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Alicimeus v. Immigration Center of America, LLC

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

July 19, 2016

CHRISTIAN ALICIMEUS, Plaintiff,
v.
IMMIGRATION CENTER OF AMERICA, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Robert E. Payne Senior United States District Judge

         Christian Alicimeus, a federal detainee proceeding pro se, filed this action in the Circuit Court for Prince Edward County, Virginia. On December 4, 2015, Immigration Center of America, LLC, Jeffrey Crawford, Matthew Jackson, Russell B. Harper, Ken Newsome, Warren Coleman, Mabel Logan (collectively, "ICA Defendants"), and Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc. ("Armor"), Wayne O'Brien, and Robert Dooley, MD (collectively, "Armor Defendants") removed the action to this Court.[1] The matter is before the Court on the ICA Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF Nos. 7) .[2] For the reasons that follow, the ICA Defendants' Motion to Dismiss will be granted. Alicimeus will be directed to show good cause why his claims against the Armor Defendants should not be dismissed.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "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) (citing 5A 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 plaintiff's 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) (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, " rather than merely "conceivable." Id. 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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp., 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) (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, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

         II. SUMMARY OF PERTIENT ALLEGATIONS AND CLAIMS

         Alicimeus invokes the Court's jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. 6, ECF No. 1-2.)[3] "Immigration Center of America [("ICA")] . . . operates a detention center for illegal immigrants in Farmville, Virginia, under a contract with the Border and Transportation Security division of the Department of Homeland Security, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement." (Id. ¶ 22.) The remaining defendants are investors/owners of ICA, employees of ICA, a privately contracted medical company, Armor, and its employees. (Id. ¶¶ 11-18.)

         On July 20, 2015, Alicimeus was placed "in the custody of Immigration Center of America - Farmville by defendant, Department of Homeland Security, for intake and processing for immigration proceedings." (Compl. ¶ 24.) During his incarceration at ICA Farmville, Alicimeus asserts that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by, inter alia, failing to provide adequate toilet paper, (Compl. ¶ 26) and failing to provide him with adequate medical care (id. ¶¶ 27- 31) . Alicimeus demands injunctive and declaratory relief and monetary damages. (Compl. 10-11.)

         III. NO CLAIM UNDER 42 U.S.C.§ 1983 OR BIVENS [4]

         Alicimeus seeks to sue the ICA Defendants and the Armor Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. 6.) That statute provides, in pertinent part:

Every person who, under color of any statute . . . of any State . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law ....

42 U.S.C. § 1983. Alicimeus fails to provide any factual allegations that plausibly suggest the ICA Defendants acted under color of state law. At best, Alicimeus alleges the ICA Defendants were acting under some gloss of federal authority by virtue of their relationship with the Department of Homeland Security. See Chatman v. Hernandez, 805 F.2d 453, 455 (1st Cir. 1986) (citation omitted) (observing that "Section 1983 applies to persons acting 'under color of state law' and not to persons acting pursuant to federal law"). Accordingly, Alicimeus fails to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the ICA Defendants.

         Furthermore, Alicimeus fails to state a claim under Bivens against the ICA Defendants. In Bivens, the Supreme Court held only

that 'violation of [the Fourth Amendment] by a federal agent acting under color of his authority gives rise to a cause of action for damages, ' despite the absence of any federal statute creating liability. 403 U.S. at 389. Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14 (1980), extended Bivens to recognize an implied damages ...

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