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Allen v. Wright

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

May 31, 2016

JODY MICHAEL ALLEN, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
K. WRIGHT, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          M. Harnnah Lauck, United States Distinct Judge.

         Jody Michael Allen, a Virginia prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] The matter is before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). For the reasons that follow, the action will be DISMISSED AS MOOT.

         I. Standard for Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

         When an individual is proceeding in forma pauperis, this Court must dismiss the action if the Court determines the action (1) "is frivolous" or (2) "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The first standard includes claims based upon "'an indisputably meritless legal theory, '" or claims where the "'factual contentions are clearly baseless.'" Clay v. Yates, 809 F.Supp. 417, 427 (E.D. Va. 1992) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989)), aff'd, 36 F.3d 1091 (4th Cir. 1994). The second standard is the familiar standard for a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

         "A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint; importantly, it does not resolve contests surroxinding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Republican Party of KC. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (citing 5 A Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1356 (1990)). 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.'" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (omission 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 assert facts that rise above speculation and conceivability to those that "show" a claim that is "plausible on its face." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "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." Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Therefore, in order for a claim or complaint to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, 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) (citations omitted). 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, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

         II. Summary Of Allegations

         Allen filed the present action while incarcerated in the Riverside Regional Jail. (Compl. 4.)[2] Allen alleges:

I am a Hepatitis C carrier and requested to be treated for Hepatitis C. Lab tests were taken June 29th, 2015, to confirm my having Hepatitis C. . . . On July 17th, 2015, I was seen by Doctor Wright and told by her I would not receive treatment for Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a chronic, life-threatening disease to which my being denied treatment amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

(Id. at 5.) Allen seeks injunctive relief in the form of treatment for his Hepatitis C. Since the filing of the Complaint, Allen was transferred from the Riverside Regional Jail to the Nottoway Correctional Center. (ECF No. 14, at 1.)

         III. Analysis

         "[A]s a general rule, a prisoner's transfer or release from a particular prison moots his claims for injunctive and declaratory relief with respect to his incarceration there." Rendelman v. Rouse, 569 F.3d 182, 186 (4th Cir. 2009) (citing Incumaa v. Ozmint, 507 F.3d 281, 286-87 (4th Cir. 2007); see Williams v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 823 (4th Cir. 1991); Taylor v. Rogers, 781 F.2d 1047, 1048 n.l (4th Cir. 1986)). Allen's only request for relief pertains to obtaining Hepatitis C treatment from K. Wright, a physician at the Riverside Regional Jail and the only defendant listed in the Complaint. As Allen is no longer incarcerated at the Riverside Regional Jail, the action will be DISMISSED AS MOOT.

         An appropriate Order shall accompany ...


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