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Andrews v. Taylor

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

May 7, 2018

FREDERICK J. ANDREWS, Plaintiff,
v.
VICTOR L. TAYLOR, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Robert E. Payne Senior United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Social Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement ("DCSE")'s MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF No. 9) and the Chesterfield County Jail ("the Chesterfield Jail")'s MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF No. 14) . For the following reasons, the motions will be granted but the dismissal shall be without prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         In this action, Plaintiff Frederick J. Andrews, proceeding pro se, sues the Virginia DCSE and the Chesterfield Jail on claims arising out of Virginia child custody and support proceedings. Defendants move to dismiss the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 5) with prejudice.

         I. Andrews' Factual Allegations

         Andrews alleges a variety of harms stemming from child custody and support proceedings. Andrews mainly claims that these proceedings did not afford proper due process in revoking his parental rights, granting custody to others, and imposing child support obligations.

         Andrews also asserts that he was harmed in other ways apparently related to these proceedings. He contends that he received sentences of incarceration in the Chesterfield County Jail and the Richmond City Jail and that he was fined on one occasion. Additionally, he avers that the DCSE and the Chesterfield County Sheriff's office "carried out an abuse of process against [him] and/or malicious prosecution by servicing a bad address" and that the "Richmond City Sheriff s Department carried out an abuse of process by servicing a subpoena" at a certain address. He also sets forth a lengthy list of injuries that he claims to have suffered as a result of the conduct of Defendants and others, such as: pain and suffering, suspension of his commercial driver's license, the loss of his apartment and memorabilia, being placed at risk of stroke or heart attack, the repossession of his vehicle, emotional distress, 18 years of bad credit, and being rendered unable to attend family events.

         The Amended Complaint concludes by asserting that "historically the [DCSE], DCSE business partners- local courts in Richmond, Virginia, Chesterfield & Henrico County, local sheriff's offices and Judges Surrogates have been bias [sic] and consistent with violating [his] constitutional rights."

         II. Andrews' Claims & Prayer for Relief

         After reviewing the Amended Complaint and Andrews' numerous (and often incomprehensible) filings, the Court concludes that Andrews seeks to assert a federal 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim challenging, on due process grounds, the child custody and support proceedings, certain Virginia state statutes related to child custody and support, and his treatment by Defendants more generally. Additionally, although Andrews indicated in the Amended Complaint that the basis for jurisdiction is federal question, not diversity, he appears to raise state law claims, such as abuse of process and malicious prosecution.[1]

         Andrews seeks as relief "that all DCSE cases be voided, debts removed, drivers license reinstated, punitive damages and monies paid to DCSE/Treasurer of Virginia refunded immediately." He enumerates actual damages, describes "Personal, Emotional, Family & Health Damages, " and provides a calculation of punitive damages.

         III. Procedural History

         Andrews filed the initial Complaint on August 1, 2017. It named ten defendants, including judges and sheriffs, as well as administrative agencies. By ORDER (ECF No. 2), the Court advised Andrews to file a complaint that did not proceed against the Richmond Sheriff and the judges, and otherwise "to assess what, if any claim, he may genuinely have against someone other than the judges and the Sheriff." The Amended Complaint named the Virginia DCSE, the Richmond City Jail, and the Chesterfield County Jail as defendants. DCSE and the Chesterfield Jail then filed their motions to dismiss.

         THE FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b) (1) & 12(b) (6) STANDARDS

         DCSE seeks to dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), and the Chesterfield Jail seeks to do so under Rule 12(b) (6). Def. DCSE's Br. 1; Def. Chesterfield Jail's Br. 1.

         The principles governing Rule 12(b)(1) are well established:

A party may file a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). If a court finds that it does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the case or controversy, it must dismiss the action. Of course, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that federal jurisdiction is proper.
Challenges to subject matter jurisdiction may be made in two ways. First, a facial challenge to jurisdiction may be made by arguing that the complaint does not allege facts that permit the exercise of federal subject matter jurisdiction. If that type of challenge is raised, the court must assume that all facts alleged in the complaint are true. Second, the challenge can be made under the theory that the complaint's assertion of subject matter jurisdiction is not true. In that event, a court may consider evidence outside the pleadings.

Rashad v. Jenkins, 3:15-cv-655, 2016 WL 901279, at *3-4 (E.D. Va. Mar. 3, 2016) (citations omitted).

         Rule 12(b)(6) motions are evaluated under the following standards:

To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must "provide 'enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" "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." A court "will accept the pleader's description of what happened . . . along with any conclusions that can be reasonably drawn therefrom, " but "need not accept conclusory allegations encompassing the legal effects of the pleaded facts." "[Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)] and [Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)] also made clear that the analytical approach for evaluating Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss requires courts to reject conclusory allegations that amount to mere formulaic recitation of ...

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