Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Stephens v. South Carolina Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division

June 12, 2018

KASEEM STEPHENS, KORELL BATTLE, LORENZO HERION, and DAYQUAN ROBINSON, Plaintiffs,
v.
SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, WARDEN LEROY CARTLEDGE, Individually and in his Official Capacity as Warden of McCormick Correctional Institution, and WARDEN MICHAEL STEPHAN, Individually and in his Official Capacity as Warden of McCormick Correctional Institution, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          THOMAS E. ROGERS, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiffs are four inmates currently within the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) who were all housed at one time in the McCormick Correctional Institution (MCI). They each allege constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law claims under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act (SCTCA), S.C.Code Ann. §§ 15-78-10 et seq. arising from attacks they suffered at the hands of other inmates. Plaintiffs originally filed this action in the Court of Common Pleas, McCormick County, South Carolina, and Defendants removed the action to this court and filed a Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 6). Plaintiffs then filed an Amended Complaint[1] (ECF No. 9), and Defendants filed new Motions to Dismiss (ECF Nos. 13, 15). All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), DSC. This report and recommendation is entered for review by the district judge.

         II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiffs in this action allege there is a long history of inmate on inmate violence within the SCDC, and, as relevant to this lawsuit, at MCI, where Defendant Cartledge previously served as Warden and Defendant Stephan currently serves as Warden. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8-14. Plaintiffs allege that Cartledge and Stephan were

charged with the management of all staff regarding hiring, training, promotion, discipline, evaluation and firing; maintaining a safe working environment; monitoring compliance with all state policies and procedures; overseeing prison programs in education, mental health and infirmary; enforcing rules, regulations, policies, and laws regarding incarceration and employee conduct; enforcing policies regarding intake, classification, treatment programs and discipline; maintaining a proper system for the proper care, humane treatment, feeding, clothing, and safety of inmates.

Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8-9. Each Plaintiff alleges that he has suffered stabbing wounds at the hands of other inmates in separate incidents. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 26, 43, 54, 67, 77. The first alleged stabbing occurred in September of 2015, while the other four occurred within a four-month period between May and September of 2017. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 19, 41, 51, 64, 76. Plaintiff Korrell Battle was stabbed by other inmates on two separate occasions in May of 2017. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 43, 54. Plaintiffs allege that each of the incidents occurred when the correctional officers on duty were absent from the wing and, in some cases, had failed to lock cell doors in violation of SCDC's policies and procedures. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 24, 44, 53, 57, 68, 78. The Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff Stephens was told by SCDC personnel that someone had threatened to kill him, and “Defendant Warden Cartledge came to him and asked him if he wanted to be placed in protective custody but Plaintiff Stephens declined because no one could tell him what the real threat to him was and he didn't want to be locked up in his room for 23 out of a 24 hour day.” Am. Compl. ¶ 23. Otherwise, there are no specific factual allegations against Cartledge nor are there any specific factual allegations against Stephan. Plaintiffs allege that their injuries “are the direct and proximate result of Defendant SCDC, Defendant Warden Cartledge, Defendant Warden Stephan, and [a] Correctional Officer []'s, acting as an agent, employee and/or servant for Defendant SCDC, gross negligence in failing to follow SCDC's policies and procedures.” Am. Compl. ¶¶ 39, 49, 62, 74, 89. Plaintiffs also allege that their injuries “are a direct and proximate result of the individual actions of Defendant Warden Cartledge and Defendant Warden Stephan's deliberate indifference in violating the Plaintiffs' constitutional [ ] rights pursuant to the United States Constitution.” Am. Compl. ¶¶ 40, 50, 63, 75, 90. Plaintiffs allege causes of action for (1) injunctive relief pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 15-43-30 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, (2) deliberate indifference[2] against Cartledge and Stephan pursuant to § 1983, (3) failure to implement appropriate policies, customs, and practices against Cartledge and Stephan pursuant to § 1983, and (4) violation of the SCTCA against SCDC.[3]

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Defendants seek dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion examines whether Plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted. The United States Supreme Court has made clear that, under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). 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.

         Expounding on its decision in Twombly, the United States Supreme Court stated in Iqbal:

[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require “detailed factual allegations, ” but it demands more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading that offers “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders “naked assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual enhancement.”
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.

Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-78 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 556, 557, 570) (citations omitted); see also Bass v. Dupont, 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir.2003). The court may consider documents attached to a complaint or motion to dismiss “so long as they are integral to the complaint and authentic.” Philips v. Pitt Cty. Mem. Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir.2009) (citing Blankenship v. Manchin, 471 F.3d 523, 526 n. 1 (4th Cir.2006)).

         IV. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.