United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Harrisonburg Division
LEO R. MADDOX, Plaintiff,
STATE OF DELAWARE, et al., Defendants.
Michael F. Urbanski Chief United States District Judge.
pro se. plaintiff Leo R. Maddox filed the instant
Complaint (the "Complaint" of "Compl."),
ECF No. 2. In the accompanying order entered with this
memorandum opinion, the court will grant Maddox leave to
proceed in forma pauperis due to his indigence.
After reviewing the Complaint, the court concludes that the
action must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)-(2).
28 U.S.C. § 1915, district courts have a duty to screen
initial filings and dismiss a complaint filed in forma
pauperis "at any time if the court determines that.
. . the action ... is frivolous or malicious ... [or] fails
to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii); see also Eriline Co.
S.A. v. Johnson, 440 F.3d 648, 656 (4th Cir. 2006)
(internal quotations omitted) ("[Section] 1915 permits
district courts to independently assess the merits of in
forma pauperis complaints, and to exclude suits that
have no arguable basis in law or fact.").
court construes pro se complaints liberally,
imposing "less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976)). Nonetheless, "a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
'state a claim of relief that is plausible on its
face."' Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
not the first time that Maddox has raised nearly identical
claims in front of this court. See Complaint, Maddox v.
Brown (W.D. Va. 5:17-cv-00010), ECF No. 2; Complaint,
Maddox v. Brown (Maddox II) (W.D. Va.
5:17-cv-00055), ECF No. 2. In the Report and Recommendation
in Maddox II. the magistrate judge wrote:
It is worth noting at the outset that Maddox's filings
are "so riddled with various grammatical and syntactical
errors," Cadmus v. Williamson, No. 5;l5cv45,
2016 WL 1047087, at *11 (W.D. Va. Mar. 10, 2016), and contain
so many conclusory, often unintelligible statements that it
is almost impossible "to determine precisely the nature
of the complaint and the relief requested" against each
named defendant, Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775
F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985). Those "errors are only
compounded by [his] 'kitchen sink' approach to
pleading and his failure to make clear what specific conduct
and parties are encompassed in each
count." Cadmus, 2016 WL 1047087, at *11.
What is very clear, however, is that Maddox is convinced he
was not legally a "felon" when Delaware charged him
with the firearms offenses and he believes that the
Defendants "conspired" to arrest, prosecute, and
convict him on those "false" or
"fraudulent" charges in violation of a whole host
of his federal constitutional rights.
R&R ("Maddox II R&R") at 3-4,
Maddox II. ECF No. 42 (alterations and footnote in
original) (docket citations omitted). The same situation
fully applies to this Complaint.
names the State of Delaware, the Dover Police Department (the
"DPD"), and the Law Firm of Patrick J. Collins
("Collins Law" and collectively
"Defendants"). As far as the court can gather,
Maddox raises myriad claims against Defendants, including
claims arising out of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to
the U.S. Constitution, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Titles VI and
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, federal antitrust and
RICO statutes, and the Securities Act of 1933.
Complaint fails to establish jurisdiction over any of the
defendants, mandating dismissal. The Eleventh Amendment
divests the court of jurisdiction to hear the claims against
the State of Delaware. See U.S. Const, amend. XI;
Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 54
(1996). Because federal courts lack jurisdiction to hear
cases against the State of Delaware, the court will dismiss
the claims against the State of Delaware with prejudice.
does Maddox plead facts sufficient to establish personal
jurisdiction over the DPD or Collins. A court may only
exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant
if "(1) the exercise of jurisdiction [is] authorized
under the state's long-arm statute; and (2) the exercise
of jurisdiction comport[s] with the due process requirements
of the Fourteenth Amendment." Carefirst of Md., Inc.
v. Carefirst Pregnancy Ctrs., 334 F.3d 390, 396 (4th
Cir. 2003). The Virginia long-arm statute "extend[s]
jurisdiction to the extent permissible under the due process
clause." English & Smith v. Metzger, 901
F.2d 36, 38 (4th Cir. 1990).
Report & Recommendation in Maddox II aptly
The Supreme Court has "recognized two types of personal
jurisdiction: 'general' (sometimes called
'all-purpose') jurisdiction and 'specific'
(sometimes called 'case-linked') jurisdiction."
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Supr. Ct. of Cal., San
Francisco Cty., 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1779-80 (2017) (quoting
Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations. SA. v. Brown, 564
U.S. 915, 919 (2011)). "A court with general
jurisdiction may hear any claim against that
defendant, even if all the incidents underlying the claim
occurred in a different State." Id. at 1780.
General personal jurisdiction lies when the defendant has
purposefully established "continuous and
systematic" contact with the forum state,
Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 919, such as when an
individual lives or resides there, Bristol-Myers
Squibb, 137 S.Ct. at 1780. See J. Mclntyre Mach.,
Ltd. v. Nicastro, 564 U.S. 873, 880 (2011).
"Specific jurisdiction is very different."
Bristol-Myers Squibb, 137 S.Ct. at 1780. For a court
to "exercise specific jurisdiction, the suit
must arise out of or relate to the defendant's contacts
with the forum." Id. (cleaned up). Put
differently, "there must be 'an affiliation between
the forum and the underlying controversy, principally, [an]
activity or an occurrence that takes place in the forum
State."' Id. at 1781 (quoting
Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 919).
Maddox II R&R 20.
the same facts as Maddox proffered in Maddox II, the
court held that it could not exercise personal jurisdiction
over Patrick J. Collins (the attorney who represented Maddox
in the underlying Delaware criminal action and presumably the
principal of Collins Law) and several officers of the DPD.
Id. at 20-21. Even construing the Complaint
liberally, as the court must, the Complaint alleges no facts
suggesting that Collins Law or the DPD has purposely
established "continuous and systematic" contact
with Virginia, or that any of Collins Law's or the
DPD's purported wrongful acts arose ...