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Prasad v. Hampton Circuit Court

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

May 31, 2018

SUNDARIK. PRASAD, Plaintiff,
v.
HAMPTON CIRCUIT COURT, et al., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          M. Hannah Lauck United States Judge

         Sundari K. Prasad, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The matter is before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         I. 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). 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).

          "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.'" BellAtl. 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 BellAtl. 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 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).

         II. Prasad's Complaint

         By Memorandum Order entered on October 17, 2017, the Court directed Prasad to file a particularized complaint. (ECF No. 14.) Prasad complied with that order. (ECF No. 16.) Thereafter, Prasad filed an Amended Particularized Complaint ("Complaint, " ECF No. 19).[2] As an initial matter, the Court notes that Prasad's Complaint is comprised of seventeen pages of rambling allegations and 220 pages of attached exhibits consisting of additional ramblings and copies of court documents, correspondence, and statutes. Further, in many instances, Prasad's Complaint and the attached exhibits are not legible. The Court makes its best attempt to decipher words and recites the most relevant factual information for each Defendant.

         Prasad is currently detained pending her trial in the Circuit Court for the City of Hampton, Virginia. Prasad alleges that the named Defendants[3] discriminated against her and violated her various constitutional rights during her detention and ongoing criminal proceedings, and during a previous family law matter in which she was involved. (Compl. 10-16). Prasad requests, inter alia, "attorney's fees and costs, and such additional relief as the Court may deem just and proper, " and "declaratory relief of all violations and injunctive relief as well on all parties." (Id. at 17.)

         III. Analysis

         It is both unnecessary and inappropriate to engage in an extended discussion of Prasad's theories for relief. 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))). Ultimately, Prasad's Complaint will be dismissed for failing to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and as legally frivolous.

         A. Judicial Immunity

         Prasad contends that Hampton Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Deborah Roe, Hampton General District Court Judge Patrick, and Hampton Circuit Court Judge Hutton violated her constitutional rights and her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). (Compl. 3-4, 8, 10, 13.)

         Judges are absolutely immune from suits under § 1983 for acts committed within their judicial discretion. Stump v. Sparkman,435 U.S. 349, 355-56 (1978). "Absolute judicial immunity exists 'because it is recognized that judicial officers in whom discretion is entrusted must be able to exercise discretion vigorously and effectively, without apprehension that they will be subjected to burdensome and vexatious litigation.'" Lesane v. Spencer, No. 3:09CV012, 2009 WL 4730716, at *2 (E.D. Va. Dec. 8, 2009) (citations omitted) (quoting McCray v. Maryland,456 F.2d 1, 3 (4th Cir. 1972), overruled on other grounds, Pink v. Lester,52 F.3d 73, 77 (4th Cir. 1995)). A judge is entitled to immunity even if "the action he [or she] took was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of his [or her] authority." Stump, 435 U.S. at 356. Only two exceptions apply to judicial immunity: (1) nonjudicial ...


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