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Davis v. Miller

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division

January 23, 2019

Derrick Jerome Davis, Plaintiff,
v.
Donna Miller, Southern Health Partners, Chad Cox, T. Montgomery, Greenwood County Detention Center, Saluda County Detention Center, Defendants.

          REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Kevin F. McDonald United States Magistrate Judge

         The plaintiff, a pretrial detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his constitutional rights. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), D.S.C., this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in cases filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and submit findings and recommendations to the district court.

         The plaintiff's complaint was filed on December 13, 2018 (doc. 1). By order filed December 21, 2018, the plaintiff was given a specific time frame in which to bring his case into proper form for judicial screening (doc. 7). The plaintiff has complied with the Court's order, and this case is now in proper form.

         The plaintiff alleges that while incarcerated, his medical issues were ignored by Nurse Donna Miller and her employer Southern Health Partners, as well as correctional officers Chad Cox and T. Montgomery. Also named as defendants are the Greenwood County Detention Center (“GCDC”) and the Saluda County Detention Center (“SCDC”) (doc. 1). He seeks monetary damages for violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights (doc. 1 at 6). Because GCDC and SCDC are not subject to suit under § 1983 as addressed below, they should be dismissed from this case.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that the action “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” is “frivolous or malicious, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). As a pro se litigant, the plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007) (per curiam). 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, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).

         This complaint is filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which “‘is not itself a source of substantive rights,' but merely provides ‘a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.'” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n. 3 (1979)). A civil action under § 1983 “creates a private right of action to vindicate violations of ‘rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States.” Rehberg v. Paulk, 566 U.S. 356, 361 (2012). To state a claim under § 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).

         DISCUSSION

         The plaintiff's complaint names the GCDC and SCDC as defendants (doc. 1). It is well settled that only “persons” may act under color of state law; thus, a defendant in a § 1983 action must qualify as a “person.” GCDC and SCDC are buildings, not persons and do not act under color of state law. Hence, GCDC and SCDC are not subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Harden v. Green, 27 Fed.Appx. 173, 178 (4th Cir. 2001); See also Nelson v. Lexington Cty. Det. Ctr., C/A No. 8:10-2988-JMC, 2011 WL 2066551, at *1 (D.S.C. May 26, 2011) (finding that a building-the detention center-is not amenable to suit under § 1983). Accordingly, as GCDC and SCDC are not “persons” under § 1983, the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted against them, and they are entitled to summary dismissal. The case will continue as to defendants Donna Miller, Southern Health Partners, Chad Cox, and T. Montgomery.

         RECOMMENDATION

         Accordingly, it is recommended that the District Court dismiss this action with prejudice and without issuance and service of process as to defendants GCDC and SCDC.

         IT IS SO RECOMMENDED

         The plaintiff's attention is directed to the important notice on the next page.

         Notice of Right to File Objections to Report ...


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