United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1). Also pending are
Plaintiff's Letter and Motion requesting the assistance
of counsel, (Doc. Nos. 3, 6).
se Plaintiff Mitchell Martin, who is currently
incarcerated at the Sanford County Correctional Center, has
filed a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
with regards to the events surrounding his arrest on July 19,
2017. He names as Defendants Rutherford County Police
Department Detective Chad Murray, Rutherford City Police
Department, Rutherford County Jail Administration, Medical
Staff, and Rutherford County Detention Facility Nurse Rachel
the Complaint liberally and accepting the allegations as
true, Plaintiff was arrested after a fist fight on July 19,
2017, during which he broke his left hand. Detective Murray
and other police officers were made aware of Plaintiff's
broken hand but they refused to offer any medical assistance
at the time of arrest. “RRPD Officials” refused
to transport Plaintiff for health treatment and instead took
him to the detention facility where he was again deprived of
medical treatment by “Jail Facility Medical
Staff.” (Doc. No. 1 at 5-6). Plaintiff made between 15
and 20 verbal and written requests for treatment on July 19
until he was transported to the “NC DAC Prisons.”
(Doc. No. 1 at 6). NC DAC “Medical Staff” have
documented that medical treatment should have been provided
which would have prevented permanent damage to
Plaintiff's hand. (Doc. No. 1 at 6). Defendants'
failure to render any medical assistance resulted in
Plaintiff's inability to use his hand.
seeks nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages, and
injunctive relief, i.e., “no retaliation from
Rutherford County Sheriff Dept. by police force or police
harassment at all.” (Doc. No. 1 at 5).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma
pauperis, the Court must review the Complaint to
determine whether it is subject to dismissal on the grounds
that it is “(i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In its
frivolity review, a court must determine whether the
Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
fantastic or delusional scenarios. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). A complaint
should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim
“unless ‘after accepting all well-pleaded
allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and
drawing all reasonable factual inferences from those facts in
the plaintiff's favor, it appears certain that the
plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his
claim entitling him to relief.'” Veney v.
Wyche, 293 F.3d 726, 730 (4th Cir. 2002)
(quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231,
244 (4th Cir. 1999)).
pro se complaint must be construed liberally.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); see
also Smith v. Smith, 589 F.3d 736, 738 (4th
Cir. 2009) (“Liberal construction of the pleadings is
particularly appropriate where … there is a pro
se complaint raising civil rights issues.”).
However, the liberal construction requirement will not permit
a district court to ignore a clear failure to allege facts in
his complaint which set forth a claim that is cognizable
under federal law. Weller v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990). A
pro se complaint must still contain sufficient facts
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level” and “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007); see Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (the Twombly
plausibility standard applies to all federal civil complaints
including those filed under § 1983). This
“plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to
demonstrate more than a sheer possibility that a defendant
has acted unlawfully.” Francis v. Giacomelli,
588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation marks omitted). He must articulate facts that, when
accepted as true, demonstrate he has stated a claim entitling
him to relief. Id.
1983 imposes liability on state actors who cause the
deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured
by the Constitution.” Loftus v. Bobzien, 848
F.3d 278, 284 (4thCir. 2017) (quoting Doe v.
Rosa, 795 F.3d 429, 436 (4th Cir. 2015)). To
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that
the defendant, acting under the color of law, violated his
federal constitutional or statutory rights and thereby caused
injury. Crosby v. City of Gastonia, 635 F.3d 634,
639 (4th Cir. 2011).
names as Defendants the Rutherford City Police Department,
Rutherford County Jail Administration, Medical Staff, and
Rutherford County Detention Facility Nurse Rachel Ruppe.
However, Plaintiff makes no factual allegations whatsoever
with regards to these Defendants. Therefore, the claims
against them are too vague and conclusory to proceed at this
time. See generally Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) (requiring
a short and plain statement of the claim); Simpson v.
Welch, 900 F.2d 33, 35 (4th Cir. 1990)
(conclusory allegations, unsupported by specific allegations
of material fact are not sufficient); Dickson v.
Microsoft Corp., 309 F.3d 193, 201-02 (4th
Cir. 2002) (A pleader must allege facts, directly or
indirectly, that support each element of the claim).
extent Plaintiff refers to individuals in the body of the
Complaint who are not named as defendants in the case
caption, these claims cannot proceed. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a) (“[i]n the complaint the title of
the action shall include the names of all the
parties.”); see Myles v. United States, 416
F.3d 551 (7th Cir. 2005) (“to make someone a
party the plaintiff must specify him in the caption and
arrange for service of process.”); see,
e.g., Londeree v. Crutchfield Corp., 68