United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
E. Payne Senior United States District Judge.
Paul Villafana, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. §
1983 action. The matter is before the Court for
evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and
1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
dismiss the action for failure to state a claim for relief
and as legally frivolous.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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)). The second standard is the familiar
standard for a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 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) (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 plaintiff's 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).
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 Atl. 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, " rather than merely
"conceivable." Id. at 570. "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) . Therefore, 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)).
while the Court liberally construes pro se
complaints, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151
(4th Cir. 1978), it does not act as the inmate's
advocate, sua sponte developing statutory and constitutional
claims 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).
SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS AND CLAIMS
Memorandum Order entered on January 26, 2018, the Court
directed Villafana to file a particularized complaint because
the allegations in his original complaint failed to provide
each defendant with fair notice of the facts and legal basis
upon which his or her liability rests. See Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); (Mem.
Order 1-2, ECF No. 21.) Villafana has filed a Particularized
Complaint. (ECF No. 22.) In his Particularized Complaint,
Villafana states the following:
1. Jacques Paul Villafana (Mr. Villafana's) medical
records were sent to him from the Department of Veterans
Affairs in 2016, after he filed a disability claim with the
Department of Veteran Affairs. Upon receiving the medical
records, Lawrenceville Correctional Center's mail room
opened and searched Mr. Villafana's medical records
2. So, on October 14th, 2016, Mr. Villafana wrote to the
Defendant (the Director of the Department of Corrections)
informing him that the Virginia Department of Corrections
Operating Procedure 803.1(D), violated Mr. Villafana's
3. In his letter, Mr. Villafana also informed the Defendant
that Operating Procedure 803.1(D), which governs offender
correspondences, classifies correspondences from the
Department of Veteran Affairs - which is a federal
legislative office - as "special purpose correspondence,
" and is not given the privacy of legal mail.
4. Mr. Villafana went on to inform the Defendant that he had
the sole authority under Virginia Code § 53.1-53 to
prescribe reasonable rules regarding prisoner
correspondences, and requested that an amendment to Operating
Procedure 8 03.1(D) be made, which would alleviate Mr.
Villafana of the harm he suffered and any potential harm in
5. In response to Mr. Villafana's letter, Ms. Sherida
Davis-Brown (Correspondence Unit Manager) responded on
November 17th, 2016 and informed Mr. Villafana that he had to
utilize Operating Procedure 866.1: Offender Grievance
Procedure, if the issue was still a concern; and, the issue