United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
GORDON BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis,
brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Dkt.
No. 1.) This matter is before the Court upon Defendants'
Motions for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. Nos. 35; 38.) Pursuant to
the provisions of Title 28, United States Code, Section
636(b)(1) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e), D.S.C., all pretrial
matters in cases involving pro se litigants are
referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for
consideration. For the reasons set forth herein, the
undersigned recommends granting both motions.
events giving rise to the instant action occurred on the
morning of August 29, 2017, when Plaintiff fell in the shower
while he was a pretrial detainee at Greenwood County
Detention Center (“the Detention Center”). (Dkt.
No. 1-3 at 5.) Plaintiff alleges that he “slipped and
fell on [his] left wrist” while exiting the shower.
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that “Officer
James” and inmates Toyre Ned McCarthy and Tommy Smith
witnessed the fall. (Id. 5-6.) Plaintiff alleges the
“incident was due to negligence because there were no
slip-resistant mats” in his shower. According to
Plaintiff, he wrote maintenance three times in early
September asking why there were not any slip resistant mats
for “top tier showers” and was told “they
were in the process of ordering mats.” (Id. at
alleges that as a result of the fall, he “sustained
broken bones to my left wrist. As a result of slipping and
falling on my wrist, it requires bones to be removed and
fused together. I have not received treatment (surgery) [and
am] gradually losing use of my hand/wrist. I stay in constant
pain.” (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff also alleges he
injured his head and shoulder. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3.) Plaintiff
alleges that he did not receive proper medical treatment for
alleges that an “outside contractor” performed an
x-ray on August 29, 2018. (Dkt. No. 1-3 at 10.) According to
Plaintiff, “PA and Nurse Donna Miller both stated that
[he] had multiple broken bones and  would probably require
surgery.” (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he put
in a request to medical on August 30, 2017, and he was told
an MRI was being scheduled. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges
that on August 31, 2017, he was transferred to Self Regional
Hospital for an MRI and more x-rays. (Dkt. No. 1 at 4.)
Plaintiff alleges that he wrote to medical again on September
5, 2018 and September 9, 2018, complaining of the pain in his
hand/wrist. (Dkt. No. 1-3 at 10.) Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant Miller told him it looked like an old injury and if
so, the Detention Center would not be responsible.
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he went to Lakelands
Orthopedics on September 11, 2017. (Id.) According
to Plaintiff, the doctor stated that it was an old break,
that Plaintiff had re-broken his hand/wrist, and that it
would require surgery. (Id.) When the doctor asked
about payment for surgery, Plaintiff alleges that his
transportation officer told the doctor “it's an old
injury, [the] Detention Center is not responsible.”
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that his surgery was never
alleges that Defendants Boland and Downing violated
Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment rights by refusing to
provide slip resistant mats. (Dkt. No. 1 at 5.) Plaintiff
further alleges that Defendant Miller refused to provide him
the “right to medical care” in violation of the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Id. at 5-6.) He
seeks actual and punitive damages. (Dkt. Nos. 1 at 6; 1-3 at
6.) Plaintiff also seeks injunctive relief in that the Court
order “Donna Miller to send Plaintiff to an orthopedic
to have [his] hand worked on or casted” to avoid
permanent damage. (Dkt. No. 1 at 6.)
filed this action on September 20, 2017. On February 1, 2018,
Plaintiff filed a letter with the Court, asserting that
Defendants are denying him the surgery he needs and that he
is “gradually losing mobility of [his] wrist/hand and
muscle tissue due to pinched nerves” caused by his
August 2017 fall. (Dkt. No. 21 at 1.) By Text Order, the
Court asked Defendants to file a status report, advising the
Court of the medical care Plaintiff has received, or is
receiving, for the alleged injury. (Dkt. No. 23.) Defendants
filed the requested status reports on February 16, 2018,
asserting that Plaintiff has received proper medical care for
the alleged injuries and that the surgery at issue was
elective and was non-emergent. (Dkt Nos. 26 at 2-3; 27 at
March 8, 2018, Defendants Lt. Mickey Boland and Captain
Kenneth Downing filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt.
No. 35.) On March 9, 2018, Defendant Donna Miller filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No. 38.) These motions
have been fully briefed and are ripe for disposition.
Liberal Construction of Pro Se Complaint
Plaintiff brought this action pro se, which requires
the Court to liberally construe his pleadings. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam); 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
that only if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to
state a valid claim on which the complainant could prevail,
it should do so. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128,
1133 (10th Cir. 1999). A court may not construct the
complainant's legal arguments for him. 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).
Summary Judgment Standard
to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment “shall” be granted “if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “Facts are
‘material' when they might affect the outcome of
the case, and a ‘genuine issue' exists when the
evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict
for the nonmoving party.” The News & Observer
Publ'g Co. v. Raleigh-Durham Airport Auth., 597 F.3d
570, 576 (4th Cir. 2010) (citing Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). In ruling on a
motion for summary judgment, “‘the nonmoving
party's evidence is to be believed, and all justifiable
inferences are to be drawn in that party's
favor.'” Id. (quoting Hunt v.
Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 552 (1999)); see also
Perini Corp. v. Perini Constr., Inc., 915 F.2d 121,
123-24 (4th Cir. 1990).
present several arguments in support of their Motions for
Summary Judgment. (Dkt. Nos. 35-1; 38-3.) They argue,
inter alia, that Plaintiff has failed to establish a
violation of his constitutional rights. In support of their
motions, Defendants have submitted affidavits from Defendants
Boland and Miller and Plaintiff's medical records and
grievance records. The undersigned will address
Plaintiff's claims in turn.
Conditions of Confinement
state a claim that conditions of confinement violate
constitutional requirements, “a plaintiff must show
both ‘(1) a serious deprivation of a basic human need;
and (2) deliberate indifference to prison conditions on the
part of prison officials.'”Strickler v.
Waters, 989 F.2d 1375, 1379 (4th Cir. 1993) (quoting
Williams v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 824 (4th Cir.
1991)). Here, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Boland and
Downing violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights by refusing
to provide slip resistant mats. (Dkt. No. 1 at 5.) Plaintiff does