United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges, United States Magistrate Judge.
Jones (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, filed
this complaint against the Director of the Federal Bureau of
Prisons (“BOP”) and seven BOP institutions
(collectively “Defendants”), alleging they have
misclassified him as a sex offender and public safety threat
and have violated his civil 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.
is a federal inmate incarcerated in Texas. [See ECF
No. 1 at 12]. He alleges his misclassification has followed
him through his incarceration at seven separate BOP
institutions, despite the judge who sentenced him allegedly
refuting the classification in a letter provided to
Defendants. Id. at 2.
further alleges Defendants have denied him proper medical
care, forced him to eat and drink poison, and pumped smoke
into his cell. Id. at 3-5, 7. He asserts Defendants
are retaliating against him because of the existence of
“a hit out on him.” Id. at 4-5.
seeks immediate release, injunctive relief, and monetary
damages. Id. at 5.
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 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.
claims for monetary damages because of constitutional
wrongdoing by federal agents fall under Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403
U.S. 388, 397 (1971). A Bivens action is a
judicially-created damages remedy designed to vindicate
violations of constitutional rights by federal actors.
See Id. at 395-97. “The purpose of
Bivens is to deter individual federal officers from
committing constitutional violations.” Correctional
Servs. Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 70 (2001). Thus, a
Bivens action will not lie against either federal
agencies or officials in their official capacity. See Doe
v. Chao, 306 F.3d 170, 184 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing
F.D.I.C. v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 486 (1994)).
Further, “[b]ecause vicarious liability is inapplicable
to Bivens . . . suits, a plaintiff must plead that
each Government-official defendant, through the
official's own individual actions, has ...