Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Prior v. State of South Carolina

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division

August 15, 2019

Ashley T. Prior, Plaintiff,
v.
State of South Carolina, Bryan P. Stirling, John B. McCree, Sheriff of Columbia, John & Jane Doe 1-10, James & Joan Doe 1-10, Defendants.

          REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          KEVIN F. MCDONALD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This is a § 1983 action filed by a state prisoner. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), (D.S.C.), this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in this case and submit findings and recommendations to the district court.

         The plaintiff's complaint was entered on the docket on June 5, 2019 (doc. 1). By order dated June 7, 2019, the plaintiff was given an opportunity to provide the necessary information to bring the case into proper form for evaluation and possible service of process, including paperwork required to effect service of process (doc. 5). The plaintiff was warned that failure to provide the necessary information and paperwork within the timetable set in the order may subject the case to dismissal (id. at 1). The plaintiff did not respond to the order, so a second proper form order was issued on July 3, 2019 (doc. 7). The plaintiff was warned for the second time that failure to provide the necessary information and paperwork within the timetable set in the order may subject the case to dismissal (id. at 1). The plaintiff returned only some of the required documents to the court on July 17, 2019, so a third proper form order was issued on July 29, 2019 (doc. 11). The order warned the plaintiff that he was being provided with one final opportunity to bring his case into proper form and that failure to do so may subject the case to dismissal (id. at 1). On August 12, 2019, the plaintiff provided some documents, but did not provide all of the documents required. Instead, with his incomplete documents, the plaintiff filed a letter asserting that he did not have to provide completed service documents because he was seeking relief against unidentified parties (docs. 14-3; 15-2). Nevertheless, the plaintiff has failed to provide service documents for the named parties-with only one Form USM 285 appropriately filled out for defendant John B. McCree (doc. 15-1 at 4). Despite the opportunities outlined above, the plaintiff has not brought his case into proper form for judicial screening.

         BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff seeks damages, it appears, based upon both medical indifference and a slip and fall at Kirkland Correctional Institution (“Kirkland”) (docs. 1; 1-2). The plaintiff alleges that “medical doctors and staff” at Kirkland deprived him of medical care because they ran out of his eye drops and stomach medicine (doc. 1 at 1-4). The plaintiff contends that the lack of his stomach medicine has caused him to spit up blood and the lack of his eye drops has prevented him from reading or watching television for fifteen months (id.). The plaintiff further alleged, on the court's standard complaint form, that he slipped and fell in the kitchen at Kirkland on June 14, 2019 (doc. 1-2). The plaintiff contends that he injured his knee and was injured “inside out” as a result of the fall (id. at 5-6). He alleges that the defendants were aware of the slippery condition and that failing to prevent his fall constituted cruel and unusual punishment (id. at 4-5). For relief, the plaintiff seeks money damages and medical treatment outside of Kirkland (docs. 1 at 1, 8; 1-2 at 6).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that the action “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” is “frivolous or malicious, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Further, the plaintiff is a prisoner under the definition of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), and “seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Thus, even if the plaintiff had prepaid the full filing fee, this Court is charged with screening the plaintiff's lawsuit to identify cognizable claims or to dismiss the complaint if (1) it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         As a pro se litigant, the plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007) (per curiam). 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, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).

         This 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)). A civil action under § 1983 “creates a private right of action to vindicate violations of ‘rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States.” Rehberg v. Paulk, 566 U.S. 356, 361 (2012). To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (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).

         DISCUSSION

         As noted above, the plaintiff filed the instant action pursuant to § 1983, seeking damages from the defendants. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends dismissal of the instant action.

         It is well established that a court has the authority to dismiss a case pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) for failure to prosecute and/or failure to comply with orders of the court. Ballard v. Carlson, 882 F.2d 93, 95 (4th Cir.1989). “The authority of a court to dismiss sua sponte for lack of prosecution has generally been considered an ‘inherent power,' governed not by rule or statute but by the control necessarily vested in courts to manage their own affairs so as to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of cases.” See Link v. Wabash R.R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630-31 (1962) (emphasis added). In addition to its inherent authority, this court may also sua sponte dismiss a case for lack of prosecution under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). Id. at 630. In considering whether to dismiss an action pursuant to Rule 41(b), the court is required to consider four factors:

(1) the degree of personal responsibility on the part of the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.