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Jones v. Breen

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

March 6, 2019

Brandon Jones, Plaintiff,
v.
William Breen, Defendant.

          ORDER REGARDING AMENDMENT OF COMPLAINT

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Brandon Jones, proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action. The Complaint has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 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.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff, a federal inmate housed at FCI Edgefield, filed this action on a standard form for a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Plaintiff indicates he fell out of his top bunk and injured his back, but prison staff refuses to provide him any treatment. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 2.) He claims prison staff has been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment and Federal Bureau of Prison policy. (Id. at 6-7.) Plaintiff seeks damages and for the court to order that he be seen by a doctor for his back pain. (Id. at 8.) In a “motion to show cause” filed with the Complaint, he indicates the named defendant is the warden of the prison. (ECF No. 3 at 1.)

         II. Discussion

         A. 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 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), 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 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. § 1915A(b).

         In 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.

         This 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”).

         B. Analysis

         Plaintiff filed this action on a standard form for a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C § 2241. However, Plaintiff does not seek to vacate his conviction or sentence, nor does he seek speedier release from confinement. See Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005) (providing that prisoners should only use habeas corpus “when they seek to invalidate the duration of their confinement-either directly through an injunction compelling speedier release or indirectly through a judicial determination that necessarily implies the unlawfulness of the State's custody”) (emphasis in original). In light of the court's duty to liberally construe pro se pleadings, Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94, the court construes this action ask seeking damages and injunctive relief based on a violation of the Eighth Amendment Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause.

         However, because Plaintiff filed this action on a standard form for habeas corpus actions, it is not clear whom Plaintiff intends to name as a defendant in this action.[1] Thus, Plaintiff has not identified a proper defendant in this suit. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (“Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); cf. Potter v. Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974) (“Where a complaint alleges no specific act or conduct on the part of the defendant and the complaint is silent as to the defendant except for his name appearing in the caption, the complaint is properly dismissed, even under the liberal construction to be given pro se complaints.”).

         Consequently, Plaintiffs Complaint is subject to summary dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 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.[2] In a contemporaneously issued order, the court has provided Plaintiff with instructions to bring this case into proper form for initial review and the issuance and service of process. In that order are instructions to fill out the standard pro se prisoner complaint form attached to the order. Plaintiff should use the complaint form attached to that order to correct the deficiencies identified here. If Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint that corrects those deficiencies, this action will be recommended for summary dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         IT ...


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