United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. Gibney Jr. United States District Judge
Marcellus Irving, a former Virginia inmate proceeding pro
se, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983
action. The matter is before the Court for
evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. As explained
below, Irving'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 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, " 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 Atl
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
Complaint, Irving alleges that Defendants violated his
Fourth Amendment rights.
Plaintiff Angelo M. Irving claims that his Fourth Amendment
rights were violated when Robert P. Hall, officer of Caroline
Police Dept. unlawfully used his authority to search and
seize him for robbery of an A.B.C. store, and use of a
firearm while committing or attempting to commit a robbery,
pursuant to the issuance of a uniform traffic stop, as
probable cause. There was no probable cause to stop Irving
where no victim alleged that they he or she was robbed. And
the traffic stop alone could not form the basis for probable
cause to search or seize him, where he was accused of robbery
and use of a F/A as basis for the [charges].
The Magistrate named in the warrant also violated
Irving's Fourth Amendment rights upon issuing the warrant
without probable cause and remanding him to custody without
probable cause as a form of seizure.
(Compl. 4, ECF No. 1.) The exhibits attached to Irving's
Complaint indicate that Irving was arrested on the charges to
which he refers on December 20, 1983. (ECF No. 1-1, at 1-4.)
The Court's records demonstrate that, in 1984, Irving was
convicted of armed robbery and use of a firearm in the
commission of a felony in the Circuit Court of the County of
Caroline, Virginia, and was sentenced to fifteen years of
imprisonment. Irving v. Clarke, No. 3:14CV571, 2015
WL 4424848, at *1 (E.D. Va. July 17, 2015). Irving seeks
$175, 000.00 in damages, injunctive relief in the form of a
finding "that the defendants have violated the
4th Amend[ment], " and "any other relief
the Court deems fit." (Compl. 5.)
Court construes Irving's Complaint to raise the following
claims for relief:
Claim One: Defendant Hall violated Irving's rights under
the Fourth Amendment by (a) conducting a traffic stop without
probable cause and (b) lacking probable cause to arrest