United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
GORDON BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a civil action filed by someone representing himself. Under
Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), pretrial
proceedings in this action have been referred to the assigned
United States Magistrate Judge. Under 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.),
the undersigned is authorized to review the filings and make
a recommendation to the District Judge. For the following
reasons, the undersigned recommends summarily dismissing this
IN THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
case arises out of a 2016 traffic accident in which Vennings
was involved. (Dkt. No. 12 at 5.) Vennings retained
Defendants Leeke and Sigal to represent him in connection
with the accident. (See Id. at 4-6.) Vennings
alleges Defendants pressured him into signing a settlement
agreement that he did not want to sign. (Id. at
5-6.) He further alleges Defendants breached that contract,
thereby violating his civil rights. (Id. at 4.) He
is suing them for damages under Bivens v. Six Unknown
Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S.
388 (1971). (Id.)
filed this action on September 10, 2019. (See Dkt.
No. 1.) He submitted with his complaint an application for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Dkt. No. 3.)
The undersigned granted that application and then screened
his complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
The undersigned then issued an order notifying Vennings his
complaint failed to state any claims for which this Court
could grant relief. (Dkt. No. 8.) After explaining the
defects in the complaint, the undersigned gave Vennings leave
to file an amended complaint that cured the original
pleading's defects. (Id. at 2.) Vennings then
filed the amended complaint at issue here. (Dkt. No. 12.)
Thus, this matter is ripe for another round of 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. §
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)). When a court analyzes a complaint
for facial plausibility, it must accept the factual
allegations as true. Id. The court need not,
however, accept as true the 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.
undersigned has screened the amended complaint under §
1915(e)(2)(B), construing it liberally because Vennings is
pro se. See, e.g., Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Nevertheless, even
liberally construed, the amended complaint fails to state a
claim for relief.
states he is suing Defendants under Bivens. (Dkt.
No. 12 at 4.) Bivens allows people to sue federal
officials in certain limited scenarios. However, Defendants
are attorneys in private practice who represented Vennings in
a civil personal injury matter. Private lawyers with no
connection to the federal government cannot be sued under
Bivens. Guess v. Hipps, No.
3:19-cv-400-CMC, 2019 WL 2360868, at *2 (D.S.C. May 28,
2019); Boyd v. Angelica Textile Servs., No.
3:12-cv-334-JFA-PJG, 2012 WL 2260235, at *3 (D.S.C. May 18,
2012), report and recommendation adopted,
2012 WL 2237167 (D.S.C. June 15, 2012), affd, 491
Fed.Appx. 425 (4th Cir. 2012).
that reason, the amended complaint is subject to summary
dismissal. When a complaint's defects can be remedied
through amendment, a district court should allow the
plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended pleading that
fixes the defects. Here, however, the Court has already
provided Vennings an opportunity to do that. The amended
complaint fails to state a claim not merely because of
pleading defects, but also because well-established legal
principles plainly bar his claims. Because “it is clear
that further amendment to the complaint would not cure the
complaint's defects, ” Mateen-El v. Bell,
747 Fed.Appx. 169, 169 n.1 (4th Cir. 2019) (per curiam),
the Court should dismiss this case with prejudice. See
Guess, 2019 WL 2360868, at *2 (dismissing case with
prejudice after plaintiff submitted amended complaint that
did not cure original pleading's defects).
above reasons, the undersigned recommends summarily
dismissing this case, with prejudice ...