United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER REGARDING AMENDMENT OF COMPLAINT
J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
plaintiff, Walter Squirewell, a self-represented state
pretrial detainee, brings this civil rights action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Complaint has been filed
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
indicates he is detained in the Marion County Detention
Center on an attempted murder charge. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at
4-5.) Plaintiff indicates that jail officials placed him in
lockup because of his murder charge, in which Plaintiff is
confined to his cell alone for twenty-three hours every day.
(Id.) Plaintiff was placed in lock-up in June 2018
and remains there. (Id. at 5.) But, other inmates
with murder or attempted murder charges that jail officials
like have been placed in the general population, which comes
with more privileges. (Id. at 5-6.) Plaintiff claims
the solitary confinement-like conditions of his confinement
violate his right to due process, are discriminatory, and are
cruel and unusual punishment. (Id. at 4.) He seeks
relief for these constitutional violations pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and asks the court to stop the
“mistreatment and discrimination.” (Id.
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
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).
the Complaint fails to name a person that is amenable to suit
pursuant to § 1983 because the Marion County Detention
Center is an inanimate facility. It is well-settled that only
“persons” may act under color of state law;
therefore, a defendant in a § 1983 action must qualify
as a “person.” See 42 U.S.C. § 1983;
Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
694 (1978) (noting that for purposes of § 1983 a
“person” includes individuals and “bodies
politic and corporate”). Courts have held that
inanimate objects such as buildings, facilities, and grounds
are not “persons” and do not act under color of
state law. See 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 the plaintiff failed to establish that
the Lexington County Detention Center, “as a building
and not a person, is amenable to suit under §
1983”); see also Brooks v. Pembroke City Jail,
722 F.Supp. 1294, 1301 (E.D. N.C. 1989) (“Claims under
§ 1983 are directed at ‘persons' and the jail
is not a person amenable to suit.”). Because the Marion
County Detention Center is not an individual or corporate
body amenable to suit under § 1983, the court finds
Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
Plaintiff's Complaint is subject to summary dismissal
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(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
complaint that corrects those deficiencies, this action will
be recommended for summary dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915 and § 1915A.
South Carolina Plaintiffs attention is directed to the