United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
Thurmond R. Guess, Sr., Plaintiff,
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
J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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.
Factual and Procedural Background
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.)
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.
Standard of Review
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. §
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.
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
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
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.
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 ...