United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
Ellis, III United States District Judge.
Fauconier, a Virginia inmate acting pro se, has filed a civil
rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
that his rights under both the Constitution and the Americans
with Disabilities Act ("ADA") were violated when he
was removed from his position as a houseman at Powhatan
Correctional Center ("PCC"). The matter is now
before the Court on defendants' Motion to Dismiss for
Failure to State a Claim, to which plaintiff has filed a
Motion in Opposition. Also pending are two motions by
plaintiff pertaining to the filing fees for this action and
an earlier appeal. For the reasons which follow,
defendants' Motion to Dismiss will be granted, plaintiffs
Motion in Opposition will be denied, and plaintiff will
remain obligated to pay the applicable filing fees.
ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must
accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in
the complaint." Erickson v. Pardus. 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly. 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). So construed, the
facts giving rise to the plaintiffs claims are as follow:
Douglas Fauconier is an inmate committed to the custody of
the Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC").
Compl. ¶ 1. Defendant Harold W. Clarke is the Director
of VDOC. Compl. ¶8. Defendant Jeffery N. Dillman is the
former warden of Powhatan Correctional Center
("PCC"), a VDOC facility that is now closed. Compl.
¶ 10. Defendant Luke Isaiah Black was the Institutional
Programs Manager at PCC during the time period relevant to
this action, and "oversaw the functioning of all
programs at the prison." Compl. ¶ 12. Defendant
Lakenesha Spencer was a counselor at PCC who was
"responsible for determining whether a prisoner [met]
eligibility requirements for available prison
employment." Compl. ¶ 14.
2010, plaintiff was confined at PCC. Prior to that time, and
during his incarceration at PCC, he was employed in various
institutional positions. Compl. ¶¶ 16-18. On
October 14, 2010, plaintiff was transferred to the Medical
College of Virginia ("MCV") for a "very brief
period. Compl. ¶¶ 19-20. When he returned to PCC
and to his original housing unit plaintiff reapplied for the
houseman position he had held prior to his hospitalization,
and he was not rehired. Compl. ¶ 24. Plaintiffs medical
condition was given as the reason for the denial of
institutional employment, and at the time he filed the
complaint he had remained unable to obtain such employment
since 2010. Compl. ¶ 24 & Ex. 2 at pp. 2-3, 6. Other
inmates with prior periods of hospitalization for unspecified
conditions have been able to maintain such employment. Compl.
October 30, 2013, plaintiff submitted an informal complaint
regarding his inability to obtain institutional employment.
Compl. ¶ 31. Defendant Black responded that plaintiff
was ineligible for employment because he had been assigned
medical classification code "D." Compl. ¶ 32
& Ex. 1 at p. 2. On November 11, 2013, plaintiff
submitted a regular grievance as to the same issue, and
defendant Dillman responded that plaintiff had been assigned
medical code "D" was therefore was "ineligible
to work at this time." Compl. ¶¶ 33-34 &
Ex. 1 at p. 4, Ex. 2 at p. 4.
to VDOC Operating Procedure 720.2, "Medical Screening,
Classification and Levels of Care, " each inmate
receives a "medical activity classification" that
is "assigned by the physician according to the
"Medical & Location Codes" set out in
VDOC's Nursing Guidelines. Those guidelines state that a
medical code of "D" means that the offender has
been deemed medically ineligible to obtain institutional
employment, and that he further is restricted to "[n]o
sports activity except walking." Def. Mem., Ex. 1-2.
was transferred to Augusta Correctional Center on October 22,
2014. Compl. ¶ 1, n.l. He filed this action on December
3, 2014. Compl. at p. 5.
construed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, plaintiff
alleges the following claims:
1. He suffered disability discrimination in violation of
Title II of the ADA.
2. His right to equal protection was violated, for which
relief is warranted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Standard of Review
12(b)(6) allows a court to dismiss those allegations which
fail "to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When determining
whether a motion to dismiss should be granted, the alleged
facts are presumed true and the complaint should be dismissed
only when "it is clear that no relief could be granted
under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with
the allegations." Hishon v. King &
Spalding. 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984). To survive a 12(b)(6)
motion, "a complaint 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. ___, ___,, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)
(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly. 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). "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." Id. However,
"[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice" to meet this standard, id., and a
plaintiffs "[f]actual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level...."
Twomblv. 550 U.S. at 55.
claims are time-barred
make several meritorious arguments in favor of dismissal of
the complaint in this action. As a threshold and dispositive
matter, they point out correctly that both of plaintiff s
claims are time-barred.
II of the ADA does not contain a statute of
limitations." A Society Without a Name, for People
without a Home. Millennium Future-Present v. Va.. 655
F.3d 342, 347 (4th Cir. 2011). Accordingly, federal courts
"borrow the state statute of limitations that applies to
the most analogous state-law claim." Id.
Applicable precedent in this circuit teaches that "the
one-year limitations period in the Virginia Disabilities Act
applies to ADA claims brought in Virginia." Id.
at 348. Causes of action accrue under federal law when the
plaintiff "possesses sufficient facts about the harm
done to him that reasonable inquiry will reveal his cause of
action." Nasim v. Warden. Md, House of Corr..
64 F.3d 951, 955 (4th Cir. 1995). Consistent with that
general principle, an ADA claim accrues and the statute of
limitations begins to run when the plaintiff knows or has
reason to know of his injury. A Society Without a
Name. 655 F.3d at 347-48.
upon the allegations in the complaint, it cannot be gainsaid
that plaintiff was aware that he was being denied
institutional employment because of his medical
classification code by 2010. Plaintiff alleges that his
"very brief hospitalization at MCV commenced on October
14, 2010, and when he was returned to PCC he was not re-hired
as a houseman because of his medical condition. Compl.
¶¶ 19-20, 24. Even more telling, he submitted an
informal and then a formal complaint regarding his inability
to obtain institutional employment specifically referencing
the ADA in October and November, 2013. Compl. ¶¶
31, 33. The denials of both complaints were expressly based
on plaintiffs assignment of medical classification code
"D." Compl. ¶¶ 32, 34. & Ex. 1 at p.
2. Nonetheless, plaintiff did not file this action until
December 3, 2014, over a year after he knew or had reason to