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Guillaume v. Bradley

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division

October 29, 2019

Robin Jean Guillaume, Plaintiff, Medical Staff Administrator Bradley, Nurse Chambers, Nurse Lloyd, Nurse S. Edwards, Physician R. Lepiane, Defendants.

          REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Kevin F. McDonald United States Magistrate Judge

         The plaintiff, a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1999) and the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b) alleging violations of his constitutional rights (doc. 1). Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.), this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in this case and submit findings and recommendations to the district court.

         The plaintiff's complaint was entered on the docket on July 29, 2019 (doc. 1). By order filed July 31, 2019, the plaintiff was given a specific time frame in which to bring his case into proper form for judicial screening (doc. 7). The plaintiff complied with the Court's order, bringing the case into proper form for judicial screening. By order filed August 30, 2019, the plaintiff was informed that his complaint was subject to summary dismissal because it failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and that he could attempt to cure the defects identified in his complaint by filing an amended complaint within 14 days (doc. 13). The plaintiff was informed that if he failed to file an amended complaint or otherwise cure the deficiencies outlined in the order, the undersigned would recommend that his case be dismissed (id. at 8-9). On September 25, 2019, the plaintiff filed a motion seeking an additional thirty days to provide an amended complaint, which the undersigned granted on September 30, 2019 (docs. 16; 17). On October 23, 2019, the plaintiff's amended complaint (doc. 19) was entered on the docket. However, because the amended complaint likewise fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, the undersigned recommends dismissal of the case.

         BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff brought this action regarding medical treatment received after he injured his arm in a basketball game sponsored by Federal Corrections Institution Estill (“FCI Estill”) (doc. 19).[2] The plaintiff alleges that he was initially seen by an outside physician and scheduled for additional treatment, but that the defendants failed to transport him for the scheduled treatment (id. at 6). The plaintiff contends that his treatment at the Medical University of South Carolina (“MUSC”) was appropriate, but alleges that the defendants intentionally failed to take the plaintiff for scheduled follow-up treatment with MUSC in retaliation for grievances he filed (id. at 6-7). The plaintiff alleges that the defendants' actions have caused him to suffer permanent disfigurement to his arm (id. at 7). The plaintiff seeks $495, 000.00 in damages (id.).

         Attached to his amended complaint, the plaintiff has provided a “notice” indicating that he does not need an expert affidavit because he is not seeking relief for medical malpractice (doc. 19-1).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that the action “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” is “frivolous or malicious, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Further, the plaintiff is a prisoner under the definition of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), and “seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Thus, even if the plaintiff had prepaid the full filing fee, this Court is charged with screening the plaintiff's lawsuit to identify cognizable claims or to dismiss the complaint if (1) it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         As a pro se litigant, the plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007) (per curiam). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).

         DISCUSSION

         As noted above, the plaintiff filed the instant action pursuant to Bivens and the FTCA, seeking damages from the defendants. For the reasons that follow, the plaintiff's amended complaint is subject to summary dismissal.

         FTCA Claim

         The FTCA sets forth situations in which the United States has waived the sovereign immunity it otherwise enjoys. 28 U.S.C. § 1346. The FTCA vests the district courts with:

exclusive jurisdiction of civil actions on claims against the United States, for money damages, accruing on and after January 1, 1945, for injury or loss of property, or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, ...

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