United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
Flordeliza A. Hawkins, Plaintiff,
Suntrust Bank, South Carolina Department of Social Services, Anderson County Sheriff's Office, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE
Jacquelyn D. Austin United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss filed by
Defendant Suntrust Bank (“Suntrust”) [Doc. 33];
and a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants South Carolina
Department of Social Services (“SCDSS”) and
Anderson County Sheriff's Office (“ACSO”)
(collectively, “the Agency Defendants”) [Doc.
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)
and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), D.S.C., this magistrate
judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in this
case and to submit findings and recommendations to the
proceeding pro se, filed this action on January 22, 2018,
alleging violations of her constitutional rights. [Doc. 1.]
On April 6, 2018, Suntrust filed a motion to dismiss. [Doc.
33.] On April 11, 2018, the Agency Defendants filed a joint
motion to dismiss. [Doc. 38.] On April 9, 2018, and April 12,
2018, the Court issued Orders in accordance with Roseboro
v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising
Plaintiff of the summary judgment/dismissal procedure and of
the possible consequences if she failed to adequately respond
to the motions. [Docs. 34; 40.] The Court also issued an
Amended Roseboro Order on April 20, 2018 [Doc. 57],
after the Agency Defendants filed a supplemental memorandum
in support of their motion to dismiss [Doc. 55]. Plaintiff
filed several documents in response to the motions to dismiss
filed by Suntrust and the Agency Defendants. [Docs. 51; 59;
60; 64; 68; 70; 78; 80; 87-1; 94; 97.] Suntrust replied to
Plaintiff's responses on May 9, 2018 [Doc. 71], and the
Agency Defendants replied on May 11, 2018 [Doc. 74].
Accordingly, the motions to dismiss are ripe for review.
precise nature of Plaintiff's claims are difficult to
decipher; however, it appears Plaintiff's allegations
relate to an eviction that took place on January 15, 2013.
[See Docs. 1 at 4-5; 1-1.] Plaintiff contends that
she and her husband lived at 2130 Cheddar Road in Belton,
South Carolina, for more than thirty years. [Doc. 1 at 4.]
Plaintiff contends that on January 15, 2013, ACSO wrongfully
evicted her and her husband from their home. [Id.]
She alleges that she and her bedridden husband were forced
into the yard even though the weather was cold and rainy.
[Id.] Plaintiff contends that Suntrust was
responsible for the unlawful removal because it evicted them
pursuant to an unenforceable contract. [Id.]
also alleges that ACSO called the rescue squad of Williamston
to take her husband to the hospital even though Plaintiff was
her husband's power of attorney. [Doc. 1-1 at 1.]
Plaintiff contends that-without her permission as his power
of attorney-SCDSS took over custody of her husband, allowed a
feeding tube to be inserted, and allowed Plaintiff to visit
with him only one hour. [Doc. 1 at 4.] Plaintiff contends
that the next contact she had regarding her husband was to
take him to hospice care. [Doc. 1-1 at 1.] Plaintiff alleges
that Defendants' actions caused her husband's death a
few days later. [Doc. 1 at 4.]
difficult to decipher, Plaintiff appears to allege violations
of her Fourth, Tenth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendment
rights as well as her human and disability rights as a result
of being evicted from her house on January 15, 2013.
[Id. at 3.] Plaintiff seeks $3, 000, 000.00 in
damages and the return of her house. [Id. at 4-5.]
Construction of Pro Se Complaint
brought this action pro se, which requires the Court to
liberally construe her pleadings. Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520 (1972); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291,
1295 (4th Cir. 1978); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d
1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Pro se pleadings are held to a
less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys.
Haines, 404 U.S. at 520. The mandated liberal
construction means only that, if the Court can reasonably
read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the
plaintiff could prevail, it should do so. Barnett v.
Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999). A court
may not construct the plaintiff's legal arguments for
her. Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th
Cir. 1993). Nor should a court “conjure up questions
never squarely presented.” Beaudett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
for a Cause of Action Under § 1983
action is filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
provides a private cause of action for constitutional
violations by persons acting under color of state law.
Section 1983 “‘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)). Accordingly, a civil action under
§ 1983 allows “a party who has been deprived of a
federal right under the color of state law to seek
relief.” City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at
Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687, 707 (1999).
1983 provides, in relevant part,
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State . . . subjects, or
causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or
any person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation
of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party ...