C/A No. 0:20-216-TMC-PJG
ORDER REGARDING AMENDMENT OF COMPLAINT
The plaintiff, Edrian Donyae Wright, a self-represented state prisoner, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Complaint has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and § 1915A. This matter is before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.). Having reviewed the Complaint in accordance with applicable law, the court finds this action is subject to summary dismissal if Plaintiff does not amend the Complaint to cure the deficiencies identified herein.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiff, an inmate at Lee Correctional Institution of the South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDC"), indicates that he contracted herpes at the prison and was not properly treated by SCDC in February 2019. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 5-6.) Plaintiff indicates he only received treatment for herpes through a medical provider outside of the prison. (Id.) Additionally, Plaintiff claims that a medication SCDC prescribed to him caused inflammation on his brain and stroke-like symptoms in April and May 2019. (Id. at 3, 5-6, 8-9.) Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against SCDC seeking damages for his lack of medical treatment of his herpes and for the damage caused by the medication prescribed by SCDC. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff also indicates he seeks a pardon from SCDC. (Id.)
After filing this Complaint, Plaintiff filed two more civil actions in this court—Wright v. Medical University of South Carolina, C/A No. 0:20-cv-313-TMC-PJG, and Wright v. Richland Memorial Hospital, C/A No. 20-cv-315-TMC-PJG. In those cases, Plaintiff raises claims against two hospitals arising out of his treatment for his brain inflammation and stroke-like symptoms.
A. Standard of Review
Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se Complaint pursuant to the procedural provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), including 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The Complaint has been filed 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, and is also governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the court to review a complaint filed by a prisoner that seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See McLean v. United States, 566 F.3d 391 (4th Cir. 2009). Section 1915A requires, and § 1915 allows, a district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
This court is required to liberally construe pro se complaints, which are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d 206, 214 (4th Cir. 2016). Nonetheless, 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 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (outlining pleading requirements under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for "all civil actions").
The Complaint is filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which " 'is not itself a source of substantive rights,' but merely provides 'a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.' " Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)). To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
However, SCDC is not a "person" amenable to suit under § 1983. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 67-68, 71 (1989) (holding that neither a State nor its officials acting in their official capacities are "persons" under § 1983, and finding Congress did not intend to override the State's sovereign immunity by enacting the statute); see also Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25-31 (1991); Constantine v. Rectors & Visitors of George Mason Univ., 411 F.3d 474, 482-83 (4th Cir. 2005). Section 1983 provides for liability of individuals who act under the color of state law, West, 487 U.S. at 48, but Plaintiff has not identified an individual defendant that is subject to liability under § 1983. Therefore, Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Also, to the extent Plaintiff seeks a pardon, such relief is not cognizable in a § 1983 action. See generally Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005).
Consequently, Plaintiff's Complaint is subject to summary dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and § 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff is hereby granted twenty-one (21) days from the date this order is entered (plus three days for mail time) to file an amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) that corrects the deficiencies identified above. If Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint that corrects those deficiencies, this action will be recommended for summary dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and § 1915A.
Any amended complaint filed by Plaintiff is also subject to further initial review by the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and § 1915A. Further, Plaintiff is reminded that an amended complaint replaces the original complaint and should be complete in itself. See Young v. City of Mount Ranier, 238 F .3d 567, 572 (4th Cir. 2001) ("As a general rule, an amended pleading ordinarily supersedes the original and renders it of no legal effect.") (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see also 6 Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 1476 (3d ed. 2017) ("A pleading that has been amended under Rule 15(a) supersedes the pleading it modifies and remains in effect throughout the action unless it subsequently is modified. Once an amended pleading is interposed, the original pleading no longer performs any function in the case . . ."). --------
Additionally, if Plaintiff files an amended complaint, he should include all of the claims he intends to raise against any party that arises out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences that caused the injuries he seeks relief for in this case. Plaintiff's claims against the Medical University of South Carolina and Richland Memorial Hospital may be more properly raised and efficiently asserted in this case, rather than separate legal actions. See generally Rule 20(a)(2) (providing a plaintiff may bring a claim against multiple defendants if "any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.").
IT IS SO ORDERED. February 10, 2020
Columbia, South Carolina
Paige J. Gossett
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Plaintiff's attention is directed to the important WARNING on the following page.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION . . . PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
WARNING TO PRO SE PARTY OR NONPARTY FILERS
ALL DOCUMENTS THAT YOU FILE WITH THE COURT WILL BE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC ON THE INTERNET THROUGH PACER (PUBLIC ACCESS TO COURT ELECTRONIC RECORDS) AND THE COURT'S ELECTRONIC CASE FILING SYSTEM. CERTAIN PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN, OR SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM, ALL DOCUMENTS BEFORE YOU SUBMIT THE DOCUMENTS TO THE COURT FOR FILING.
Rule 5.2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for privacy protection of electronic or paper filings made with the court. Rule 5.2 applies to ALL documents submitted for filing, including pleadings, exhibits to pleadings, discovery responses, and any other document submitted by any party or nonparty for filing. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, a party or nonparty filer should not put certain types of an individual's personal identifying information in documents submitted for filing to any United States District Court. If it is necessary to file a document that already contains personal identifying information, the personal identifying information should be "blacked out" or redacted prior to submitting the document to the Clerk of Court for filing. A person filing any document containing their own personal identifying information waives the protection of Rule 5.2(a) by filing the information without redaction and not under seal. 1. Personal information protected by Rule 5.2(a): (a) Social Security and Taxpayer identification numbers. If an individual's social security number or a taxpayer identification number must be included in a document, the filer may include only the last four digits of that number. (b) Names of Minor Children. If the involvement of a minor child must be mentioned, the filer may include only the initials of that child. (c) Dates of Birth. If an individual's date of birth must be included in a document, the filer may include only the year of birth. (d) Financial Account Numbers. If financial account numbers are relevant, the filer may include only the last four digits of these numbers.