United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge
Lunsford, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed a civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The matter before the court is the motion
to dismiss filed by Defendant Wythe County Sheriff.
Plaintiffs amended complaint, he asserts that his Eighth
Amendment rights were violated by improper medical treatment
and unsafe living conditions. Defendant moved to dismiss,
asserting that Plaintiff failed to allege personal
involvement. Plaintiff responded, and Defendant filed a
reply, making this matter ripe for disposition. After
reviewing the record, I will grant Defendant's motion to
Standards of Review
asserts that the complaint lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
Under Rule 12(b)(1), if a court determines that it does not
have subject matter jurisdiction over the case or
controversy, it must dismiss the action. See Arbaugh v. Y
& H Corp.. 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006). The Eleventh
Amendment affords sovereign immunity to the states against
suits for damages in federal court. See Bland v.
Roberts, 730 F.3d 368, 389 (4th Cir. 2013). A finding of
sovereign immunity precludes federal courts from exercising
subject matter jurisdiction. Hendy v. Bello, 555
Fed.Appx. 224, 226 (4th Cir. 2014). A suit against a
government officer in his official capacity is considered
"a suit against the official's office," and so
officers acting within their authority generally also receive
sovereign immunity. Will v. Mich. Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
also argues that the complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
complaint need only contain "a short, plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). When evaluating a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a
court must accept as true all well-pleaded allegations.
See Vitol, S.A. v. Primerose Shipping Co., 708 F.3d
527, 539 (4th Cir. 2013); see also Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). "While a complaint
attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiffs obligation to
provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not do."
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly. 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). Stated differently, to survive a motion to dismiss,
"a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
need not "accept the legal conclusions drawn from the
facts" or "accept as true unwarranted inferences,
unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." E. Shore
Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. Ltd. P'ship. 213 F.3d
175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). "Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level," Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, with all
allegations in the complaint taken as true and all reasonable
inferences drawn in the plaintiffs favor, Chao v.
Rivendell Woods. Inc., 415 F.3d 342, 346 (4th Cir.
2005). Rule 12(b)(6) does "not require heightened fact
pleading of specifics, but only enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face."
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Making the plausibility
determination is "a context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense." Iqbal 556 U.S. at 679.
Pro Se Pleadings
plaintiff is proceeding pro se and, thus, entitled to a
liberal construction of the pleading. See, e.g.,
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 90-95. However,
"principles requiring generous construction of
pro se complaints are not. . . without limits."
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278
(4th Cir. 1985). The Fourth Circuit has explained that
"though pro se litigants cannot, of course, be expected
to frame legal issues with the clarity and precision ideally
evident in the work of those trained in law, neither can
district courts be required to conjure up and decide issues
never fairly presented to them." Id., at 1276; see
Kalderon v. Finkelstein, No. 08 Civ 9440, 2010 WL
3359473, at *1 n.l (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 24, 2010) ("Plaintiffs
complaint belongs to the everything-but-the-kitchen sink
school of thought." "The complaint is extremely
difficult to follow because of its extreme length and
purported factual detail. The factual allegations are often
repetitive, inconsistent, and contradicted by documents
referenced in the complaint.").