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Allen v. Darlington County Detention Center

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

January 9, 2019

Dandriguez Allen, Jr., #103465, Plaintiff,
Darlington County Detention Center and Patricia[1] Ray, Defendants.



         Dandriguez Allen, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his constitutional rights while incarcerated in the Darlington County Detention Center (“DCDC”). Plaintiff sues DCDC and DCDC Director Patricia Ray (collectively “Defendants”).

         This matter comes before the court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. [ECF No. 27]. Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), the court advised Plaintiff of the dismissal procedures and the possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately to Defendants' motion. [ECF No. 28]. The motion having been fully briefed [ECF Nos. 31, 32], it is ripe for disposition.

         All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.). Because the motion is dispositive, this report and recommendation is entered for the district judge's consideration. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends Defendants' motions for summary judgment be granted.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff's complaint asserts claims stemming from his slip and fall at DCDC. [ECF No. 1 at 4].[2] Specifically, Plaintiff states he was walking up the stairs when he slipped on water that appeared to have come from a mop and he fell face first. Id. at 5. Plaintiff claims he injured his mouth and chipped his two front teeth. Id. He alleges he was not taken to a hospital, nor was he permitted to see a dentist. Id. at 5-6.

         In the video recording of the incident provided to the court, Plaintiff is in the Alpha Housing Unit on the morning of September 28, 2017. [ECF No. 27-2 at 4]. After an inmate with a mop passes him, Plaintiff walks by the mop bucket and falls as he walks up the stairs. Id. at 8:48:05, 8:49:21, 8:49:38.[3] An officer then approaches Plaintiff and hands him tissue. Id. at 8:49:40, 8:50:39. DCDC medical staff reports to the unit and checks Plaintiff's mouth. Id. at 8:51:55-8:52:53.

         According to DCDC's shift log entry, Plaintiff complained to an officer later that afternoon about tooth pain. [ECF No. 27-2 at 5]. A nurse examined Plaintiff the following day, and he complained of bleeding gums, multiple chipped teeth, and a loose tooth. Id. at 6-7. Plaintiff rated his pain as 7 of 10. Id. at 7. A nurse advised Plaintiff to rinse his mouth after eating and to avoid playing with his tooth. Id. Plaintiff was also prescribed ibuprofen 800mg. Id. at 8.

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard on Summary Judgment

         The court shall grant summary judgment “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The movant bears the initial burden of demonstrating that summary judgment is appropriate; if the movant carries its burden, then the burden shifts to the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). If a movant asserts that a fact cannot be disputed, it must support that assertion either by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials;” or “showing . . . that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

         In considering a motion for summary judgment, the evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Id. at 248. Further, while the federal court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case, see, e.g., Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972), the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege facts that set forth a federal claim, nor can the court assume the existence of a genuine issue of material fact when none exists. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).

         B. Analysis

         1. ...

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