United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
DANIEL D. ALVARADO, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF TULARE, et al., Defendants.
D. Alvarado commenced this action by filing a pro se
complaint on June 5, 2017. Alvarado did not pay the filing
fee but was granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. For the following reasons, the court concludes
that the action is subject to dismissal for lack of personal
complaint, which is styled as an affidavit, states that he
was previously incarcerated at the Bob Wiley Detention Center
in Tulare County, California. Alvarado was released from the
correctional facility on August 2, 2015. Prior to his
release, a deputy with the Tulare County Sheriffs Department
became upset when Alvarado refused to sign his name on a
document and instead referenced a provision of the Uniform
Commercial Code. According to Alvarado, the deputy threw him
head first into a wall, causing him to become unconscious.
Alvarado asserts that he sustained a head injury that took
three months to heal. He "demand[s]" that the
deputy "be held accountable for [the deputy's]
actions." Compl. 2, Docket No. 2.
civil cover sheet accompanying his complaint, Alvarado does
not name any particular individuals or entities as
defendants. However, Alvarado indicates that he is now a
resident of Albemarle County, Virginia, that the defendants
are residents of Tulare County, California, and that he is
invoking the court's diversity jurisdiction. Alvarado
then states that he is asserting claims for civil rights
violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, copyright
infringement, kidnapping, extortion, blackmail, and slavery.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), which governs in forma
pauperis proceedings, the court has a mandatory duty to
screen initial filings. Eriline Co. v. Johnson, 440
F.3d 648, 656-57 (4th Cir. 2006). The court is required to
dismiss a case "at any time" if the court
determines that the action is frivolous or that the complaint
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Additionally, in evaluating a
complaint filed in forma pauperis, the court may
raise a waivable defense sua sponte when the
complaint plainly reveals the existence of such defense.
Eriline Co., 440 F.3d at 656 (citing Nasim v.
Warden, Md. House of Corr.. 64 F.3d 951, 953-54 (4th
Cir. 1995))[*];. see also Anderson v. XYZ
Corr. Health Servs.. Inc., 407 F.3d 674, 682-83 (4th
Cir. 2005) (recognizing that sua sponte dismissal
may be appropriate if the existence of an affirmative defense
is "apparent from the face of a complaint").
case, it is apparent from the face of the complaint that this
court does not have personal jurisdiction over the
defendants. The complaint makes clear that Alvarado's
claims are based on acts or omissions that occurred in the
State of California. None of the acts or omissions is alleged
to have occurred in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In
addition, there are no allegations suggesting that the
California residents allegedly responsible for the plaintiffs
injuries have any connection to Virginia.
lawful assertion of personal jurisdiction over a defendant
requires satisfying the standards of the forum state's
long-arm statute and respecting the safeguards enshrined in
the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause."
Tire Eng'g & Distrib., LLC v. Shandong Linglong
Rubber Co.. 682 F.3d 292, 301 (4th Cir. 2012).
"Because Virginia's long-arm statute extends
personal jurisdiction to the outer bounds of due process, the
two-prong test collapses into a single inquiry when Virginia
is the forum state." Id. Accordingly, a
Virginia court can exercise personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant only if the exercise of such
jurisdiction comports with the requirements of due process.
See Id. at 3 01 -02.
Process Clause requires that a defendant have adequate
"minimum contacts" with the forum state. See
ALS Scan, Inc. v. Digital Serv. Consultants. Inc.,
293 F.3d 707, 711 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing Int'l Shoe
Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). Depending
on the type of minimum contacts in a case, personal
jurisdiction can either be general or specific. General
personal jurisdiction "requires 'continuous and
systematic' contacts with the forum state, such that a
defendant may be sued in that state for any reason,
regardless of where the relevant conduct occurred.'"
CFA Inst, v. Inst, of Chartered Fin. Analysts of
India, 551 F.3d 285, 292 n.15 (4th Cir. 2009) (citing
Perkins v. Benguet Consol. Mining Co., 342 U.S. 437,
438 (1952)). "Specific personal jurisdiction, on the
other hand, requires only that the relevant conduct have such
a connection with the forum state that it is fair for the
defendant to defend itself in that state." Id.
(citing Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia. S.A. v.
Hall, 46 U.S. 408, 414-15 (1984)). In other words,
"[i]f the defendant's contacts with the [forum
state] are also the basis of the suit, those contacts may
establish specific jurisdiction." ALS Scan, 293
F.3d at 711.
instant case, the plaintiff has not alleged any facts
suggesting that the Tulare County Sheriffs deputy or the Bob
Wiley Detention Center has engaged in systematic and
continuous activity in Virginia. Nor has he alleged any facts
suggesting that his claims are based upon contacts that these
California residents have had with the forum state. Indeed,
Alvarado does not describe anything that any individual or
entity in California has done in Virginia that should have
caused that individual or entity to anticipate being sued
here. Because it is apparent from the face of the complaint
that personal jurisdiction is lacking and there is no reason
to believe that any defendant would waive this basis for
dismissal, the court finds it appropriate to dismiss the case
without prejudice. See Truiillo v. Williams. 465
F.3d 1210, 1216-17 (10th Cir. 2006) (holding that a district
court may sua sponte dismiss an action under 28
U.S.C. § 1915 for lack of personal jurisdiction
"when the defense is obvious from the face of the
complaint and no further factual record is required to be
developed") (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted); see also Marin v. La Paloma Healthcare
Ctr.. 636 F.App'x 586, 588 (3d Cir. 2016) (holding
that the case was properly dismissed for lack of personal
jurisdiction under § 1915 where "the lack of a
connection between the Defendants and Pennsylvania [was]
apparent from the face of the complai t").
reasons stated, the case will be dismissed without prejudice
for lack of personal jurisdiction. All other pending motions
will be denied as moot. The Clerk is directed to send copies
of this ...