United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Christopher T. Wilder, Plaintiff,
Medical Department Staff; Doctor Burns; Doctor Ms. Pamela Derrick; AW Warden Wilkins Smith; Major Morris; AW Fredrick; Ms. Stacey Drawdy; McKendley Newton, Defendants.
ORDER REGARDING AMENDMENT OF COMPLAINT
J. GOSSETT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff, Christopher T. Wilder, a self-represented state
prisoner, brings this civil rights action. The Complaint has
been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and §
1915A. 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 herein.
Factual and Procedural Background
an inmate at the Evans Correctional Institution of the South
Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”),
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking
damages for purported constitutional violations that occurred
while he was housed at SCDC's Allendale Correctional
Institution. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 5.) Plaintiff alleges that
when he arrived in Allendale in July 2018, he began throwing
up blood and having severe back and chest pain. (Id.
at 6.) Plaintiff claims “the whole medical
department” denied him medical care when he signed up
for sick call, but he also claims medical staff told him
there was nothing wrong with him, and that he refused to give
the staff a blood sample. (Id.) Plaintiff claims the
named defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs in violation of federal law.
(Id. at 5.)
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of the pro se Complaint pursuant
to the procedural provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform
Act (“PLRA”), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321
(1996), including 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. 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, and is
also governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the
court to review a complaint filed by a prisoner that seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity. See McLean v. United States,
566 F.3d 391 (4th Cir. 2009). Section 1915A requires, and
§ 1915 allows, a district court to dismiss the case upon
a finding that the action is frivolous, 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. § 1915(e)(2)(B); 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
to state a claim. 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
Complaint is filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
“ ‘is not itself a source of substantive
rights,' but merely provides ‘a method for
vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.' ”
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994)
(quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3
(1979)). To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws
of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged
violation was committed by a person acting under the color of
state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Defendant “Medical Department Staff” is not a
“person” amenable to suit pursuant to §
1983. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436
U.S. 658, 694 (1978) (noting that for purposes of § 1983
a “person” includes individuals and “bodies
politic and corporate”); see, e.g., Harden
v. Green, 27 Fed.Appx. 173, 178 (4th Cir. 2001)
(“The medical department of a prison may not be sued,
because it is not a person within the meaning of §
1983.”); and Shadoan v. Florence Cty. Det.
Ctr. Med. Dep't, No. 8:12-cv-2908 DCN JDA, 2013 WL
6408347, at *2 (D.S.C. Dec. 6, 2013) (collecting
cases). Accordingly, Defendant Medical Department
Staff is subject to summary dismissal for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
the individually named defendants, Plaintiff fails to allege
any facts about the named defendants that would show that
they had any involvement in the purported constitutional
violation that Plaintiff alleges in the Complaint. See Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 676 (providing that a plaintiff in a § 1983
action must plead that the defendant, through his own
individual actions, violated the Constitution); 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)). Because Plaintiff does not explain how the named
defendants were involved in the purported violation of
Plaintiff's rights, Plaintiff fails to meet the federal
pleading standards. 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). Therefore, Plaintiff fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted against the individually
as pled, Plaintiff's Complaint is subject to summary
dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and
§ 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Plaintiff is hereby granted twenty-one
(21) days from the date this order is entered (plus three
days for mail time) to file an amended complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) that corrects the
deficiencies identified above. If Plaintiff fails to file an
amended complaint ...