United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge.
Clarkson (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, filed
this complaint against the Sumter Lee Regional Detention
Center (“SLRDC”), 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 while he was housed at SLRDC, an officer entered his
cell late at night and sexually harassed and assaulted him.
[ECF No. 1 at 1- 2]. He seeks monetary damages. Id.
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.
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.
“persons” may act under color of state law, and,
therefore, a defendant in a § 1983 action must qualify
as a “person.” See Monnell v. Dep't of
Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). SLRDC is a
department, group of buildings, or a facility. Inanimate
objects such as buildings, facilities, and grounds cannot act
under color of state law. See Harden v. Green, 27
Fed.Appx. 173, 178 (4th Cir. 2001) (finding that the medical
department of a prison is not a person pursuant to §
1983); see also Post v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 750
F.Supp. 1131 (S.D. Fla. 1990) (dismissing city police
department as improper defendant in § 1983 action
because not “person” under the statute);
Shelby v. City of Atlanta, 578 F.Supp. 1368, 1370
(N.D.Ga. 1984) (dismissing police department as party
defendant because it was merely a vehicle through which city
government fulfills policing functions). Accordingly,
Plaintiff's claims against SLRDC are subject to summary
these reasons, Plaintiff's complaint is subject to