United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAYMANI D. WEST, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a civil action filed pro se by a local detainee. Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), and Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), this magistrate judge is authorized
to review all pretrial matters in such pro se cases and to
submit findings and recommendations to the district court.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e); 1915A (as soon
as possible after docketing, district courts should review
prisoner cases to determine whether they are subject to
Factual and Procedural Background
Quameh Bey (“Plaintiff”) was a detainee at the
Charleston County Detention Center (“CCDC”) when
this case was filed. Proceeding pro se, Plaintiff submitted a
Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking monetary
damages. Following initial review of his Complaint, the court
noted in an Order issued on July 5, 2018 that Plaintiff
alleges that he has been denied photocopies and law library
access at CCDC. ECF No. 18. The court also noted that
Plaintiff does not allege any actual injury from the alleged
denial of access to copies or to a library, nor does he
allege whether he is currently represented by legal counsel
in connection with pending criminal charges. Id.
Plaintiff was informed of the deficiencies in his Complaint
that prevent him from stating plausible federal claims and
was granted 14 days to submit an amended complaint to correct
those deficiencies. Id. at 3-4. In that same Order,
Plaintiff was informed that his handwritten Motion to Proceed
in forma pauperis, ECF No. 2, did not provide the
required information for the court to rule on his Motion. He
was ordered to complete and file a Form AO 240 to provide the
required information and was warned that if he failed to do
so, it would be recommended that the Motion be denied and he
could not proceed without paying the full filing fee. ECF No.
18 at 5.
did not respond to the court's Order; his time for
compliance has passed. The mail in which the court's
Order was sent to Plaintiff was returned as undeliverable.
There is a handwritten notation on the envelope stating
“out of jail.” ECF No. 22. Thus it appears that
Plaintiff did not receive the court's most recent Order.
However, Plaintiff did receive the court's initial Order
in which he was advised of his obligation to keep his address
current. ECF No. 14.Plaintiff failed to maintain a valid
address with the court despite his having been warned of his
obligation to do so. The court has no address for Plaintiff
at this time; therefore, the court cannot attempt to re-mail
the most recent Order to him. As a result, this case is now
ripe for a report and recommendation.
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of Plaintiff's pro se
Complaint filed in this case. This review has been conducted
pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915, 1915A, and the Prison Litigation Reform
Act of 1996, and in light of the following precedents:
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden,
Md. House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995);
Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983);
Boyce v. Alizaduh, 595 F.2d 948 (4th Cir. 1979).
complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by attorneys, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d
1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district court is
charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro
se litigant to allow the development of a potentially
meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007); Kerr v. Marshall Univ. Bd. of Governors,
824 F.3d 62, 72 (4th Cir. 2016). When a federal court is
evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's
allegations are assumed to be true. De'Lonta v.
Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 630 n.1 (4th Cir. 2003).
Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does
not mean that this court can ignore a clear failure in the
pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently
cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir.
1990). Even under this less stringent standard, the Complaint
filed in this case is subject to summary dismissal under the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
the undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's Motion for
Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis be denied because
it does not contain the type of financial information about
the Plaintiff that the court requires to make a ruling on
such a motion. ECF No. 2. Plaintiff provided no information
about his income or debts in his Motion. Plaintiff also
failed to complete a court-approved Form AO 240 as ordered by
the court in its April 24th Order, which Plaintiff received.
ECF No. 14. Plaintiff was explicitly warned in that Order
that failure to provide the items requested could result in
dismissal of his case. Id. at 1. Accordingly, it is
recommended that the court deny Plaintiff's Motion for
Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. Even though the
Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis should
be denied, the undersigned conducted an initial review of the
Complaint as required under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915,
1915A and addresses the merits of Plaintiff's Complaint.
general rule, jails are not constitutionally required to make
photocopies for detainees or provide access to a law library
for detainees. In Harrison v. Moketa/Motycka, 485
F.Supp.2d 652, 658 (D.S.C. 2007), this court stated,
“It is well established that inmates do not have
unlimited rights to photocopies or photocopying machines.
See Lyons v. Clark, 694 F.Supp. 184, 188 (E.D. Va.
1988) (while prisoners who can show they are indigent have a
right to free postage stamps in connection with the right to
access the courts, there exists no such right to free
photocopies); see also Magee v. Waters, 810 F.2d
451, 452 (4th Cir. 1987) (libraries not required in pretrial
detention centers in absence of actual injury and denial of
access to court).
only exception to this general rule is that detainees who are
representing themselves in their criminal case should be
provided with some access to legal research materials. If a
detainee has appointed or retained legal counsel, no access
to legal materials is required. See United
States v. Chatman, 584 F.2d 1358, 1360 (4th Cir. 1978).
Furthermore, a detainee has a first amendment right to access
to court, but must allege that he or she suffered an actual
injury from the alleged denial of access to court. See
Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351-53 (1996) (plaintiff
must allege actual injury resulting from allegedly inadequate
jail library in order to state a claim under § 1983);
Michau v. Charleston Cnty., S.C., 434 F.3d 725, 728
(4th Cir. 2006) (inmate must allege and show that he has
suffered an actual injury or specific harm to his litigation
efforts as a result of the defendant's actions);
Magee v. Waters, 810 F.2d at 452 (actual injury
required where complaint was of limited library time). An
actual injury may be shown if the detainee had a court case
dismissed or lost a motion in a case because of his or her
inability to access the court due to a state actor's
wrongdoing. See Strickler v. Waters, 989 F.2d 1375,
1383-85 (4th Cir. 1993).
allegations in Plaintiffs Complaint fail to state plausible
claims because there are no allegations that Plaintiff is not
represented by legal counsel in his criminal case, which
would require more access to legal materials for trial
preparation. Additionally, there are no allegations showing a
denial of access to court or an actual injury from the
alleged failure of Defendants to provide copies or legal
research. Without allegations of actual injury such as the
dismissal of a case ...