United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER REGARDING AMENDMENT OF COMPLAINT
J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
plaintiff, Nathaniel Simmons, a self-represented state
prisoner, filed civil rights action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915 and § 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 herein.
Factual and Procedural Background
an inmate at the Kershaw Correctional Institution of the
South Carolina Department of Corrections, purports to bring
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations
of the First Amendment's Freedom of Speech and
Association Clauses, the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and
Unusual Punishment Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment's
Due Process Clause. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 3, 11.) Plaintiff
alleges that various conditions of his confinement constitute
cruel and unusual punishment, and that the named defendants
were deliberately indifferent in causing those conditions.
Those conditions include lack of recreation and exercise;
lack of fresh air and sunlight; unsanitary dorms, cells, and
showers; lack of showers, haircuts, shaves, and laundry;
stale, molded, cold, contaminated, and inadequate portions of
food; lack of responses to grievances and staff requests;
lack of clothes, accessories, wash rags, and razors; and lack
of, or refusal of, medical treatment, including mental health
treatment. (Id. at 13-17.) He claims these
conditions have caused him back, hip, and joint pain; skin
conditions; chest pains; dizziness; stomach pain;
indigestion; hunger; weight loss; loss of sleep; and mental
anguish. (Id. at 17.) He expressly raises claims
against all of the defendants in their individual and
official capacities for violating the constitutional
provisions listed above, and he seeks unspecified injunctive
relief and damages. (Id. at 3-10, 18.)
Standard of Review
Under established local procedure in this judicial district,
a careful review has been made of the pro se Complaint
pursuant to the procedural provisions of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Pub. L. No.
104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), including 28 U.S.C. §
1915 and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The Complaint has been filed
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, and is also governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
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, and § 1915 allows, 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. § 1915(e)(2)(B); 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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 actions”).
court concludes that the Complaint is subject to summary
dismissal because Plaintiff fails to provide sufficient
factual allegations to support his claims that the named
defendants violated his constitutional rights. The 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)). 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).
here, Plaintiff fails to allege any facts about the named
defendants that would show that they had any involvement in
the purported constitutional violations. See Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 676 (providing that a plaintiff in a § 1983 action
must plead that the defendant, through his own individual
actions, violated the Constitution); Wright v. Collins, 766
F.2d 841, 850 (4th Cir. 1985) (“In order for an
individual to be liable under § 1983, it must be
‘affirmatively shown that the official charged acted
personally in the deprivation of the plaintiff's rights.
The doctrine of respondeat superior has no application under
this section.' ”) (quoting Vinnedge v. Gibbs, 550
F.2d 926, 928 (4th Cir. 1977)). Because Plaintiff does not
explain how the named defendants were involved in the
purported violation of Plaintiff's rights, Plaintiff
fails to meet the federal pleading standards. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (requiring that a pleading contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief”); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(stating Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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).
Plaintiff's Complaint is subject to summary dismissal
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 19159(e)(2)(B)(ii) and §
1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. 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. If Plaintiff fails to file an amended