United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge
Dale Bowers (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and
in forma pauperis, filed this complaint against Captain
Marvin Nix (“Defendant”), alleging a violation 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 he has suffered unconstitutional conditions of
confinement at Pickens County Detention Center
(“PCDC”). Specifically, he alleges having
experienced nose bleeds due to black mold, being denied care
for a toothache that became infected, having back pain from
sleeping on the floor for two years, and lacking access to
legal books. [ECF No. 1 at 4, 6; ECF No. 1-1 at 7]. Plaintiff
requests 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 that 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.
complaint does not contain any factual allegations of
constitutional wrongdoing or discriminatory actions
attributable to Defendant. Accordingly, Plaintiff's civil
rights claim is subject to summary dismissal. See Leer v.
Murphy, 844 F.2d 628 (9th Cir. 1988) (noting
“[s]weeping conclusory allegations against a prison
official will not suffice”; an inmate must set forth
specific facts as to each individual defendant's
extent Plaintiff alleges Defendant is liable due to his
supervisory role at PCDC, Plaintiff has not alleged
sufficient facts to support this claim. The doctrine of
supervisory liability is generally inapplicable to §
1983 suits, such that an employer or supervisor is not liable
for the acts of his employees, absent an official policy or
custom that results in illegal action. See Monell v.
Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978);
Fisher v. Washington Metro. Area Transit Authority,
690 F.2d 1133, 1142-43 (4th Cir. 1982). The Supreme Court
explains that “[b]ecause vicarious liability is
inapplicable to Bivens and § 1983 suits, a
plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant,
through the official's own individual actions, has
violated the Constitution.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
676; see Slakan v. Porter, 737 F.2d 368, 372-74 (4th
Cir. 1984) (finding officials ...