United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
J. OSSETT COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
plaintiff, Roger Leon Kelley, a self-represented state
pretrial detainee, brings this civil rights action 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.). By order dated March
2, 2018, the court provided Plaintiff the opportunity to file
an amended complaint to correct deficiencies identified by
the court that would warrant summary dismissal of the
Complaint pursuant to § 1915 and § 1915A. (ECF No.
11.) On March 14, 2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint.
(ECF No. 13.) Having reviewed the Amended Complaint in
accordance with applicable law, the court concludes the
Amended Complaint still fails to state a viable claim and
should be summarily dismissed without prejudice and issuance
and service of process.
Factual and Procedural Background
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff, an inmate at the Sheriff Al
Cannon Detention Center in Charleston County, South Carolina,
alleges that Summitt Food Service (“Summitt”)
began serving food at the detention center on September 1,
2017. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 5 at 5, 7.) Plaintiff alleges that
since then, Summitt has served inadequate amounts of food
that fall below the federal minimum standards for caloric
intake for inmates. (Id. at 7.) He also alleges that
much of the food is spoiled, and it is often served late.
(Id.) Separately, Plaintiff alleges the detention
center has black mold, mildew, and poor ventilation that is
hazardous to humans and known by Defendant Al Cannon.
(Id. at 5-6.) Finally, Plaintiff claims these
deprivations are an attempt to get a guilty plea out of an
innocent person, referring to himself. (Id. at 9.)
He alleges these deprivations are the result of reckless and
deliberate indifference to his rights and amount to
punishment. (Id. at 6-7.) He purports to raise these
claims pursuant to the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and he seeks damages for
his injuries. (Id. at 4, 9.)
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of the pro se Amended
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 Amended 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. § 1915A(b).
order to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the
plaintiff must do more than make mere conclusory statements.
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
Amended 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).
Plaintiff appears to allege his right to due process was
violated by the defendants because they were deliberately
indifferent to the conditions of the detention center.
However, for the reasons identified below, Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint against Defendants Cannon and Cusimano
should be summarily dismissed for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) & §
of pretrial detainees against detention center officials
regarding conditions of confinement are evaluated under the
Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment rather than
under the Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel
and unusual punishment. See Bell v. Wolfish, 441
U.S. 520, 535 & n.16 (1979); Martin v. Gentile,
849 F.2d 863, 870 (4th Cir. 1988). “The due process
rights of a pretrial detainee are at least as great as the
eighth amendment protections available to the convicted
prisoner; while the convicted prisoner is entitled to
protection only against punishment that is ‘cruel and
unusual, ' the pretrial detainee, who has yet to be
adjudicated guilty of any crime, may not be subjected to
any form of ‘punishment.' ”
Martin, 849 F.2d at 870; see also Hill v.
Nicodemus, 979 F.2d 987, 991 (4th Cir. 1992). However,
“the fact that [the] detention interferes with the
detainee's understandable desire to live as comfortably
as possible and with as little restraint as possible during
confinement does not convert the conditions or restrictions
of detention into ‘punishment.' ”
Bell, 441 U.S. at 537.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has
held that the standard for determining whether detention
center officials have violated a pretrial detainee's
right to due process is deliberate indifference. See
Hill, 979 F.2d at 991. Although these claims are
analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment, case law
interpreting the standard of “deliberate
indifference” under the Eighth Amendment is
instructive. See, e.g., Brown v.
Harris, 240 F.3d 383, 388 (4th Cir. 2001) (stating that
whether the plaintiff is a pretrial detainee or a convicted
prisoner, the “standard in either case is the same-that
is, whether a government official has been
‘deliberately indifferent to any [of his] serious
medical needs' ”) (quoting Belcher v.
Oliver, 898 F.2d 32, 34 (4th Cir. 1990)).
to establish a claim based on alleged deliberate
indifference, an inmate must establish two requirements: (1)
objectively, the deprivation suffered or injury inflicted was
“sufficiently serious, ” and (2) subjectively,
the prison officials acted with a “sufficiently
culpable state of mind.” Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994); Williams v. Benjamin, 77
F.3d 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1996). “What must be
established with regard to each component ‘varies
according to the nature of the alleged constitutional
violation.' ” Williams, 77 F.3d at 761
(quoting Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 5 (1992)).
Objectively, the court must assess “whether society
considers the risk that the prisoner complains of to be so
grave that it violates contemporary standards of decency to