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Buck v. Commonwealth

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

January 17, 2017

BOBBY LARRY BUCK, Plaintiff
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. MICHAEL F. URBANSKI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Proceeding pro se, plaintiff Bobby Larry Buck, filed the instant complaint against the Commonwealth of Virginia, seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis. For the reasons set forth below, Buck's application to proceed in forma pauperis will be GRANTED and his complaint will be DISMISSED without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         I.

         Buck's complaint consists of a one-paragraph statement dated January 8, 2017., That statement reads:

Federal Civil Rights Complaint filed against the State of Virginia in failure to provide due process and equal protection under the law as shown in the submitted enclosure, brought to the attention of Chief Magistrate Stephen Poff, relative to CASE #, GC16020860-00, hearing scheduled 01/17/2017, Commonwealth of Virginia vs Bobby Larry Buck, Roanoke City General District Court.

         Attached to this one-paragraph document is a letter dated January 3, 2017 from Buck;to Chief Magistrate Poff. This letter concerns alleged threats made against Buck "in the hallway outside of courtroom four in the Roanoke City General District Court on 12-21-16." As a result of these threats, Buck claims to have gone "to the Magistrate's Office to file a criminal complaint for a warrant of arrest for the physical threat made by Shawn Michael Hunter, of which the magistrate was reluctant to ask for an investigation by viewing the evidence." Buck states in his letter that he later learned the "warrant of arrest complaint was never filed with Detective Bureau and no record of [his] having filed a complaint." He asks Chief Poff to "look into the matter of [his] being denied 'due process' in our justice system." Buck provides no other details about his cause of action, except to note on his civil coyer sheet that this is a civil rights case.

         II.

         Buck moves to proceed in forma pauperis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). [The court will grant Buck's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. However, after reviewing the complaint, the court concludes that this action must be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), district courts have a duty to screen initial filings and dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis at any time if the court determines that the action "(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief."

         Buck's complaint plainly fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. Rule 8 of the Civil Rules of Civil Procedure requires a pleading that states a claim for relief to contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the; pleader is entitled to relief; and;
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.,

         Buck's one-paragraph complaint and attached letter to Chief Magistrate Poff fail to detail the nature of his alleged civil rights violation and fail to show that he is entitled to relief. Indeed, Buck does not even indicate what type of relief he seeks in this case.

         To the extent Buck is seeking monetary damages, the court notes that the Commonwealth of Virginia enjoys sovereign immunity, as the Eleventh Amendment bars suits brought by private individuals against states. See Board of Trustees of Univ. of Ala, v. Garrett. 531 U.S. 356, 363 (2001); Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho. 521 U.S. 261, 267-68 (1997) (citing Hans v. Louisiana. 134 U.S. 1 (1890)). State officials acting in their I I ...


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