United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. GIBNEY. JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Henry Simpson, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis filed this 42 U.S.C. §
1983 action. By Memorandum Order entered on April 20, 2018,
the Court directed Plaintiff to file a Particularized
Complaint. (ECF No. 9.) Plaintiff filed a Particularized
Complaint. (ECF No. 10.) The matter is now before the Court
for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)
and 1915A. As discussed below, Simpson's claims and the
action will be dismissed as moot.
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 o/ 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).
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 All. 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 All.
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).
SIMPSON'S CLAIM FOR RELIEF IS MOOT
was arrested on November 29, 2016 and a jury sitting in the
Circuit Court for the City of Richmond convicted him of
possession with intent to distribute heroin and possession of
a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on
September 29, 2017. In a lengthy and rambling Particularized
Complaint, Simpson alleges that the named
Defendants committed various errors related to his
criminal investigation and criminal proceedings. (Part.
Compl. 1-22.) As his only relief, Simpson demands
injunctive relief in the form of moving his "entire
state case to the federal courts to ensure that I receive a
fair trial." (Id. at 22.)
the requirement of a continuing case or controversy stems
from the Constitution, it may not be ignored for
convenience's sake." Incumaa v. Ozmint, 507
F.3d 281, 286 (4th Cir. 2007) (citing United States v.
Alaska S.S. Co., 253 U.S. 113, 116 (1920)).
"[F]ederal courts have 'no authority to give
opinions upon moot questions or abstract propositions, or to
declare principles or rules of law which cannot affect the
matter in issue in the case before it.'"
Id. (quoting Church of Scientology of Cal. v.
United States, 506 U.S. 9, 12 (1992)). In this regard,
"[t]he requisite personal interest that must exist at
the commencement of the litigation . .. must continue
throughout its existence." Id. (omission in
original) (quoting Arizonam sfor Official English v.
Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 68 n.22 (1997)). The record
establishes that Simpson had been tried, convicted, and
sentenced by the time he initiated this civil action. See
supra n.l. Thus, the requested relief Simpson seeks, in
the form of moving his "entire state case to the
federal courts to ensure that I receive a fair trial"
(Part. Compl. 22), can no longer be given. See
Martin-Trigona v. Shiff, 702 F.2d 380, 386 (2d Cir.
1983) ("The hallmark of a moot case or controversy is
that the relief sought can no longer be given or is no longer
needed.") Thus, Simpson's claim for injunctive
relief and the action is moot. Accordingly, the action will
be DISMISSED as MOOT.
foregoing reasons, Simpson's claim for injunctive relief
and the action will be DISMISSED AS MOOT. Plaintiffs Motions
to Object to the Content of Transcripts (ECF Nos. 11, 13)
will be DENIED.
appropriate Order will accompany this Memorandum Opinion.