Brown v. Wright et al
ORDER RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 28 . The case is dismissed. Signed by Honorable J Michelle Childs on 4/26/2021. (kric, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Doron H. Brown,
Chuck Wright, in his individual capacity
and official capacity as Sheriff, and Allen )
Freeman, in his individual capacity and his )
official capacity as a Major of the
Spartanburg County Detention Center,
Civil Action No.: 6:19-cv-02856-JMC
ORDER AND OPINION
Plaintiff Doron H. Brown, a pretrial detainee who is proceeding pro se,1 brought this action
against the above-captioned Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (See ECF No. 1.) This matter is
before the court upon review of the Report and Recommendation issued by the Magistrate Judge
on January 31, 2020 (“Report”). (ECF No. 28.) The Report recommended the court dismiss this
case because Plaintiff “failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,” even after having
the opportunity to bring the case into proper form and amend the Complaint. (Id. at 1-2.) No party
has objected to the Report. For the reasons set forth below, the court ACCEPTS the Report and
adopts its findings herein (ECF No. 28) and DISMISSES the instant case.
“Because he is a pro se litigant, Plaintiff’s pleadings are construed liberally by the court and held
to a less stringent standard than attorneys’ formal pleadings.” Simpson v. Florence Cty. Complex
Solicitor’s Office, Civil Action No.: 4:19-cv-03095-JMC, 2019 WL 7288801, at *2 (D.S.C. Dec.
30, 2019) (citing Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam)). “This, however, ‘does
not transform the court into an advocate’ for Plaintiff; the court is not required to recognize
Plaintiff’s claims if there is clearly no factual basis supporting them.” Id. (quoting Weller v. Dep’t
of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990)).
Plaintiff claims Defendants “are violating his constitutional rights” because he is
“permanently housed with three other inmates and . . . has to sleep on a mattress on the floor.”2
(Id. at 2.) He also purportedly “sleeps partially under the sink and hits his head sometimes,” and
claims “he has been exposed to mold because the sink leaks.”3 (Id.)
The Magistrate Judge issued the Report in January 2020, suggesting this case be dismissed
because Plaintiff failed to state a claim for which relief may be granted. (Id. at 7-8.) The Magistrate
Judge began by reviewing Plaintiff’s conditions of confinement claims, explaining he must “show
that he was deprived of a basic human need and that prison officials were deliberately indifferent
to that deprivation.” (Id. at 4 (citing Strickler v. Waters, 989 F.2d 1375, 1379 (4th Cir. 1993)).)
Yet even liberally construed, the Magistrate Judge concluded a leaky sink with some mold did not
meet the high bar of violating a constitutional right. (ECF No. 28 at 4.) For support, the Magistrate
Judge pointed to another case that “reject[ed a] conditions of confinement claim where the plaintiff
claimed ‘his mattress and blanket were confiscated for six days, he was not allowed to have any
toilet tissue for six days, his clothes were taken away from him for six days, his cell was cold, he
had no running water in his cell, and he was forced to sleep on a steel cot for six days.’” (Id. (citing
Thompson v. Brown, C/A No. 3:11-cv-0318-TMC-JRM, 2011 WL 6012592, at *1-2 (D.S.C. Nov.
Likewise, the Magistrate Judge emphasized that “triple-celling of inmates is not per se
unconstitutional.” (ECF No. 28 at 5 (citing Williams v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 824 (4th Cir. 1991)).)
And “although . . . [P]laintiff asserts that he has hit his head because he is sleeping under the sink,”
The Report sets forth the relevant facts and legal standards, which this court incorporates herein
without a full recitation.
The Magistrate Judge notes that Plaintiff raised his allegation concerning mold for the first time
in the Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 28 at 2.)
the Magistrate Judge continued, Plaintiff’s “vague and conclusory allegations that his cell
conditions are unsanitary and dangerous remain insufficient to state a claim for relief.” (ECF No.
28 at 5.) Lastly, the Magistrate Judge observed the Amended Complaint “contains no factual
allegations establishing that . . . [D]efendants acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind” to
support his claims. (Id. at 4, 5.)
The Magistrate Judge then moved to Plaintiff’s supervisory claims (to the extent they were
brought), finding the Amended Complaint “contains no factual or personal allegations of
wrongdoing” to support such claims. (Id. at 6-7.) In particular, the Magistrate Judge explained
to allege a plausible claim requires a showing that the supervisor (1) had actual or
constructive knowledge that his/her subordinates engaged in conduct posing a
pervasive or unreasonable risk of constitutional injury; (2) the supervisor’s
response to the knowledge was “so inadequate as to show deliberate indifference
to or tacit authorization of the alleged offensive practices;” and (3) an affirmative
causal link between the inaction by the supervisor and the particular constitutional
injury suffered by the plaintiff.
(ECF No. 28 at 6 (citing Green v. Beck, 539 F. App’x 78, 80 (4th Cir. 2013)).) The Magistrate
Judge asserted that Plaintiff’s allegations in essence failed to meet any of the above elements. (ECF
No. 28 at 6-7.) Likewise, the Magistrate Judge concluded Plaintiff “abandoned his conditions of
confinement claim with respect to his out of cell recreation time, his First Amendment claim
relating to the postcard-only policy at the Detention Center, and his denial of access to the courts
claim.” (Id. at 7.)
The Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation is made in accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge
only makes a recommendation to this court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976).
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final
determination remains with the court. Id. The court reviews de novo only those portions of the
Report and Recommendation to which specific objections are filed. See Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005). Yet when no party offers timely, specific
objections, the court “need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record . . . to accept the recommendation.” Id. at 315
(quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 72 advisory committee’s note); see Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199
(4th Cir. 1983) (stating the court is not required to explain the Report’s adoption if no party offers
specific objections). The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate
Judge’s recommendation or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Here, no party has objected to the Report and the court discerns no clear error on the face
of the record. The court has carefully examined the findings within the Report and concludes this
case shall be dismissed for the reasons delineated in the Report. Thus, as discussed, the court
ACCEPTS the Report and adopts the findings herein (ECF No. 28) and DISMISSES this case.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
United States District Judge
April 26, 2021
Columbia, South Carolina
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