United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
Kerwin E. Brown, Plaintiff,
Joseph W. Brown Jr. and Ms. Tribbles, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
GORDON BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff Kerwin
Brown 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 federal prisoner. (Dkt. No. 12 at 12.) In his amended
complaint, he alleges that in November 2017, he was housed at
the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, a county jail.
(Id. at 14.) On November 28, jail officer Joseph
Brown approached Plaintiff, used a racial slur, and then
physically attacked him. (Id.) Plaintiff was in
handcuffs and leg irons, which both prevented him from
defending himself and caused him to fall to the floor in the
attack. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges Brown's assault
was reckless, malicious, and unjustified. (Id.)
After other officers intervened, Plaintiff was taken to
medical. (Id.) There, he spoke with Ms. Tribbles,
one of the jail's nurses. (Id.) Tribbles refused
to give him “the proper treatment, ” saying there
was nothing wrong with him. (Id.) Brown was later
arrested for attacking Plaintiff. (Id. at 16.)
sustained physical and emotional injuries from Brown's
attack that persist to this day. (Id. at 4.)
Plaintiff is suing Brown and Tribbles for allegedly violating
the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual
punishment. (Id. at 14.) Suing Defendants in both
their individual and official capacities, Plaintiff demands
$25, 000, 000 in punitive damages from each of them.
(Id. at 12-13, 16.)
commenced this case in July 2019. (Dkt. No. 1.) After
reviewing the original complaint, the undersigned issued an
order notifying Plaintiff that portions of it were subject to
summary dismissal for failure to state a claim. (Dkt. No. 7.)
The undersigned provided Plaintiff an opportunity to submit
an amended complaint. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff has done
that, and so this case is once again ripe for initial
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. 28 U.S.C. §
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.
Brown 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.
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278
(4th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1088 (1986).
undersigned first addresses Plaintiff's decision to sue
Defendants for damages in both their individual and official
capacities. As the undersigned notified Plaintiff in her
August 2 order, the Eleventh Amendment bars people from suing
state officials for damages in their official capacities.
E.g., Cobb v. South Carolina, No.
2:13-cv-2370-RMG, 2014 WL 4220423, at *2 (D.S.C. Aug. 25,
2014). Thus, Plaintiff's damages claim against Defendants
in their official capacities should be summarily dismissed.
undersigned next turns to Plaintiff's citation to the
Eighth Amendment. Although Plaintiff is currently a federal
prisoner, it appears that when the alleged incident occurred
at the jail, he was a pretrial detainee. Consequently, the
standard of care is governed by the Fourteenth
Amendment's Due Process Clause rather than the Eighth
Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
Hill v. Nicodemus, 979 F.2d 987, 990-91 (4th Cir.
1992) (citing City of Revere v. Mass. Gen. Hosp.,
463 U.S. 239, 244, (1983)). However, a pretrial
detainee's due process rights “are at least as
great” as the protections the Eighth Amendment affords
a convicted prisoner. Martin v. Gentile, 849 F.2d
863, 870 (4th ...