United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
JOHN A. BRYANT, JR., Plaintiff,
TAYLOR B. STONE, Defendant.
E. Payne Senior United States District Judge
Bryant, Jr., a federal inmate proceeding pro se and
in forma pauperis, has filed this diversity action.
The matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss filed
by Taylor B. Stone. (ECF No. 84.) For the reasons set forth
below, the Motion to Dismiss will be granted.
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); 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).
Bryant's Criminal Proceedings
Court's records reflect that:
On October 6, 2009, Bryant was charged in a three count
indictment with conspiracy to distribute and possess with
intent to distribute fifty grams or more of cocaine base
(Count One), distribution of cocaine base (Count Two) and
possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of
cocaine base (Count Three. (Indictment 1-2, ECF No. 1.)
On September 2, 2010, Bryant was charged in a criminal
information with conspiracy to distribute and possess with
intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base.
(Criminal Information 1, ECF No. 16.) On that same day,
Bryant agreed to plead guilty to the above charge. The Plea
Agreement advised Bryant that he faced a sentence of between
five and forty years of imprisonment. (Plea Agreement 1, ECF
20.) As part of the Plea Agreement, Bryant stipulated that
had the matter proceeded to trial, the United States could
have proven the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. Starting in early 2005 and continuing through August 14,
2009, . . . JOHN BRYANT conspired with others to distribute
and possess with the intent to distribute more than 5 grams
of cocaine base. In furtherance of this conspiracy, JOHN
BRYANT would obtain wholesale quantities of cocaine base in
weights ranging from one to four and a half ounces, which he
would break down into smaller quantities and distribute to
users and low-level dealers of crack cocaine. During the
course of the conspiracy, JOHN BRYANT distributed over 500
grams but less than 1.5 kilograms of cocaine base, commonly
known as "crack." 2. On or about July 30, 2009,
JOHN BRYANT distributed 0.246 gram [sic] of cocaine base,
commonly known as "crack," to a person secretly
working for law enforcement.
(Statement of Facts 1, ECF No. 21.)
United States v. Bryant, No. 3:09CR347, 2015 WL
13450972, at *2 (E.D. Va. Mar. 3, 2015), aff'd,
620 Fed.Appx. 168 (4th Cir. 2015) . "On February 4,
2011, the Court sentenced Bryant to 169 months of
imprisonment." Id. at *3. By Memorandum Opinion
and Order entered on March 3, 2015, the Court denied a 28
U.S.C. § 2255 motion filed by Bryant challenging the
above conviction and sentence. Id. at *10.