United States District Court, D. South Carolina
David A. Fleming, Plaintiff,
The State of South Carolina, Defendant.
ORDER REGARDING AMENDMENT OF COMPLAINT
J. GOSSETT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff, David A. Fleming, proceeding pro se, brings this
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This matter is
before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and
Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.). Having reviewed the
Complaint in accordance with applicable law, the court finds
this action is subject to summary dismissal if Plaintiff does
not amend the Complaint to cure the deficiencies identified
Factual and Procedural Background
an inmate in the Lexington County Detention Center, indicates
on a self-styled complaint that the State of South Carolina
is providing him a “lack of security” due to his
“false classification.” He also alleges the he
has Type 1 diabetes and the State has committed medical
malpractice. Plaintiff further alleges the State used
excessive force while transporting him to the medical unit
while in handcuffs.
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of the pro se Complaint pursuant
to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Pub.
L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), which requires the
court to review a complaint filed by a prisoner that seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity. See McLean v. United States,
566 F.3d 391 (4th Cir. 2009). Section 1915A requires a
district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the
action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
order to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the
plaintiff must do more than make mere conclusory statements
to state a claim. 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.
court is required to liberally construe pro se complaints,
which are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007); King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d 206, 214
(4th Cir. 2016). Nonetheless, 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 of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir.
1990); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684
(2009) (outlining pleading requirements under Rule 8 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for “all civil
Complaint, Plaintiff does not expressly state a recognizable
legal cause of action, but in accordance with the court's
duty to liberally construe pro se complaints, the court
construes it as asserting a cause of action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. A legal action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 allows “a party who has been deprived of a federal
right under the color of state law to seek relief.”
City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey,
Ltd., 526 U.S. 687, 707 (1999). To state a claim under
§ 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) that a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was
violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by
a person acting under the color of state law. West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
the Plaintiff's Complaint is wholly lacking in factual
allegations that would meet the federal pleading standards.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a
pleading's claim for relief contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. But here,
Plaintiff provides only vague, conclusory allegations that he
was harmed by the State of South Carolina while detained in a
detention center. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (stating Rule 8
does not require detailed factual allegations, but it
requires more than a plain accusation that the defendant
unlawfully harmed the plaintiff, devoid of factual support).
the only defendant named in Plaintiff's Complaint, the
State of South Carolina, generally is immune from suit in
federal court. The Eleventh Amendment bars suits by citizens
against non-consenting states brought either in state or
federal court. See Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706,
712-13 (1999); Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida,
517 U.S. 44, 54 (1996); Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S.
1 (1890). While sovereign immunity does not bar suit where a
state has given consent to be sued, or where Congress
abrogates the sovereign immunity of a state, neither of those
exceptions applies in the instant case. Moreover,
Plaintiff has not named an individual defendant that would be
amenable to suit under § 1983. See Will v. Mich.
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989)
(holding that neither a State nor its officials acting in
their official capacities are “persons” under
§ 1983). Therefore, Plaintiff's claims against the
State of South Carolina would be barred by the Eleventh
Plaintiff's Complaint is subject to summary dismissal
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) & (2) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and
because the only named defendant is immune from suit.
Plaintiff is hereby granted twenty-one (21) days from the
date this order is entered (plus three days for mail time) to
file an amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15(a) that corrects the deficiencies identified
above. In a contemporaneously issued order, the
court has provided Plaintiff with instructions to bring this
case into proper form for initial review and the issuance and
service of process. In that order are instructions to fill
out the standard pro se prisoner complaint form attached to
the order. Plaintiff should use the attached complaint form