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Lunsford v. Wythe CTY. Sheriff

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

February 19, 2019

ANTONIO LUNSFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
WYTHE CTY. SHERIFF, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge

         Antonio Lunsford, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] The matter before the court is the motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Superintendent Winston, Dr. Moses, Lisa Ferguson, [2] and the Medical Department.

         I.

         In Plaintiffs amended complaint, he asserts that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated by improper medical treatment[3] and unsafe living conditions.[4] The Defendants moved to dismiss, asserting that Plaintiff failed to allege their personal involvement. Plaintiff responded, and Defendants filed a reply, making this matter ripe for disposition. After reviewing the record, I will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss.

         II. Standards of Review A. 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

         Defendants argue that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

         A 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. Twomblv. 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. Iqbak 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         A court 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.

         B. Pro Se Pleadings

         The plaintiffis 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.").

         C. 42 U.S.C. § 1983

         "To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Notably, a plaintiff must sufficiently allege a defendant's personal act or omission leading to a deprivation of a federal right. See Fisher v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Author., 690 F.2d 1133, 1142-43 (4th Cir. 1982), abrogated on other grounds by Cry, of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44(1991). Negligent deprivations are not actionable under § 1983. See, e.g., Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330 (1986); Pink v. Lester, 52 F.3d 73, 77 (4th Cir. 1995).

         III. Discussion

         In his amended complaint, Plaintiff does not allege personal involvement on behalf of any defendant. In fact, he only mentions Defendants in the case caption. Although a complaint need only provide "a short, plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," Plaintiff fails to allege any claim against any defendant that would entitle him to relief under § 1983. See Bass v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.. 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003) ("While a plaintiff is not charged with pleading facts sufficient to prove her case, as an evidentiary matter, in her ...


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