United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges, United States Magistrate Judge.
David Mosley (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se,
filed this complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging a violation of his civil rights against Defendant
Sheriff Steve Mueller (“Sheriff”). 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
is a pretrial detainee at the Cherokee County Detention
Center (“Detention Center”). [ECF No. 1 at 2]. He
alleges on or about August 2, 2019, at 11:00 PM, he tripped
over a cellmate, injuring his back. [ECF No. 1 at 5]. He
claims the injury occurred because three inmates were housed
in a one-man cell. Id. He indicates the emergency
button in his cell was not working, causing him to lie on the
floor for nearly an hour and urinate on himself prior to
receiving assistance. Id. at 6. He maintains he was
subsequently transported to the hospital, where he was
diagnosed with deep contusions. Id. at 6. He claims
the Detention Center refuses to send him for a follow up
appointment and denied his request for a second mat to help
his back. Id. at 6. He asserts causes of action for
violation of due process and cruel and unusual punishment and
requests $80, 000 in damages. Id. at 6.
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.
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.
2014). Plaintiff fails to support his claim with any facts,
let alone sufficient facts to state a plausible § 1983
Eleventh Amendment Immunity
Eleventh Amendment provides, “[t]he Judicial power of
the United States shall not be construed to extend to any
suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of
the United States by Citizens of another State, or by
Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.” U.S. Const.
amend. XI. The United States Supreme Court has long held the
Eleventh Amendment also precludes suits against a state by
one of its own citizens. See Edelman v. Jordan, 415
U.S. 651, 662-63 (1974). This immunity extends not only to
suits against a state per se, but also to suits against
agents and instrumentalities of the state. Cash v.
Granville Cnty. Bd. of Ed., 242 F.3d 219, 222 (4th Cir.
2001). Because the defendant in this case is an employee of a
South Carolina county, when acting in his official capacity,
he is considered an arm of the state and not a
“person” within the meaning § 1983. See
Pennington v. Kershaw Cnty., S.C., No.
3:12-1509-JFA-SVH, 2013 WL 2423120, at *4 (D.S.C. June 4,
2013) (citing S.C. Code Ann. § 4-1-10 and applying the
Eleventh Amendment to a county as “a political
subdivision of the State”); Chisolm v. Cannon,
C/A No. 4:02-3473-RBH, 2006 WL 361375, at *5-6 (D.S.C. Feb.
15, 2006) (finding Charleston County Detention Center
entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity as an arm of the
state); Cone v. Nettles, 417 S.E.2d 523, 525 (S.C.
1992) (employees of a county Sheriff are state officials);
see also Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police,
491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989) (“[N]either a state nor its
officials acting in their official capacities are
‘persons' under § 1983.”). A state
cannot, without its consent, be sued in a district court of
the United States by one of its own citizens upon the claim
that the case is one arising under the Constitution and laws
of the United States. Edelman, 415 U.S. at 663. The
State of South Carolina has not consented to be sued in this
case. See S.C. Code Ann. § 15-78-20(e). Thus,
as an arm of the state, Sheriff, in his official capacity,
would be immune from a federal lawsuit for damages under the
the complaint is subject to summary dismissal as to Defendant