United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
JEROME F. COLEMAN, Plaintiff,
FRANCES M. FOUNTAIN, Defendant.
E. Payne Senior United States District Judge.
F. Coleman, 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
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). 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).
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, " 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); lodice 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 or her
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).
Memorandum Order entered on March 12, 2018, the Court advised
Coleman that his complaint failed to identify a particular
constitutional right that was violated by a nonimmune
defendant's conduct. (ECF No. 20, at 2.) The Court then
directed Coleman to file a particularized complaint.
(Id.) Coleman filed his Particularized Complaint.
(ECF No. 22.)
Particularized Complaint, Coleman has named Frances M.
Fountain, Clerk of the General District Court of Sussex,
Virginia,  and Doris Worley, Deputy Clerk, as
Defendants. (See Part. Compl. 6.) Coleman alleges as follows:
November 11, 2014, [Coleman] wrote a letter address[ed] to
Mrs, Francis M. Fountain ... to ask two questions:
If [the] Court has jurisdiction to hear a warrant in detinue
If bond if required? Also, [Coleman] stated [he had] no job,
no money to pay for service of warrant.
On or about December 2014, Mrs. Fountain answered and said,
''Can file, no bond necessary in detinue cases. Must
file in forma pauperis." On May 3, 2015, [Coleman] filed
a warrant in detinue with 12 months accounting statements as
requested by Mrs. Fountain, Clerk of the Court. [Coleman]
filed in forma pauperis with statements.
On May 27, 2015, Mrs. Doris Worley, Deputy Clerk, answered
[Coleman's] letter and said [Coleman] would have to pay
$56.00 for service of warrant, ...