United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
F. McDonald United States Magistrate Judge
petitioner, proceeding pro se, has filed a “Writ of
Supervisory Control” which this court construes as a
civil action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
seeking relief for violations of his constitutional rights.
The petitioner is a state prisoner, and files this action in
forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. 636(b)(1) and District of South Carolina Local Civil
Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e), 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.
petitioner filed this action on September 24, 2018. He is
currently incarcerated at the South Carolina Department of
Corrections' Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville,
South Carolina. By order filed on September 27, 2018, the
petitioner was advised that his case was not in proper form
and was given instructions on how to bring it into proper
form so that this court could conduct initial review. The
petitioner has complied with the court's order (docs.
petitioner moves pursuant to Rule 60(a) to correct an error
in the caption of the court's September 27, 2018 order
(doc. 12-3). The petitioner asserts that James C. Campbell,
Clerk of Court, should have been listed as the
respondent, as he designated in his initial pleading he
entitled “Writ of Supervisory Control” (doc. 1).
The undersigned had considered this initial claim as one
against the state, but the petitioner makes clear that he
intends to sue James C. Campbell, Clerk of Court, in his
individual and official capacity. Accordingly, the
petitioner's motion is GRANTED such that the caption of
the September 27, 2018 will be modified to reflect the
respondent as James C. Campbell and that all other documents
filed in this case will likewise be so captioned.
petitioner names Campbell as the sole respondent in this
action and identifies him as the Clerk of Court
(Id.). The petitioner indicates that he sues
Campbell in his official and individual capacities
(Id. at 1). The petitioner alleges that the
“Sumter County Family Court has dismissed No.
2015-DR-43-0046 which is intertwined with my misconviction,
and other collateral cases, where its Clerk, JAMES C.
CAMPBELL committed unreasonable actions involving reckless
indifference with a pattern of abuse that resulted in a
violation of [his] rights” (Id.). He further
alleges that Campbell “has repeatedly breached [his]
duty to perform the ministerial act of accepting technically
sufficient papers which are pertinent to issues in the cases
and interposed substantial fees as a barrier to access to
courts, affecting the law of the cases, denying my
opportunity to be heard, frustrating my claims, preventing my
challenge of conviction, affecting my substantial rights,
causing injury and harm to me” (Id. at 1). He
claims the respondent's actions have deprived the [state]
court of information and, as such, the [state] court has not
ruled on many issues. As relief, he seeks monetary damages;
an order holding in abeyance the state court proceeding; a
change of venue, or to have the Clerk removed, or both; and
to vacate the lower court judgment (Id. at 1-2).
petitioner filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute authorizes
the District Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that
the action “fails to state a claim on which relief may
be granted, ” is “frivolous or malicious, ”
or “seeks monetary relief against a respondent who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). A finding of frivolity can be made where the
complaint lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992).
pro se litigant, the petitioner's pleadings are accorded
liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard
than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). However,
even under this less stringent standard, the pro se pleading
remains subject to summary dismissal. The requirement of
liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore
a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set
forth a claim cognizable in a federal district court. See
Weller v. Dep't Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir.
order to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the
petitioner must do more than make mere conclusory statements.
See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009);
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). Rather, the complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible
on its face. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570. 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.
instant action is subject to dismissal due to the
petitioner's failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. As previously set forth, the petitioner named
Campbell as the sole respondent and identifies him as the
Clerk of Court. County clerks of court are part of the State
of South Carolina's unified judicial system. See S.C.
Const. Article V, § 24; §§ 14-1-40, 14-17-10,
South Carolina Code of Laws (as amended). It is well settled
that clerks of court and other court support personnel are
entitled to immunity similar to judges when performing their
quasi-judicial duties. See Jarvis v. Chasanow, 448
Fed. App'x.406 (4th Cir. 2011); Stevens v.
Spartanburg Cty. Prob., Parole, and Pardon Servs., C/A
No. 6:09-795-HMH-WMC, 2010 WL 678953, at *7 (D.S.C. Feb. 23,
2010). Absolute judicial immunity extends to persons other
than judges when performance of judicial acts or activities
as official judicial aides are involved and is referred to as
quasi-judicial immunity. See Abebe v. Propes, C.A.
No. 0:11-1215-MBS-PJG, 2011 WL 2581385, *3 (D.S.C. June 3,
2011) (collecting cases), ...