United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge.
Antwan Lloyd (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and
in forma pauperis, filed this complaint against several
Charleston County Detention Center (“CCDC”)
employees, 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
is a pretrial detainee at CCDC. [ECF No. 1 at 4]. In his
original complaint, Plaintiff alleged that while housed in
CCDC Special Management Unit (“SMU”) from March
2, 2019, to March 17, 2019, defendants Roberts and Scott
removed his personal belongings; defendants Sandova,
McKeller, and Tipton punished him for speaking; and
defendants Roberts, Scott, and Sandova unlawfully looked
through his legal mail. Id. at 6-8. In addition,
Plaintiff challenged various conditions of his confinement,
asserted racial and gender discrimination, and alleged
Robinson failed to respond to grievances. Id. He
sought monetary damages and termination of the responsible
filed his complaint on April 8, 2019. [ECF No. 1]. On April
19, 2019, the court notified Plaintiff that, because he sued
each of the defendants in his or her official capacity, the
Eleventh Amendment barred his claims and his complaint was
subject to summary dismissal. [ECF No. 7]. The court granted
Plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint to cure his
pleading deficiency and alerted Plaintiff his amended
complaint would replace his original complaint and, thus,
should be complete in itself. Id.
1, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. [ECF No. 9].
The amended complaint continued to name each defendant in his
or her official capacity. Id. at 2-4. In addition,
the amended complaint alleged only “cruel and unusual
punishment, no shoes no mat no clothes no visits no phone
legal call, going through my legal work.” Id.
8, 2019, the court notified Plaintiff his amended complaint
was subject to summary dismissal under the Eleventh Amendment
and for failure to plead sufficient facts and granted
Plaintiff an opportunity to file a second amended complaint
by May 28, 2019. [ECF No. 12]. Plaintiff did not respond to
the court's notice. II. Discussion A. Standard of Review
Plaintiff 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.
2014). Plaintiff fails to support his claim with any facts,
let alone sufficient facts to state a plausible § 1983
Eleventh Amendment Immunity
Eleventh Amendment provides, “[t]he Judicial power of
the United States shall not be construed to extend to any
suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of
the United States by Citizens of another State, or by
Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.” U.S. Const.
amend. XI. The United States Supreme Court has long held the
Eleventh Amendment also precludes suits against a state by
one of its own citizens. See Edelman v. Jordan, 415
U.S. 651, 662-63 (1974). This immunity extends not only to
suits against a state per se, but also to suits against
agents and instrumentalities of the state. Cash v.
Granville Cnty. Bd. of Ed., 242 F.3d 219, 222 (4th Cir.
the defendants in this case are employees of a South Carolina
county, when acting in their official capacities, they are
considered an arm of the state and not a “person”
within the meaning § 1983. See Pennington v. Kershaw
Cnty., S.C., No. 3:12-1509-JFA-SVH, 2013 WL 2423120, at
*4 (D.S.C. June 4, 2013) (citing S.C. Code Ann. § 4-1-10
and applying the Eleventh Amendment to a county as “a
political subdivision of the State”); Chisolm v.
Cannon, C/A No. 4:02-3473-RBH, 2006 WL 361375, at *5-6
(D.S.C. Feb. 15, 2006) (finding Charleston County Detention
Center entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity as an arm of
the state); Cone v. Nettles, 417 S.E.2d 523, 525
(S.C. 1992) (employees of a county Sheriff are state