Lee v. Medical Facility at Alvin S Glenn Detention Center et al

Filing 6

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS recommending 1 Complaint filed by Tobias Chano Lee, be dismissed without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. Objections to R&R due by 2/14/2006. Signed by Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks on 1/26/06. (kmca)

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Lee v. Medical Facility at Alvin S Glenn Detention Center et al Doc. 6 8:06-cv-00173-GRA Date Filed 01/26/2006 Entry Number 6 Page 1 of 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA Tobias Chano Lee, #87066, P l a i n ti f f , vs. Medical Facility at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center; and Dehec - Bureau of Laboratories, D e f e n d a n t( s ) . ____________________________________________ ) C/A No. 8:06-173-GRA-BHH ) ) ) ) Report and Recommendation ) ) ) ) ) ) This is a civil rights action filed pro se by a county detainee.1 Plaintiff is currently confined at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County, South Carolina, awaiting trial on undisclosed criminal charges. In the Complaint filed in this case, Plaintiff claims that he is being denied medical for sexually transmitted diseases that he allegedly has contracted. He seeks injunctive relief and compensatory damages. He does not name as Defendant any particular individual at the detention center or elsewhere who has been denying him the medication. Instead, he names only the "medical facility" at the detention center and the Bureau of Laboratories at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), which he has misspelled as "Dehec." Because he has failed to name a person as a Defendant, he fails to state a viable claim of medical indifference. Pro Se Review Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of Plaintiff's pro se Complaint filed in this case. This review has been conducted pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915, 1915A, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1), and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e), D.S.C., this m a g is tr a te judge is a u th o r iz e d to review all pretrial m a tte r s in such pro se cases and to subm it findings and recom m e n d a tio n s t o the District Court. See also 28 U.S.C. 1915(e); 1915A (as soon as possible after docketing, district c o u r ts should review prisoner cases to determ in e whether they are subject to sum m a r y dism is s a l) . 1 Dockets.Justia.com 8:06-cv-00173-GRA Date Filed 01/26/2006 Entry Number 6 Page 2 of 5 and in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. W illiams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Maryland House of Correction, 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995)(en banc); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); and Boyce v. Alizaduh, 595 F.2d 948 (4th Cir. 1979). Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, see Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9-10 & n.7 (1980); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972). When a federal court is evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. See Fine v. City of New York, 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir. 1975). Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that this Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Department of Social Servs., 901 F.2d 387(4th Cir. 1990). Even under this less stringent standard, however, the Complaint filed in this case is subject to summary dismissal under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). Discussion In order to state a claim for damages under 42 U.S.C. 1983,2 an aggrieved party must sufficiently allege that he or she 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; Monroe v. Page, 365 U.S. 167 (1961); Plaintiff's Com p la in t is properly before this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. Section 1983 is the p r o c e d u ra l m e c h a n is m through which Congress provided a private civil cause of action based on allegations o f federal constitutional violations by persons acting under color of state law. See Jennings v. Davis, 476 F.2d 1 2 7 1 (8 th Cir. 1973). The purpose of section 1983 is to deter state actors from using badge of their authority to deprive individuals of their federally guaranteed rights and to provide relief to victim s if such deterrence fails. S e e McKnight v. Rees, 88 F.3d 417(6th Cir. 1996)(em p h a s is added). Plaintiff's claim s of denial of m e d ic a l c a r e in the correctional institution context are clearly the type of claim s that 1983 covers. See Estelle v. G a m b le , 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). 2 2 8:06-cv-00173-GRA Date Filed 01/26/2006 Entry Number 6 Page 3 of 5 see generally 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure 1230 (2002). It is well settled that only "persons" may act under color of state law, therefore, a defendant in a section 1983 action must qualify as a "person." For example, several courts have held that inanimate objects such as buildings, facilities, and grounds do not act under color of state law. See Allison v. California Adult Auth., 419 F.2d 822, 823 (9th Cir. 1969)(California Adult Authority and San Quentin Prison not "person[s]" subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983); Preval v. Reno, 57 F.Supp.2d 307, 310 (E.D. Va. 1999)("[T]he Piedmont Regional Jail is not a `person,' and therefore not amenable to suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983."); Brooks v. Pembroke City Jail, 722 F. Supp. 1294, 1301(E.D. N.C. 1989)("Claims under 1983 are directed at `persons' and the jail is not a person amenable to suit."). Additionally, use of the term "staff" or the equivalent as a name for alleged defendants, without the naming of specific staff members, is not adequate to state a claim against a "person" as required in section 1983 actions. See Martin v. UConn Health Care, 2000 WL 303262, *1 (D. Conn., Feb 09, 2000); Ferguson v. Morgan, 1991 WL 115759 (S.D. N.Y. Jun 20, 1991). In this case, neither the "medical facility" nor "bureau of laboratories" named as the sole Defendants are persons. Both are buildings or groups of buildings. As a result, Plaintiff's failure to name as Defendant a specific person or persons who has or have denied him the medication and/or medical care is fatal to his claims. Recommendation Accordingly, it is recommended that the District Court dismiss the Complaint in this case without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. See Denton v. Hernandez; Neitzke v. Williams; Haines v. Kerner; Brown v. Briscoe, 998 F.2d 201, 202-04 & n. * (4th Cir. 1993); Boyce v. Alizaduh; Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d at 74; see also 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B); 28 U.S.C. 1915A (as soon as possible after docketing, district courts should review prisoner 3 8:06-cv-00173-GRA Date Filed 01/26/2006 Entry Number 6 Page 4 of 5 cases to determine whether they are subject to summary dismissal). Plaintiff's attention is directed to the important notice on the next page. Respectfully submitted, January 26, 2006 Greenville, South Carolina 4 8:06-cv-00173-GRA Date Filed 01/26/2006 Entry Number 6 Page 5 of 5 Notice of Right to File Objections to Magistrate Judge's "Report and Recommendation" & The Serious Consequences of a Failure to Do So T h e parties are hereby notified that any objections to the attached Report and Recommendation (or Order and R e c o m m e n d a t io n ) must be filed within ten (10) days of the date of service. 28 U.S.C. 636; Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). The time c a l c u l a t i o n of this ten-day period excludes weekends and holidays and provides for an additional three days for filing by mail. F e d . R. Civ. P. 6. A magistrate judge makes only a recommendation, and the authority to make a final determination in this case r e s t s with the United States District Judge. See Mathews v. W e b e r , 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976); Estrada v. W itk o w sk i, 816 F. S u p p . 408, 410 (D.S.C. 1993). D u r in g the period for filing objections, but not thereafter, a party must file with the Clerk of Court specific, written o b j e c t io n s to the Report and Recommendation, if he or she wishes the United States District Judge to consider any objections. A n y written objections must specifically identify the portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections are m a d e and the basis for such objections. See Keeler v. Pea, 782 F. Supp. 42, 43-44 (D.S.C. 1992); Oliverson v. W e s t Valley C ity , 875 F. Supp. 1465, 1467 (D. Utah 1995). Failure to file specific, written objections shall constitute a waiver of a party's right t o further judicial review, including appellate review, if the recommendation is accepted by the United States District Judge. See U n ite d States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 & n. 4 (4th Cir. 1984); W r ig h t v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 845-847 & nn. 1-3 (4th Cir. 1 9 8 5 ) . Moreover, if a party files specific objections to a portion of a magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation, but does n o t file specific objections to other portions of the Report and Recommendation, that party waives appellate review of the portions o f the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation to which he or she did not object. In other words, a party's failure to object to one issue in a magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation precludes that party from subsequently raising that issue on a p p e a l , even if objections are filed on other issues. See Howard v. Secretary of HHS, 932 F.2d 505, 508-509 (6th Cir. 1991); s e e also Praylow v. M a r t i n , 761 F.2d 179, 180 n. 1 (4th Cir.)(party precluded from raising on appeal factual issue to which it did n o t object in the district court), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1009 (1985). In Howard,, the court stated that general, non-specific o b j e c tio n s are not sufficient: A general objection to the entirety of the [m a g i s t r a t e judge's] report has the same effects as w o u l d a failure to object. The district court's attention is not focused on any specific issues for review , thereby m a k in g the initial reference to the [magistrate judge] useless. * * * This duplication of time and effort w a s t e s j u d i c ia l resources rather than saving them, and runs contrary to the purposes of the M a g i s t r a t e s A c t . * * * W e w o u l d hardly countenance an appellant's brief simply objecting to the district court's determination w i t h o u t explaining the source of the error. A c c o r d Lockert v. Faulkner, 843 F.2d 1015, 1017-1019 (7th Cir. 1988), where the court held that the appellant, who proceeded p r o se in the district court, was barred from raising issues on appeal that he did not specifically raise in his objections to the district c o u rt: J u s t as a complaint stating only 'I complain' states no claim, an objection stating only 'I object' preserves no i s s u e for review . * * * A district judge should not have to guess w h a t arguments an objecting party depends o n w h e n review i n g a [magistrate judge's] report. S e e also Branch v. Martin, 886 F.2d 1043, 1046 (8th Cir. 1989)("no de novo review if objections are untimely or general"; which in v o l v e d a pro se litigant); Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 7 n. 1 (3d Cir. 1984)("plaintiff's objections lacked the specificity to trigger This notice, hereby, apprises the parties of the consequences of a failure to file specific, written objections. See W rig h t v. Collins; Small v. Secretary of HHS, 892 F.2d 15, 16 (2d Cir. 1989). Filing by mail d e novo review"). p u r s u a n t to Fed. R. Civ. P. 5 may be accomplished by mailing objections addressed as follows: Larry W. Propes, Clerk United States District Court Post Office Box 10768 Greenville, South Carolina 29603 5

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