Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Guess v. Hipps

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

April 2, 2019

Thurmond R. Guess, Sr., Plaintiff,
v.
Sharon Y. Hipps; State Farm Insurance; H. Ranald Stanley; John Austin Hood; Gallivant White Boyd; Johnston Cox; William P.A. Buyck, III; GEICO Indemnity Co.; Elliot B. Daniels; South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, Defendants.

          ORDER REGARDING AMENDMENT OF COMPLAINT

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The plaintiff, Thurmond R. Guess, Sr., proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights and personal injury action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. 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 indicates that on February 17, 2016, he and Defendant Hipps were involved in a motor vehicle collision in Columbia, South Carolina, in which Plaintiff was charged by the city police for following too closely. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 2; ECF No. 1-1 at 1.) Plaintiff's charge was dismissed for lack of prosecution, but Hipps filed a lawsuit against Plaintiff in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas. (Id., ECF No. 1-1 at 3-9.) Plaintiff claims that in the civil suit he demanded a jury trial and counterclaimed. (Id., ECF No. 1 at 2.) Plaintiff claims the court granted summary judgment in favor of Hipps, and that Defendant GEICO, Hipps's insurer, and Defendant State Farm Insurance, Plaintiff's insurer, conspired to “remove” Plaintiff's counterclaim from the docket and prevent Plaintiff from having his day in court. (Id.)

         Plaintiff raises claims that the defendants violated Plaintiff's Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial by “taking” Plaintiff's case off of the docket and Plaintiff's rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., by not giving Plaintiff notice of court hearings and dates, and by not telling Plaintiff about a settlement with Hipps. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff also claims, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (“SCDMV”) failed to remove and clear Plaintiff's driving record after he was found “not guilty” as to his traffic citation arising out of the accident. (Id.) Finally, Plaintiff raises a state law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against all of the defendants. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff seeks actual damages. (Id.)

         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. 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. This statute allows a district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the action “is frivolous or 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).

         In order to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the plaintiff must do more than make mere conclusory statements. 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

         1. South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

         Plaintiff raises a claim of an unspecified constitutional violation against the SCDMV for damages 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)). Plaintiff also raises a state law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

         However, the SCDMV is immune from Plaintiff's claim for damages. The 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 Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 54 (1996); Hans v. Louisiana,134 U.S. 1 (1890). Such immunity extends to arms of the state, including a state's agencies, instrumentalities and employees. See Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 101-02 (1984); see also Regents of the Univ. of Cal. v. Doe, 519 U.S. 425, 429 (1997). While sovereign immunity does not bar suit where a state has given consent to be sued, or where Congress abrogates the sovereign ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.