United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. Gibney, Jr. United States District Judge.
Wali Salam Muhjadin, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42
U.S.C. § 1983 action. The action proceeds on Muhjadin's
Particularized Complaint. (ECF No. 14.) The matter is before
the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A. As explained below, Muhjadin's
claims lack merit and will be dismissed.
to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") this
Court must dismiss any action filed by a prisoner 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); see 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. 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)). The
second standard is the familiar standard for a motion to
dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
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 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).
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 At I. 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 Bell All.
Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). 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 will not
act as the inmate's advocate and develop, sua
sponte, statutory and constitutional claims that 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).
SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS
Particularized Complaint, Muhjadin raises several claims
concerning his medical treatment, the loss of his property,
and the responses he received to informal complaints and
grievances that he submitted regarding his property. Prior to
August 13, 2014, Muhjadin was admitted to the Southside
Regional Medical Center ("SRMC") and was diagnosed
with a grand mal seizure, black eye, multiple concussions,
and an equilibrium problem. (Part. Compl. ¶ 1.) Staff at
SRMC also found that Muhjadin "was over medicated on
[his] medication that was supposed to stop [his] seizures but
was instead causing them to happen more frequently."
he was released from SRMC, Muhjadin was placed in the medical
infirmary at Sussex II State Prison ("SUSP").
(Id. ¶ 2.) While he was there, Defendant Newby,
a lieutenant who was the acting watch commander for B-Break
night shift, ordered that Muhjadin's property be packed
and brought to Muhjadin. (Id.) On August 13, 2014,
Defendant Williams, a lieutenant who was acting assistant
watch commander and supervisor of the infirmary for IB-Break
night shift, woke Muhjadin and informed him that his property
would be packed so that another inmate could be moved into
Muhjadin's cell. (Id. ¶ 3.) When Muhjadin
sat up to protest, Williams "pushed [him] back down into
a laying position." (Id.)
Newby ordered Defendants Seabuagh and Chandler, both
correctional officers, to report to Defendant Depriest, a
sergeant, so that Muhjadin's property could be packed.
(Id. ¶ 4.) Seabuagh and Chandler packed
Muhjadin's property. (Id. ¶ 5.) According
to Muhjadin, Depriest did not ensure that his property was
packed according to Virginia Department of Corrections
("VDOC") policies. (Id. ¶ 4.)
Chandler delivered the property to Muhjadin's bedside in
the infirmary. (Id. ¶ 5.) However, Defendant
Pelham, a correctional officer for the infirmary, would not
accept the property because there was no inventory sheet.
(Id.) Chandler told Pelham that Muhjadin said
'"he was good'" and left the property at
Muhjadin's bedside. (Id.) Subsequently,
Defendant Helyer, a correctional officer in the infirmary,
moved Muhjadin's "property from his bedside but
never ever did inventory it." (Id. ¶ 13.)
According to Muhjadin, Defendants Clarke, the Director of the
VDOC, Vargo, the Warden of SUSP, and Jones, the Chief of
Security for SUSP, failed to train all of these officers with
respect to the proper way to handle inmate property.
(Id. ¶¶ 8-10.)
September 2, 2014, Muhjadin submitted an informal complaint
regarding his missing property. (ECF No. 14-1, at 5.)
Defendant Byrd, the day shift supervisor for personal
property and the infirmary, responded, stating "Property
is not responsible for your property. You are responsible for
your property." (Id.; see also Part. Compl.
¶ 14.) Muhjadin then submitted a grievance, which
Defendant James, the Institutional Ombudsman, rejected as
untimely. (ECF No. 14-1, at 1-4; see also Part.
Compl. ¶ 6.) Defendant Woodson, the Regional Ombudsman
for the Eastern Region, denied Muhjadin's appeal. (Part.
Compl. ¶ 7.)
Court construes Muhjadin's Particularized Complaint to
raise the following claims for relief:
Claim One: All Defendants violated Muhjadin's rights
under the Eighth Amendmentby failing to recognize that medical
staff were over-medicating Muhjadin with his anti-seizure
medication. (Part. Compl. ¶ 1.)
Claim Two: Defendant Williams violated Muhjadin's rights
under the Eighth Amendment by utilizing excessive force when
he pushed Muhjadin back into a "laying position" on
his infirmary bed. (Id. ¶ 3.)
Claim Three: Defendants Newby, Williams, Depriest, Chandler,
Seabuagh, Pelham, and Helyer violated Muhjadin's rights
under the Fourth Amendment by entering his cell to pack his
property. (Id. ¶¶ 2-5, 11-13.)
Claim Four: Defendants Newby, Williams, Depriest, Chandler,
Seabuagh, Pelham, and Helyer violated VDOC operating
procedures, as well as Muhjadin's due process rights
under the Fourteenth Amendment,  by failing to ensure that
his property was properly packed and stored, and for causing
his property to be misplaced. (Id.)
Claim Five: Defendants Byrd, James, and Woodson violated
Muhjadin's rights under the Fourth and
Ninth Amendments by the way they answered his