United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Cornelius R. Morant, #1499, Plaintiff,
The People of the State of South Carolina, Sumter County, K. Boland, and James C. Campbell, Defendants.
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge
R. Morant (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed this complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against the People of the State of South Carolina
(“People”), Sumter County (“County”),
South Carolina Highway Patrol Officer K. Boland
(“Officer”), and Sumter County Clerk of Court
James C. Campbell (“Clerk”) (collectively
“Defendants”), alleging violations of his civil
and 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 Background
is a pretrial detainee at the Sumter-Lee Regional Detention
Center. [ECF No. 1 at 2]. Plaintiff alleges on May 1, 2018,
Officer entered private property to arrested him without
probable cause for driving under the influence, third offense
and failure to stop for a blue light, second
offense. Id. at 5. Plaintiff claims
Officer twisted his wrist while handcuffing him, causing
bruising, pain, and suffering. Id. at 7, 10.
Plaintiff alleges Clerk failed to determine whether
Officer's allegations established probable cause for
issuance of an arrest warrant. Id. at 6-7.
claims Defendants deprived him of his liberty and opportunity
to participate in employment and earn wages. Id. at
10. He maintains he suffered physical discomfort and mental
and emotional trauma because of Defendants' actions.
Id. He requests the court dismiss his outstanding
charges and award current damages in the amount of $85, 650
and future damages for additional days of incarceration.
Id. at 7.
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).
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). Pro se complaints are
held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by
attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th
Cir. 1978). 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. 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).
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. 1990). 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
Failure to State a Claim Against People and County
state a plausible claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. §
1983,  an aggrieved party must sufficiently
allege that 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.
has alleged no specific injury as a result of the actions of
Defendants People and County. Therefore, Plaintiff's
complaint is subject to ...