United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
GORDON BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff Warren
Russell is a state prisoner representing himself and
proceeding in forma pauperis. Under Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review
the complaint and to submit a recommendation to the United
States District Judge. For the following reasons, the
undersigned recommends the complaint be summarily dismissed,
is a South Carolina state prisoner. Defendant Brian Stirling
is the director of the South Carolina Department of
Corrections. Defendant Martin Frink is the warden of a prison
last year, Russell was confined in a state-run prison in
South Carolina. (Dkt. No. 2-1 at 1.) Last June, however, he
was transferred twice-first to another state-run prison in
this state, and then to Frink's prison in Mississippi.
(Id. at 4-5.) Russell alleges he was transferred
without any notice, hearing, or explanation. (Id. at
4-5, 11-12.) He further alleges he was targeted for transfer
because he is black. According to Russell, he is one of
forty-eight prisoners transferred to Mississippi; forty-five
are black, and only three are white. (Id. at 12.)
Twenty-seven are black prisoners from maximum-security
prisons; none are white maximum-security prisoners.
(Id.) Russell also alleges that, by being
transferred, he has been denied certain rights and
opportunities, such as the opportunity to participate in
character-based units and to receive the benefits that come
with participating in those units. (Id. at 11-12.)
Finally, he alleges that his long-distance transfer has made
it too hard for people to visit him. (Id. at 7-8).
asserts he has been denied due process, equal protection, and
access to the courts. (Dkt. No. 2 at 4.) He bases his claims
the First, Sixth, Eighth, Tenth, Twelfth, and Fourteenth
Amendments, as well as South Carolina law and South Carolina
Department of Corrections policies. (Id.; Dkt. No.
2-1 at 2.) He seeks damages, an injunction, and a declaratory
judgment. (Dkt. No. 2-1 at 2.)
commenced this case in June 2019 by filing his complaint
along with one from another prisoner, David Harrell.
(See Dkt. No. 1.) After the Court severed
Russell's claims from the original case (Id.),
the undersigned issued an order notifying Russell that
portions of his complaint were subject to summary dismissal
for failure to state a claim. (Dkt. No. 7.) The undersigned
provided Russell an opportunity to amend his complaint and
notified him that, if he did not cure the defects in his
complaint, she would recommend it be partially summarily
dismissed. (Id. at 3-4.)
did not submit an amended pleading. This case is therefore
ripe for initial screening.
granting of in forma pauperis status in a case
triggers a district court's duty to “sift out
claims that Congress found not to warrant extended judicial
treatment.” Nagy v. FMC Butner, 376 F.3d 252,
256 (4th Cir. 2004). The Court must dismiss any cases that
are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Those same criteria are grounds for dismissing
a case filed by a prisoner. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
failure to state a claim, a complaint filed in federal court
“‘must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The court
need not, however, accept as true a complaint's legal
conclusions. Id. When “it is clear that no
relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be
proved consistent with the allegations, ” Hishon v.
King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984), the
complaint fails to state a claim.
Russell is pro se, the undersigned has screened the
complaint liberally and considered whether it includes any
potential grounds for relief. See, e.g.,
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). That
does not mean, however, the Court can ignore a clear failure
to allege facts that set forth a cognizable claim.