United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge.
J. Easton (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed this complaint against Lt. Kristi
Leoperd (“Leoperd”) alleging violations of his
constitutional rights. Pursuant to the provisions of 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e)
(D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review such
complaints for relief and submit findings and recommendations
to the district judge.
Factual and Procedural Background
alleges violations of his 5th, 8th, and 18th Amendment rights
due to: (1) “God awful conditions, ” (2)
“safety, ” (3) “food unsanitized, ”
(4) “jumped in B block, ” and (5) being held past
his 20-day extradition period twice. [ECF No. 1 at 4-5]. He
alleges he suffered a “nasty scar” on his
forehead and seeks monetary damages. [ECF No. 1 at 6].
Standard of Review
filed his complaint 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. To protect against possible
abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court
to dismiss a case upon a finding that the action fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted or is frivolous
or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii). A
finding of frivolity can be made where the complaint lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). A claim based on a
meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d
1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). A federal court is charged with
liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant
to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In
evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's
allegations are assumed to be true. Fine v. City of
N.Y., 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir. 1975). The mandated
liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that
if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a
valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should
do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction
does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in
the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently
cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir.
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although the court must
liberally construe a pro se complaint, the United States
Supreme Court has made it clear a plaintiff must do more than
make conclusory statements to state a claim. See Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009); Bell Atlantic
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, and the
reviewing court need only accept as true the complaint's
factual allegations, not its legal conclusions.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79.
state a plausible claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. §
1983,  an aggrieved party must sufficiently
allege he was injured by “the deprivation of any [of
his or her] rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
[United States] Constitution and laws” by a
“person” acting “under color of state
law.” See 42 U.S.C. § 1983; see
generally 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 1230 (3d ed.
assert a viable § 1983 claim against a public official,
a causal connection or affirmative link must exist between
the public official and his/her conduct. See Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 676 (providing a plaintiff in a § 1983
action must plead that the defendant, through his own
individual actions, violated the Constitution); Rizzo v.
Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72 (1976) (a § 1983
plaintiff must show he suffered a specific injury as a result
of specific conduct of a defendant, and an affirmative link
between the injury and that conduct); 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)); Vinnedge, 550 F.2d at 928 (for an individual
to be liable under § 1983, it must be affirmatively
shown the official charged acted personally in the
deprivation of the plaintiff's rights).
Plaintiff must show Leoperd acted with deliberate
indifference. See Hill v. Nicodemus, 979 F.2d 987,
991 (4th Cir. 1992). Generally, to establish a claim based on
alleged deliberate indifference, a detainee must establish
two requirements: (1) objectively, the deprivation suffered
or injury inflicted was “sufficiently serious, ”
and (2) subjectively, the prison officials acted with a
“sufficiently culpable state of mind.” Farmer
v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994); Williams v.
Benjamin, 77 F.3d 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1996). Objectively,
the court must assess “whether society considers the
risk that the prisoner complains of to be so grave that it
violates contemporary standards of decency to expose
anyone unwillingly to such a risk. In other words,
the prisoner must show that the risk of which he complains is
not one that today's society chooses to tolerate.”
Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 36 (1993).
written, Plaintiff's complaint fails to connect Leoperd
to any of the alleged constitutional deprivations, to allege
deliberate indifference, or to allege sufficient facts to
state a viable ...