Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Carter v. Hudson

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

May 1, 2017

MR. LEONARD CARTER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
MR. HENRY E. HUDSON, etai, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          John A. Gibney, Jr. United States District Judge.

         Leonard Carter, Jr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil action. The matter is before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) andl915A.

         I. PRELIMINARY REVIEW

         Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") this Court must dismiss any action filed by an individual proceeding in forma pauperis 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).

         "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 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, 1 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 Ail. 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, SI A 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).

         II. SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS

         In his lengthy and rambling Complaint, which is composed from several documents, Carter has named United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson, as well as Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC") employees Harold W. Clarke, A. David Robinson, Bryan Watson, Benjamin Wright, Y.M. Taylor, Wend W. Pixley, and Keith Dawkes (collectively, "VDOC Defendants"), as Defendants. (Compl. 1-3, ECF No. I.)[1] The majority of Carter's Complaint, however, contains allegations that do not involve the named Defendants. Upon review of Carter's Complaint, particularly the "Statement of the Claim" section, the Court has construed the following claims against the named Defendants:

Claim One: The named Defendants conspired to murder Carter's brother, Vincent Burrett Carter, by illegally transporting him to River North Correctional Center. (Id. at 7.)
Claim Two: The VDOC Defendants violated Carter's right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment[2] by failing to provide him with informal complaint forms and by failing to properly process his grievances. (Id. at 8-10.)
Claim Three: Judge Hudson violated the Code of Judicial Conduct by erroneously ruling on October 28, 2010, that Carter had at least three previous actions that were dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a claim. (Id. at 12.)

         III. ANALYSIS

         Carter alleges that his constitutional claims arise under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, which provides that "[t]he district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Judge Hudson is a federal official, so Carter apparently invokes Bivens[3] for his claims against him. Carter's claims against the VDOC Defendants, however, would properly be brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[4]Nevertheless, because Carter's claims are so apparently lacking in merit, the Court will dismiss his Complaint in its entirety.

         In order to state a viable claim under Bivens, a plaintiff must allege that a person acting under color of federal authority deprived him or her of a constitutional right. See Goldstein v. Moatz,364 F.3d 205, 210 n.8 (4th Cir. 2004) (citing Bivens, 403 U.S. at 389). In order to state a viable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that a person acting under color of state law deprived him or her of a constitutional right or of a right conferred by a law of the United States. See Dowe v. Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke Valley, 145 F.3d 653, 658 (4th Cir. 1998). "[A] plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution." Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009). Accordingly, the plaintiff ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.