United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Spartanburg Division
REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
F. McDonald, United States Magistrate Judge.
plaintiff, proceeding pro se, brings a civil action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking monetary damages.
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)
and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), this magistrate
judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in cases
filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and submit findings and
recommendations to the district court. By way of order dated
March 7, 2018, the plaintiff was advised by the undersigned
that his complaint failed to state a claim for which relief
could be granted, and that he could attempt to correct the
identified defects by way of filing an amended complaint. The
plaintiff has failed to so amend.
plaintiff alleges that on January 1, 2017, he was arrested by
the South Carolina Highway Patrol and imprisoned in the
Spartanburg County Detention Facility for 80 days (doc. 1,
pp. 5 and 6). He alleges that he was “falsely
imprisoned, ” and that while in the detention center he
was forced to take showers, was maced and tasered, and
injured his finger (id.). The plaintiff seeks
damages for his injuries and his wrongful incarceration
(id. at 6).
plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute
authorizes the district court to dismiss a case if it is
satisfied 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). As a pro se litigant, the
plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction
and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings
drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89 (2007) (per curiam). However, even under
this less stringent standard, the pro se pleading
remains subject to summary dismissal. 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
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)). A civil
action under § 1983 “creates a private ight of
action to vindicate violations of ‘rights, privileges,
or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of
the United States.” Rehberg v. Paulk, 132
S.Ct. 1497, 1501 (2012). To state a claim under § 1983,
a plaintiff must allege 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 the color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
South Carolina Highway Patrol cannot be sued under §
1983 because it is not a person. It is well settled that only
“persons” may act under color of state law, so a
defendant in a § 1983 action must qualify as a
“person.” Although suing an entire department may
be a lawsuit against a group of people, groups of people are
not amenable to suit under § 1983. See Harden v.
Green, 27 Fed.Appx. 173, 178 (4th Cir. 2001) (finding
that the medical department of a prison is not a person
pursuant to § 1983); Nelson v. Lexington Cnty. Det.
Ctr., C/A No. 8:10-2988-JMC, 2011 WL 2066551, at *1
(D.S.C. May 26, 2011) (finding that Food Service Supervisors
was a group of people not subject to suit); Dalton v.
South Carolina Dep't of Corr., C/A No.
8:09-260-CMC-BHH, 2009 WL 823931, at *2 (D.S.C. March 26,
2009) (dismissing the medical staff of SCDC and Prison Health
Services as defendants because they were not persons);
Green v. Murdaugh, C/A No. 5:12-1086-RMG-KDW, 2012
WL 1987764, *2 (D.S.C. May 07, 2012), adopted by
2012 WL 1987259 (D.S.C. June 04, 2012) (dismissing because
police department was not subject to suit under § 1983).
Therefore, the South Carolina Highway Patrol is subject to
dismissal from this action because the plaintiff fails to
state a § 1983 claim against it.
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, and as the plaintiff has failed to timely file an
amended complaint as set forth in this court's order of
March 6, 2018, it is recommended that the district court
dismiss this action without prejudice. The
plaintiff's attention is directed to the important notice
on the next page.
IS SO RECOMMENDED.
of Right to File Objections to Report and
parties are advised that they may file specific written
objections to this Report and Recommendation with the
District Judge. Objections must specifically identify the
portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections
are made and the basis for such objections. “[I]n the
absence of a timely filed objection, a district court need
not conduct a de novo review, but instead must ‘only
satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of
the record in order to accept the recommendation.'”
Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416
F.3d 310 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72
advisory committee's note).
written objections must be filed within fourteen (14) days of
the date of service of this Report and Recommendation. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); see
Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a), (d). Filing by mail pursuant to Federal