights were
violated” by the defendants. (Id.) He further
alleges that “I informed the officers that the
substance believed to be heroin by the officers was not
heroin but they wouldn't listen to me.”
(Id. at 9.)
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of the pro se Complaint pursuant
to the procedural provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform
Act (“PLRA”), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321
(1996), including 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. 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, and is
also governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the
court to review a complaint filed by a prisoner that seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity. See McLean v. United States,
566 F.3d 391 (4th Cir. 2009). Section 1915A requires, and
§ 1915 allows, a district court to dismiss the case upon
a finding that the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); 28 U.S.C. §
order to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the
plaintiff must do more than make mere conclusory statements
to state a claim. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. 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. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. The reviewing court
need only accept as true the complaint's factual
allegations, not its legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
court is required to liberally construe pro se complaints,
which are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007); King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d 206, 214
(4th Cir. 2016). Nonetheless, 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 cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller
v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir.
1990); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 684 (outlining
pleading requirements under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure for “all civil actions”).
Complaint is filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
“ ‘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) (quoting Baker
v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)). To state a
claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (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 the color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable
searches and seizures by the government and requires warrants
be issued only upon a finding of probable cause. U.S. Const.
amend. IV. To establish a § 1983 claim for false
imprisonment in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the
plaintiff must show the seizure of his person was
unreasonable, i.e., he must show he was arrested without
probable cause. See Rogers v. Pendleton, 249 F.3d
279, 294 (4th Cir. 2001) (stating that claims for false
arrest and false imprisonment “are essentially claims
alleging a seizure of the person in violation of the Fourth
Amendment”); see also Brown v. Gilmore, 278
F.3d 362, 367 (4th Cir. 2002) (stating that to establish an
unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment, the
plaintiff must show he was arrested without probable cause).
Thus, there is no § 1983 claim for false imprisonment
unless the officer lacked probable cause. See Street v.
Surdyka, 492 F.2d 368, 372-73 (4th Cir. 1974).
Plaintiff merely alleges that the defendants violated his
rights, presumably because the defendants mistakenly believed
Plaintiff was in possession of heroin. However, such
conclusory allegations are not sufficient to plausibly show
that the defendants violated Plaintiff's rights under the
Fourth Amendment. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. For instance, Plaintiff fails to
allege facts that would plausibly show the defendants
arrested him without probable cause. See Rogers, 249 F.3d at
294. Moreover, Plaintiff fails to provide any individualized
facts about the defendants to demonstrate that they were
personally involved in the violation of Plaintiff's
rights. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676 (providing that a
plaintiff in a § 1983 action must plead that the
defendant, through his own individual actions, violated the
Constitution); Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 850
(4th Cir. 1985) (“In order for an individual to be
liable under § 1983, it must be ‘affirmatively
shown that the official charged acted personally in the
deprivation of the plaintiff's rights. The doctrine of
respondeat superior has no application under this
section.' ”) (quoting Vinnedge v. Gibbs,
550 F.2d, 928 (4th Cir. 1977)).
Plaintiffs Complaint is subject to summary dismissal pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and § 1915A(b)(1)
because it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. Plaintiff is hereby granted twenty-one (21) days
from the date this order is entered (plus three days for mail
time) to file an amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 15(a) that corrects the deficiencies
identified above. If Plaintiff fails to file an amended