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Johnson v. Social Security Adminstration

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

June 16, 2017



          Henry E. Hudson United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (ECF No. 35) of United States Magistrate Judge David Novak that this Court grant Defendant Erin McNeill's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Vinita Johnson's Amended Complaint. (Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 13.) Johnson timely filed her objections to the R&R on April 21, 2017. (PL's Objs., ECF 36.)

         This Court will dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before it, and oral argument would not materially aid in the decisional process. E.D. Va. Local Civ. R. 7(J).

         For the reasons stated herein, the Court will overrule Johnson's objections and the R&R will be adopted as the opinion of the Court. Accordingly, the Court will grant McNeill's Motion and dismiss Johnson's Amended Complaint without prejudice as it pertains to McNeill.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 5, 2017, Johnson, proceeding pro se, filed her Amended Complaint alleging, among other things, causes of action stemming from her previous employment at the Nottoway Correctional Center and the Social Security Administration's denial of her social security benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (See generally Am. Compl., ECF No. 7.)

         Johnson's Amended Complaint is difficult to decipher as she "assert[s] a patchwork of factual allegations, quotations from and chronologies of proceedings." (R&R 2.) The Magistrate Judge endeavored to summarize Johnson's claims as follows:

First, Plaintiff appears to challenge the Social Security Administration's decision denying her application for benefits. Second, Plaintiff weaves together quotations from and facts relating to an unfavorable decision from the Virginia Department of Employment Dispute Resolution that she appealed to the Nottoway County Circuit Court. Third, Plaintiff cites details from a case that she filed against the Virginia Employment Commission in state court. Fourth, Plaintiff recites a history of proceedings related to her claim or claims before the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission and the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Finally, after a vague reference to her medical records, Plaintiff asserts a personal injury claim for pain in her wrists from turning cell doorknobs during her employment at Nottoway Correctional Center.

(Id. (internal citations omitted).)

         Johnson named multiple Defendants in this case, including McNeill, an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, Johnson's Amended Complaint is conspicuously devoid of any legal or factual allegations pertaining to McNeill. (See generally Am. Compl.) On January 31, 2017, McNeill filed a Motion to Dismiss Johnson's Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). McNeill also provided Johnson with a notice consistent with Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), as required by Local Rule 7(k). (ECFNo. 15.)

         On February 2, 2017, this Court issued an Order referring McNeill's Motion and any subsequent pre-trial motions filed in this matter to the Magistrate Judge. (ECF No. 17.) Johnson filed her Response in Opposition to McNeill's Motion to Dismiss on February 21, 2017. (ECF No. 20.) Upon review, the Magistrate Judge concluded that Johnson failed to allege sufficient facts to survive a review under Rule 12(b)(1) or Rule 12(b)(6):

The Amended Complaint, as asserted against McNeill, fails to allege sufficient facts to survive the defenses that McNeill raises under Rule 12(b)(1) or Rule 12(b)(6). The only allegations in the Amended Complaint that appear to assert federal subject matter jurisdiction relate to Plaintiffs denial of social security benefits by the Social Security Administration. Plaintiff alleges no facts that connect McNeill to her denial of benefits. Indeed, the Amended Complaint does not allege any facts relating to McNeill whatsoever. Likewise, Plaintiffs response in opposition to the motion to dismiss lacks any factual allegation concerning McNeill. Thus, Plaintiff falls short of alleging a "plausible" set of facts to constitute a cognizable cause of action against McNeill.

(R&R 4 (emphasis added).)

         Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge recommended that this Court grant McNeill's Motion to Dismiss and that Johnson's ...

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