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
Ward Bey (“Plaintiff”) is a detainee at the
Charleston County Detention Center (“CCDC”).
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, and that Plaintiff does not 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. 13, 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, and his time for
compliance has passed. The mail in which the court's
Order was sent to Plaintiff has not been returned, thus it
appears that Plaintiff received the Order, but chose not to
respond. As a result, this case is now ripe for a report and
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. Plaintiff provided no information about his
income or debts and failed to complete the court-approved
Form AO 240 as ordered by the court. Plaintiff was explicitly
warned that failure to complete the Form AO 240 would result
in a recommendation for denial of his Motion. ECF No. 18 at
4. 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 ...