United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Court Judge.
this Court is the Report and Recommendation ("R &
R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 30) recommending
that Defendant's motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 22) be
granted in part and denied in part. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court adopts the R & R and grants in part and
denies in part the Defendant's motion to dismiss.
Robbie Collins is currently incarcerated at the Broad River
Correctional Institution ("Broad River") in the
custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections
("SCDC"). (Dkt. No. 11 at 2.) Plaintiff makes four
claims: denial of medical care, denial of outdoor recreation,
freedom of religion, and denial of access to the grievance
alleges that his ribs were broken on April 4, 2018, after
being attacked by a group of inmates. (Dkt. No. 11 at 5.) A
doctor ordered an x-ray and other treatment, but Plaintiff
was transferred to McCormick Correctional Institution
("MCI") before receiving any treatment.
(Id.) On April 10, 2018, Plaintiff visited health
services at MCI, and the nurse informed him he would receive
an x-ray and told him to fill out a "sick-call
request." (Id.) The following day, Plaintiff
was placed in the Restrictive Housing Unit ("RHU").
(Id.) While in the RHU, Plaintiff claims that he
asked to see medical staff but continued to not be treated
despite being in excruciating pain. (Id.) Plaintiff
claims he then submitted two Requests to Staff Members
("RTSM"), since an inmate must seek an informal
resolution of an issue prior to filing a step 1 grievance.
April 20, 2018, Plaintiff filed an emergency step 1
grievance, alleging that he required medical attention for
his ribs, and that he had been defecating and urinating
blood. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 1.) His grievance noted that he had
wrote a "staff request to medical." (Id.)
On May 1, 2018, Plaintiff went to the medical unit again for
his ribs, and a nurse was allegedly "shocked" that
his ribs were protruding out of his side and instructed
Plaintiff to file a grievance. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 1.) Plaintiff
filed another emergency step 1 grievance that same day,
reiterating that he had previously sent an RTSM. (Dkt. No.
1-2 at 3.) On May 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed an additional
emergency step 1 grievance. (Id. at 5.) No later
than June 2, 2018, Plaintiff was transferred from MCI to
Broad River. On June 2, 2018, Plaintiff received a response
to one of his alleged RTSMs (dated April 25, 2018), noting
that MCI would not take any action because Plaintiff was no
longer an inmate at MCI. (Dkt. No. 11-1 at 3.)
additionally claims that the Defendants unlawfully denied him
outdoor recreation. Plaintiff filed a step 1 grievance
regarding the issue on May 7, 2018, which stated that he had
previously filed an RTSM. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 13.)
Complaint also alleges that the Defendants denied Plaintiff
freedom of religion. (Dkt. No. 11 at 8.) Specifically,
Plaintiff alleges he is a member of the Nation of Gods and
Earths, which is allegedly not recognized as a religion by
SCDC because it is designated as a Security Threat Group
("STG"). (Id.) On November 3, 2015, while
incarcerated at Lieber Correctional Institution, Plaintiff
filed a grievance regarding the STG designation. (Dkt. No.
1-2 at 7.) He requested Nation of Gods and Earth to be
recognized as a religion, and sought religious materials, the
right to observe holy days, attend formal gatherings, and
"correspond with the school." (Id.) The
grievance was denied on December 31, 2015, and indicated that
Plaintiff had since been transferred to Lee Correctional
Institution. (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff filed a step 2
grievance on January 12, 2016, and the grievance was again
denied on March 23, 2016. (Id. at 9)
Plaintiff claims that Defendant Williams denied him access to
the grievance system by refusing to process his grievances
without an answered RTSM. (Dkt. No. 11 at 10).
filed his Complaint on June 2, 2018, (Dkt. No.l) and filed an
Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 11) on June 25, 2018, in response
to a proper form order. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss
on August 29, 2018, and Plaintiff opposed. (Dkt. Nos. 22,
25.) The Magistrate Judge issued an R & R on October 18,
2018, and no parties have filed objections. (Dkt. No. 30.)
Motion to Dismiss
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits the
dismissal of an action if the complaint fails "to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted." Such a motion
tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint and "does
not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of the
claim, or the applicability of defenses.... Our inquiry then
is limited to whether the allegations constitute 'a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief" Republican Party of N.C. v.
Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (quotation
marks and citation omitted). In a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the
Court is obligated to "assume the truth of all facts
alleged in the complaint and the existence of any fact that
can be proved, consistent with the complaint's
allegations." E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs.
Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000).
However, while the Court must accept the facts in a light
most favorable to the non-moving party, it "need not
accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable
conclusions, or arguments." Id.
survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Although the
requirement of plausibility does not impose a probability
requirement at this stage, the complaint must show more than
a "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). A complaint has "facial plausibility"
where the pleading "allows the ...