United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge.
Rogers (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, is an
inmate incarcerated at Turbeville Correctional Institution in
the custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections
(“SCDC”). He filed this complaint alleging a
violation of his constitutional rights by SCDC. Pursuant to
the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local
Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (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 inmates attacked him in January 2018, breaking his leg
and chipping his eye socket. [ECF No. 1 at 6]. He alleges
SCDC correctional officers were not on the cellblock when he
was attacked. Id. He states two of the inmates who
attacked him were arrested and have pending criminal charges
against them for the incident. Id. at 8. Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages. Id. at 6.
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 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. As a state
agency, SCDC is immune from Plaintiffs claims for damages or
injunctive relief, and the undersigned recommends SCDC be
summarily dismissed from the action.
may attempt to correct the defects in his complaint by filing
an amended complaint by January 28, 2019, along with any
appropriate service documents. An amended complaint should
contain allegations of specific acts or omissions by the
defendants. Plaintiff is reminded that an amended complaint
replaces the original complaint and should be complete in
itself. See Young v. City of Mount Ranier, 238 F.3d
567, 572 (4th Cir. 2001) (“As a general rule, an
amended pleading ordinarily supersedes the original and
renders it of no legal effect.”) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). If Plaintiff files an amended
complaint, the undersigned will conduct screening of the
amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. If
Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint or fails to cure
the deficiencies identified above, the undersigned will
recommend to the district court that the claims be dismissed
without leave for further amendment.