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Sitton v. Husain

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

February 22, 2016

LeROY SITTON, JR., Plaintiff,
SAJJAD HUSAIN, et al., Defendants.


James R. Spencer Judge.

LeRoy Sitton, Jr., a former Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and the Court's authority to review complaints by individuals proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).[2] For the reasons set forth below, the action will be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.[3]


"A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint; importantly, it does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a plaintiffs well-pleaded allegations are taken as true and the complaint is viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993); see also Martin, 980 F.2d at 952. This principle applies only to factual allegations, however, and "a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure "require[] only 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (second alteration in original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Plaintiffs cannot satisfy this standard with complaints containing only "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. (citations omitted). Instead, a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " id. (citation omitted), stating a claim that is "plausible on its face, " id. at 570, rather than merely "conceivable." Id. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing BellAtl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In order for a claim or complaint to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, therefore, the plaintiff must "allege facts sufficient to state all the elements of [his or] her claim." Bass v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003) (citing Dickson v. Microsoft Corp., 309 F.3d 193, 213 (4th Cir. 2002); Iodice v. United States, 289 F.3d 270, 281 (4th Cir. 2002)). Lastly, while the Court liberally construes pro se complaints, Gordon v. Leeke> 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), it does not act as the inmate's advocate, sua sponte developing statutory and constitutional claims the inmate failed to clearly raise on the face of his complaint. See Brock v. Carroll, 107 F.3d 241, 243 (4th Cir. 1997) (Luttig, J., concurring); Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 115 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).


The Court directed Sitton to particularize his complaint in order to provide each Defendant with fair notice of the facts upon which his or her liability rested. Sitton, however, did not do a particularly good job of providing those facts. Specifically, the sum of Sitton's allegations is as follows:

After arriving at the Alexandria Detention Center, medical staff diagnosed me with hypertension. I was placed on high blood pressure medication, which was not properly administered.... Sajjad Husain and Zelke Bennet violated my 8* Amendment Right[4] to receive high blood pressure medication properly and be monitor[ed] on a monthly basis.
After being diagnosed with Hypertension, nurses within the facility advised that I be placed on a low sodium diet to aide in controlling my blood pressure. The normal diet within the detention center contains processed, high sodium foods, which exacerbate high blood pressure, as well as causes weight gain. I requested to have a low sodium diet. Despite my many requests, I was not provided a low sodium diet until eighteen (18) months after my initial request. As a result of this delay, my high blood pressure worsened, and the excessive weight gain contributed to other health related issues .... Sajjad Husain, Zelke Bennet, Dorthy Pope, Jerome Garris violated my 8th Amendment right by not providing me the proper diet according to my medical conditions.
While in processing, I advised the Medical Staff of knee and back pain. I later visited the Medical Facility where Xrays were performed, with no findings. Despite knowledge of how ineffective Xrays may be when diagnosing certain orthopedic issues, no more extensive testing was provided. Medical staff stated that I would not be in the center long and I would have to tough it out. My stay in the Alexandria Detention Center was 21 months. The nurse advised me that I needed shoes with proper arch support to lessen knee pain and prevent it from getting worse. I requested tennis shoes with arch support, but was told that I could not have my own shoes with arch support in them from my property for security reasons and I would have to order them myself. An outside source purchased tennis shoes through canteen that should have provided arch support, but did not. I was later provided shoes from the facility in the wrong size or none at all and walked around in unbearable pain, as a result of improper support. I was provided only Tylenol and Ibuprofen for pain, which did not help.... Sajjad Hussain, Zelke Bennet, Frank Milano, Shelbert Williams, and Dana Lawhorne violated my 8th Amendment by not addressing my disabilities, health and dietary issues.
After being released from the Alexandria Detention Center, I visited Alexandria Hospital in such unbearable pain in my knees that needed immediately medical attention. The doctor informed me that I had Bilateral Knee Pain, Degenerative Joint Disease of the Knee and Obesity. I had to return to Mt. Vernon hospital and was told my blood pressure was 200/87, close to a heart attack and/or stroke, due to knee pain.

(Particularized Compl. 1-2, ECF No. 12 (capitalization and punctuation corrected) (paragraph numbers omitted).) Sitton demands monetary damages and injunctive relief. (Id. at 2.)

Sitton asserts that he is entitled to relief upon the following grounds:

Claim One Defendants Husain and Bennet violated Sitton's rights under the Eighth Amendment by failing to properly monitor his blood pressure ...

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