United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division
C. Coggins, Jr. United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Complaint
alleging violations of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. ECF No. 1. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), (D.S.C.), this
matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Shiva
V. Hodges for pre-trial proceedings. On April 10, 2018, the
Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation
(“Report”) recommending that Plaintiff's
Complaint be dismissed for failure to allege sufficient facts
to state a plausible claim for deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs. ECF No. 8. The Magistrate Judge
advised Plaintiff of the procedures and requirements for
filing objections to the Report, and Plaintiff filed
objections to the Report.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a
specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the
Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate
Judge with instructions. See U.S.C. § 636(b).
The Court will review the Report only for clear error in the
absence of an objection. See Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (stating that “in the absence of 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.” (citation omitted)).
construing Plaintiff's Complaint and objections, it
appears that he states a plausible claim for deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs. See Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (holding
pro se pleadings are given liberal construction and are held
to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by
attorneys). Plaintiff alleges that he fell and injured his
knee. ECF Nos. 1 at 6; 10 at 1. He was seen at sick call and
x-rays were taken. ECF Nos. 1 at 6; 10 at 4). However,
Plaintiff contends that his knee is still causing him pain
and, while he has been given Ibuprofen, he has not been given
any supportive device which is causing him to put more
pressure on his other knee. ECF Nos. 1 at 6; 10 at 4.
Plaintiff also appears to allege an ongoing and worsening
condition, known to the staff at the Greenwood County
Detention Center, for which he is not being adequately
treated. ECF Nos. 1 at 6; 10 at 3-4.
standard for reviewing medical claims of pretrial detainees
under the Fourteenth Amendment is essentially the same as
that for a convicted prisoner under the Eighth
Amendment-deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.
Hill v. Nicodemus, 979 F.2d 987, 991 (4th Cir.1992);
see Belcher v. Oliver, 898 F.2d 32, 34 (4th
Cir.1990) (“The Fourteenth Amendment right of pretrial
detainees, like the Eighth Amendment right of convicted
prisoners, requires that government officials not be
deliberately indifferent to any serious medical needs of the
detainee.”). Although the Constitution does require
that prisoners be provided with a certain minimum level of
medical treatment, it does not guarantee to a prisoner the
treatment of his choice.” Jackson v. Fair, 846
F.2d 811, 817 (1st Cir.1988). The government is
“obligat[ed] to provide medical care for those whom it
is punishing by incarceration.” Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102 (1976). This obligation arises
from an inmate's complete dependency upon prison medical
staff to provide essential medical services. Id.
order to state a claim, “[a] plaintiff must satisfy two
elements . . .: he must show a serious medical need and he
must prove the defendant's purposeful indifference
thereto.” Sires v. Berman, 834 F.2d 9, 12 (1st
Cir.1987). With regard to the objective component, a medical
need is “serious” if “it is diagnosed by a
physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious
that even a lay person would recognize the necessity for a
doctor's attention.” Gaudreault v. Municipality
of Salem, Mass., 923 F.2d 203, 208 (1st Cir. 1990).
“Plaintiffs must also show the subjective
component-deliberate indifference. An officer is deliberately
indifferent only when he ‘knows of and disregards'
the risk posed by the serious medical needs of the
inmate.” Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 241 (4th
Cir.2008) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
837 (1994)). Mere negligence or malpractice does not violate
the Eighth Amendment. Grayson v. Peed, 195 F.3d 692,
695 (4th Cir. 1999). Moreover, disagreements between an
inmate and a physician over the inmate's proper medical
care do not state a § 1983 claim unless exceptional
circumstances are alleged. Wright v. Collins, 766
F.2d 841, 849 (4th Cir.1985).
procedural posture, it is impossible to determine if
Plaintiff's injury is sufficiently serious or if
Defendants knew of and disregarded the risk posed by the
serious medical need. More facts are needed to properly
evaluate this claim. Accordingly, in light of Plaintiff's
allegations, the Court finds that Plaintiff has pled facts
sufficient to state a plausible claim that his constitutional
rights have been violated.
also alleges numerous facts pertaining to the conditions of
his confinement for the first time in his objections. To the
extent that Plaintiff intends to bring additional claims and
have them considered by this Court, he is directed to file an
amended complaint within 14 days of this Order. Plaintiff is
reminded that an amended complaint replaces the original
complaint and should be complete in itself. See Young v.
City of Mount Ranier, 238 F.3d 567, 572 (4th Cir.
the Court respectfully declines to adopt the Report and
Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. This matter is
recommitted to the Magistrate for further pretrial
proceedings. In the event that Plaintiff intends to bring
additional claims, he is directed to file an amended
complaint within 14 days of the date of this Order.