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Anderson v. Armor Correctional Health Services

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

February 1, 2018



          John A. Gibney. Jr. United States District.

         William Lee Anderson, II, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The matter is before the Court on Defendant Phillips's Motion to Dismiss, the Court's own review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), and several other motions filed by Anderson. For the reasons stated below, the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 19) will be GRANTED.


         Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") this Court must dismiss any action filed by a prisoner 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)), aff'd, 36 F.3d 1091 (4th Cir. 1994). 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, 7 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 At I. 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, 574 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).


         In November of 2014, Anderson was confined in the Augusta Correctional Center ("A.C.C."). (Compl. 4-5, ECF No. I.)[2] Anderson was lifting weights, when an accident occurred and his elbow was crushed. (Id. at 4.) Thereafter, Anderson received some medical care and was transferred to Greensville Correctional Center ("G.C.C."). (Id. 4-5.) Anderson contends that, "[i]f surgery had been done in an appropriate time line, it would have reduced the amount of damage done to both the nerves and the cartilage." (Id. at 4.)

         Defendant Phillips is a human resource assistant at G.C.C. (ECF No. 1-1, at 3.) Anderson contends that he exhausted "his administrative remedies through all grievance processes until ... intentional [and] complete denial of grievance process once [he] arrived at G.C.C. by Ms. Phillips" (Id.) Specifically, Defendant Phillips "refused to release first filed grievances filed at A.C.C. prior to transfer to G.C.C. on Jan. 13, 2016, where plaintiff sent for those grievances filed at A.C.C.. .." (Id.) Anderson alleges that Defendant Phillips is "harboring the grievance documents regarding his health and well-being, prolonging redress in order to get surgery now going on 24 months...." (Id.) Phillips contends that such actions violate his rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (Id.)

         Although hardly clear, review of the documents attached to the Complaint suggests that Anderson's claims are predicated on Defendant Phillips's failure to provide him with free copies of some medical records and a grievance pertaining to Anderson's elbow injury. For example, on September 3, 2016, Anderson wrote an informal complaint wherein he complained:

Ms. Phillips in Grievance Office came to me 3 weeks ago in regards to my records of my fractured right elbow from A.C.C. where I have yet to receive them, "delay and hindering, " obstructing justice, denied access to the court, interfering with court proceeding, where I [have been] without surgery for over 20 months and Ms. Phillips is the one person to have acknowledged that these records were here. This is an 8th Amendment violation ....

         (ECF No. 1-6, at 3.) In response, Ms. Phillips informed Anderson that she would provide Anderson with the pertinent copies if he paid for them and provided her with a receipt reflecting the same. (Id.)

         Anderson did not like that response and on September 19, 2016, wrote an Offender Request demanding copies of the records. (Id. at 4.) In response, another prison official, S. Tapp, informed Anderson, "You were told on 9/13/16 that you had not provided any receipt for the copies. That even though you may be indigent, you must still go through the Business Office. Your lawyer, if ...

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