United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge
Damian Glenn Blocker (“Plaintiff”), proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this complaint alleging a
violation of his constitutional rights by the South Carolina
Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services
(“SCDPPPS”), Larry Patton, Jr.
(“Patton”), Kershaw Correctional Institution
(“KCI”), Assistant Warden Cannin
(“Cannin”), Assistant Warden Ford, Major Smith,
Captain Davies (“Davies”), Captain Goodwen
(“Goodwen”), Nurse Broche (“Broche”),
Nurse Black (“Black”), Caseworker Rague
(“Rague”), Manning Correctional Institution
(“MCI”), Officer Igin, and Captain Branell.
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)
and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), the undersigned
is authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit
findings and recommendations to the district judge.
Factual and Procedural Background
claims he received parole on October 17, 2018, but because
Patton failed to process his paperwork, he is being held
against his will. [ECF No. 1 at 4-5]. Plaintiff states that
after he fell in the law library on November 16, 2018, he was
taken to medical and given a shot, but was never transported
to the hospital to be checked. Id. at 5. Plaintiff
alleges he was placed in a wheelchair and escorted to the
control holding cell where he remained for three days without
a bed. Id. at 5-6.
sues Broche related to a tooth that he pulled himself.
Id. at 6. Plaintiff alleges Rague failed to move him
after he made parole from a unit with inmates serving life or
maximum sentences. Id. Plaintiff claims he has had
problems breathing and pain in his side since he was taken to
the hospital on March 12, 2018, and alleges he has not been
given adequate pain medication. Id. Plaintiff claims
he requested medical care on December 5, but his request was
denied. Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and
injunctive relief. Id.
Standard of Review
filed his complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which
permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal
court without prepaying the administrative costs of
proceeding with the lawsuit. To protect against possible
abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court
to dismiss a case upon a finding that the action fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted or is frivolous
or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii). 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). A claim based on a
meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d
1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). A federal 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). In
evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's
allegations are assumed to be true. Fine v. City of
N.Y., 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir. 1975). The mandated
liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that
if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a
valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should
do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction
does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in
the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently
cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir.
Eleventh Amendment Immunity
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 Florida v.
Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 54 (1996). Such immunity extends
to arms of the state, including a state's agencies,
instrumentalities, and employees. See Will v. Michigan
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). The
Eleventh Amendment also bars this court from granting
injunctive relief against the state or its agencies. See
Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781 (1978); Seminole Tribe
of Florida, 517 U.S. at 58. 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. See Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 343 (1979)
(holding that Congress has not abrogated the states'
sovereign immunity under § 1983); see also S.C.
Code Ann. § 15-78-20(e) (stating that South Carolina has
not consented to suit in federal district court). As a state
agency, SCDPPPS is immune from Plaintiff's claims for
damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The undersigned
recommends SCDPPPS be summarily dismissed.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two essential elements: (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). It is well-settled that only
“persons” may act under color of state law, and,
therefore, a defendant in a § 1983 action must qualify
as a “person.” See Monell v. Dep't of
Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). Courts have held
that inanimate objects such as buildings, facilities, and
grounds are not considered a person and do not act under
color of state law. See Nelson v. Lexington Cnty. Det.
Ctr., No. 8:10-2988-JMC, 2011 WL 2066551, at *1 (D.S.C.
May 26, 2011) (finding that the plaintiff failed to establish
that the Lexington County Detention Center, “as a
building and not a person, is amenable to suit under §