United States District Court, D. South Carolina
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. HODGES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Green, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and
in forma pauperis, filed this complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against his former attorney Ward Benjamin
McClain, Jr. (“Defendant”). 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 Greenville County Detention
Center. [ECF No. 1 at 2, 4]. He brings this action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant in his individual
and official capacities. Id.
alleges he retained Defendant to represent him in a criminal
matter on December 5, 2017. Id. at 5. He claims he
was unable to communicate with Defendant and Defendant failed
to file a timely motion for his bond. Id. He
contends Defendant failed to obtain evidence and file motions
at his request. Id. at 6. He alleges Defendant did
not properly defend him during a bond hearing. Id.
He claims Defendant moved to be relieved as counsel prior to
the date of indictment. Id. He maintains
Defendant's actions caused him to remain in detention for
an extended period and prolonged his wait for trial.
Id. at 5-6.
alleges he suffered mental and financial injury as a result
of prolonged detention. Id. at 7. He requests the
court award him the cost of the retainer, lost wages, damages
for loss of property as a result of detention, lost wages
while being detained, compensation for time way from his
family, and the costs of litigation. Id.
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 Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
brings his case before the court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging Defendant is a state or local official. [ECF
No. 1 at 2]. He further alleges Defendant failed to provide