United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
ORDER REGARDING AMENDMENT OF COMPLAINT
J. GOSSETT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff, Tito Knox, proceeding pro se, brings this
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
Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiff files this action against a United States Attorney
and a medical doctor on a standard civil complaint form for
pro se litigants, but the information provided by
Plaintiff is incoherent. Plaintiff claims he was tried on
unspecified charges on June 22, 2007, and instead of
returning to court forty days later for a hearing, United
States Attorney Maxwell B. Cauthen “overlooked”
Plaintiff's constitutional rights. (Compll, ECF No. 1 at
5.) Plaintiff also claims a medical doctor, Sergio Sanchez,
gave him “mind-altering drugs” after Sanchez
found “no mental illness.” (Id.)
Plaintiff claims this violated his civil liberties.
(Id.) Plaintiff claims that had he received the
hearing, he would have been free, because he only needed to
prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there
“was no violence.” (Id.) Plaintiff cites
to 18 U.S.C. § 4243 (hospitalization of a person found
not guilty only by reason of insanity) and seeks 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
accordance with the court's duty to liberally construe
pro se pleadings, the court construes this action as
seeking damages for violation of Plaintiff's civil rights
by a federal prosecutor and a medical doctor. Because
Plaintiff is suing at least one federal officer, the court
construes this action as seeking relief pursuant to
Bivens v. Six Unkown Agents of Federal Bureau of
Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). In Bivens, the
United States Supreme Court established a remedy for
plaintiffs alleging certain constitutional violations by
federal officials to obtain monetary damages in suits against
federal officials in their individual capacities.
Id.; see also Randall v. United States, 95
F.3d 339, 345 (4th Cir. 1996) (“Any remedy under
Bivens is against federal officials individually,
not the federal government.”).
Supreme Court recently emphasized the limited scope and
availability of Bivens actions. See Ziglar v.
Abbasi, 137 S.Ct. 1843, 1857 (2017) (noting that the
United States Supreme Court has extended Bivens only
in limited circumstances, and cautioning that a
Bivens remedy will not be available if there are
“special factors counselling hesitation in the absence
of affirmative action by Congress”) (quoting
Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14, 18 (1980)); see
also Attkisson v. Holder, (4th Cir. 2019) (discussing
and applying Ziglar); see also Tun-Cos v.
Perrotte, No. 18-1451 (4th Cir. Apr. 26, 2019) (Fourth
and Fifth Amendment violations for actions of
immigration officials not covered by
Plaintiff fails to allege a recognizable constitutional
violation by claiming that Cauthen “overlooked”
his constitutional rights or did not call him for a hearing,
or that Sanchez provided him “mind-altering
drugs.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (requiring that a
pleading contain “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief”);
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (stating Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 8 does not require detailed factual
allegations, but it requires more than a plain accusation
that the defendant unlawfully harmed the plaintiff, devoid of
factual support). Accordingly, Plaintiff fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted because he fails to
allege any facts that would plausibly show the named
defendants violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights.
See Evans v. Chalmers, 703 F.3d 636, 647 (4th Cir.
2012) (“[C]onstitutional torts . . . require a
demonstration of both but-for and proximate
causation.”); see also Malley v. Briggs, 475
U.S. 335, 344 n.7 (1986).
extent Plaintiff seeks damages against Cauthen for civil
rights violations arising form Plaintiff's federal
criminal matter, and to the extent such violations are
cognizable under Bivens in light of Ziglar,
Cauthen would be immune from suit for decisions related to
Plaintiff's prosecution. See generally Imbler v.
Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430 (1976); Lyles v.
Sparks, 79 F.3d 372, 377 (4th Cir. 1996) (explaining
“the Imbler Court specified that absolute
immunity protects prosecutors' decisions ‘whether
and when to prosecute' ”); but see See Allen v.