United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
DEREK N. JARVIS, Plaintiff,
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA, et al., Defendants.
C. CACHERIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for Failure to State a
Claim. [Dkt. 8.] This motion includes a request for a
pre-filing injunction. For the following reasons, the Court
will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss. The Court will
also schedule a hearing on Defendants' request for an
case is brought by pro se Plaintiff Derek N. Jarvis
(“Plaintiff” or “Jarvis”) against the
Alexandria Mayor's Office, City Council, and City
Manager (collectively, the
“Defendants”) for alleged violations of his
constitutional rights, negligence, and fraud. Compl. at 1-3.
The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint
and, for the purposes of this motion, are presumed true.
unspecified date, Plaintiff visited an unspecified Shell gas
station located in the Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria,
Virginia. Compl. at 1. While paying for gas, Plaintiff
alleges that a Middle Eastern employee at the station
referred to him with a racial slur and yelled at him in front
of other patrons. Id. Plaintiff asserts that he
attempted to contact the station's manager and owner
after the incident, but neither individual ever responded.
Id. at 6.
about August 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the
Office of Human Rights (“OHR”) in Alexandria,
alleging racial discrimination by the Shell gas station
employee. Compl. at 6. Plaintiff claims that OHR's
investigation of his complaint lasted approximately two
weeks. Id. After failing to properly investigate his
claim, Plaintiff further alleges that the director of OHR,
Jean Kelleher, then informed him that the incident at the gas
station did not amount to racial discrimination. Id.
As a result, she dismissed his complaint. Id.
Following dismissal, Plaintiff proceeded to contact the City
Manager, the Mayor's Office, and the City Attorney for
assistance, but found their help unavailing. Id.
filed the instant lawsuit on March 30, 2017. [Dkt. 1.] On May
4, 2017, Defendants filed their motion to dismiss for failure
to state a claim. [Dkt. 8.] Plaintiff filed his response in
opposition on May 18, 2017, [Dkt. 12], to which Defendants
replied on May 22, 2017, [Dkt. 13]. On May 26, 2017,
Plaintiff requested leave to file a surreply [Dkt. 14], to
which Defendants objected [Dkt. 15.] Having waived oral
argument, Defendants' motion is now ripe for disposition.
Standard of Review
Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 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)
(citation omitted). The Supreme Court has stated that in
order “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a [c]omplaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility
when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id.
whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is]
. . . a context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citations
omitted). While legal conclusions can provide the framework
for a complaint, all claims must be supported by factual
allegations. Id. Based upon these allegations, the
court must determine whether the plaintiff's pleadings
plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.
Id. Legal conclusions couched as factual allegations
are not sufficient, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, nor
are “unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions,
or arguments, ” E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D.
Assocs. Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir.
2000). The plaintiff, however, does not have to show a
likelihood of success; rather, the complaint must merely
allege-directly or indirectly-each element of a “viable
legal theory.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 562-63.
motion to dismiss stage, the court must construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, read
the complaint as a whole, and take the facts asserted therein
as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Generally, a
district court does not consider extrinsic materials when
evaluating a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). It may, however,
consider “documents incorporated into the complaint by
reference.” Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues &
Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007); see also
Blankenship v. Manchin, 471 F.3d 523, 526 n.1 (4th Cir.
2006). In addition, the court may consider documents attached
to a defendant's motion to dismiss if those documents are
central to the plaintiff's claim or are
“sufficiently referred to in the complaint, ” so
long as the plaintiff does not challenge their authenticity.
Witthohn v. Fed. Ins. Co., 164 F. App'x 395,
396-97 (4th Cir. 2006).
Court construes the pro se Complaint in this case
more liberally than those drafted by an attorney. See
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Further, the
Court is aware that “[h]owever inartfully pleaded by a
pro se plaintiff, allegations are sufficient to call for an
opportunity to offer supporting evidence unless it is beyond
doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts entitling
him to relief.” Thompson v. Echols, No.
99-6304, 1999 WL 717280, at *1 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing
Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972)). Nevertheless,
while pro se litigants cannot “be expected to
frame legal issues with the clarity and precision ideally
evident in the work of those trained in law, neither can
district courts be required to conjure up and decide issues
never fairly presented to them.” Beaudett v. City
of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1276 (4th Cir. 1985). Thus,
even in cases involving pro se litigants, the Court
“cannot be expected to construct full blown claims from
sentence fragments.” Id. at 1278. Further, the
Court may not construct a plaintiff's legal arguments for
him or her. See, e.g., Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d
411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993).
Request for ...