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Saub v. Potter

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

May 4, 2018

ERIC B. SAUB, Plaintiff,
v.
THOMAS POTTER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          John A. Gibney Jr. United States District Judge.

         Eric B. Saub, a Virginia pretrial detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The action proceeds on Saub's Complaint. (ECF No. 1.) The matter is before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND OUTSTANDING MOTIONS

         Saub is currently detained pending his trial in the Circuit Court for the Isle of Wight County, Virginia for first-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit murder, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.[2] By Memorandum Opinion and Order entered on May 1, 2017, this Court dismissed a similar action against similar defendants who are involved in his criminal investigation and proceedings. Saub v. Phillips, No. 3:16CV414, 2017 WL 1658831, at *l-9 (E.D. Va. May 1, 2017). The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed. Saub v. Phillips, 699 Fed.Appx. 179 (4th Cir. 2017). Since that time, Saub has filed more than one action again naming those persons involved with his criminal prosecution. Because the Court has already explained at great length why Saub's action must be dismissed, the Court will not expend significant time repeating itself. See Cochran v. Morris, 73 F.3d 1310, 1315 (4th Cir. 1996) (emphasizing that "abbreviated treatment" is consistent with Congress's vision for the disposition of frivolous or "insubstantial claims" (citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989))).

         By Memorandum Order entered on February 6, 2018, the Court directed Saub to file a particularized complaint that provided defendants with fair notice of the facts and legal basis upon which his or her liability rested and that comported with joinder requirements. (ECF No. 10.) Since that date, the Court has provided Saub with two thirty-day extensions of time in which to file his particularized complaint. In the Memorandum Order entered on March 28, 2018, the Court warned Saub that no further extensions would be granted. (ECF No. 15.) Despite this admonition, on April 30, 2018, the Court received yet another request for a thirty-day extension of time until after his trial. (ECF No. 16.) Because the Court explained to Saub that it would provide no further extensions, and because the majority of his claims have already been addressed by this Court, the Motion for Extension of Time (ECF No. 16) will be DENIED.

         Saub also submitted a Motion to Seal (ECF No. 9) certain police reports that he submitted with his Complaint. As Saub submitted these documents upon his own initiative, and because he offers no persuasive reason to seal them, his Motion to Seal (ECF No. 9) will be DENIED.

         II. PRELIMINARY REVIEW

         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)). 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 5 A 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 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, " 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).

         III. SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         As explained above, Saub is currently detained pending his trial in the Circuit Court for the Isle of Wight County, Virginia ("Circuit Court") for first-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit murder, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to Saub, his trial for the foregoing charges was set to begin on April 30, 2018. In a lengthy and rambling Complaint, Saub alleges that the named Defendants[3] committed various errors related to his criminal investigation and proceedings.[4] Saub raises 24 claims for relief, all of which are extremely repetitive. Given the repetitive nature of Saub's claims, and for the goal of orderly disposition, the Court groups them together either by type of claim or by the Defendants named in the claim.

         Saub demands, inter alia, all legal costs, compensatory and punitive damages from each Defendant, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and payment for the value of all of his seized property. (Id. at 25-29.) As explained below, Saub's Complaint will be DISMISSED.

         IV. ...


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