United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges, United States Magistrate Judge.
Lockwood (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, filed
this complaint against Charleston County Detention Center
(“Detention Center”), Charleston County
Sheriff's Office (“Sheriff's Office”),
and Sheriff Al Canon (“Sheriff”) (collectively
“Defendants”), 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
is an inmate at Detention Center. [ECF No. 1 at 1]. He
alleges another inmate hid in his cell and attacked him on
March 31, 2019. Id. Plaintiff asserts the officer on
duty at the time was grossly negligent in failing to properly
conduct his rounds such that he would have discovered
Plaintiff's attacker before the attack. Id. He
further alleges Defendants failed to train officers to follow
an “internal guideline governing the supervision of
inmates.” Id. Plaintiff seeks monetary
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 of constitutional violations by state actors fall
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To 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.
Detention Center and Sheriff's Office Not
“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). Detention Center
and Sheriff's Office are departments, groups of
buildings, or facilities. 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 ...