United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
TERRY C. BRADLEY, Plaintiff,
L.L. SNIDOW, et al., Defendants.
Glen E. Conrad, Senior United States District Judge.
C. Bradley, proceeding pro se, commenced this action
by filing a form complaint for violation of civil rights
against seven individual defendants. The plaintiff has not
paid the filing fee but will be granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis for purposes of initial review of her
complaint. For the following reasons, the court concludes
that the case must be dismissed for failure to state a claim
and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and Federal Rule of Civil
following facts are taken from the complaint, the exhibits
attached thereto, and public records of state court
proceedings related to the case. See Goines v. Valley
Cmty. Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 166 (4th Cir. 2016)
(noting that the court may consider exhibits to a complaint
in assessing its sufficiency); Philips v. Pitt Cty. Mem.
Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009) (observing that
courts may take judicial notice of matters of public record
when reviewing a complaint).
2001, Bradley worked in the bookstore at Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University ("Virginia Tech").
On October 22, 2001, the director of the bookstore contacted
the Virginia Tech Police Department and reported that Bradley
had admitted to taking money from the store by crediting
merchandise returns to her personal check card. Sergeant L.L.
Snidow responded to the call. After meeting with bookstore
employees and reviewing evidence of the fraudulent
transactions, Snidow "allegedly" obtained an arrest
warrant charging Bradley with embezzlement, in violation of
Virginia Code § 18.2-111. Comp. 7, Dkt. No. 2; see
also Virginia Tech Police Department Confidential
Supplement, Dkt. No. 2-1 at 9. Officer F.M. Miano executed
the "alleged" arrest warrant at a magistrate's
office on October 26, 2001, Compl. 7. Bradley was released on
an unsecured bond.
Schwab, an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in
Montgomery County, prosecuted the case against Bradley. On
January 23, 2002, a grand jury returned an indictment
charging Bradley with embezzlement. Bradley entered a plea of
guilty on March 8, 2002. Montgomery County Circuit Court
Judge Ray Grubbs subsequently imposed a three-year suspended
sentence, five years of probation, 100 hours of community
service, restitution totaling $4, 304.78, and a fine and fees
totaling $855.00. Bradley signed a form acknowledging her
conditions of probation on March 18, 2002. At the time of her
guilty plea and sentencing, Bradley was represented by
fifteen years later, Bradley applied for a job with a public
school system in North Carolina. A background check revealed
that Bradley had a prior felony conviction for embezzlement.
As a result of the conviction, the school system declined to
then requested copies of the records from her criminal case
in Montgomery County. In December of 2017, Bradley filed a
petition requesting expungement of the records related to the
embezzlement charge. See Va. Code 19.2-392.2
(providing for potential expungement if a person is
"acquitted" of a charge "or the charge is
otherwise dismissed"). Assistant Commonwealth's
Attorney Patrick Jensen filed an objection to the petition.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Robert M. D. Turk
denied the petition on April 5, 2018. A subsequent petition
for appeal was denied by the Supreme Court of Virginia on
February 4, 2019.
April 19, 2019, Bradley filed the instant action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Snidow, Miano, Schwab, Judge
Grubbs, Kellerman, Jensen, and Judge Turk. In her form
complaint, Bradley alleges that the warrant for her arrest
was invalid and that certain defendants improperly relied
upon an unsigned copy of a plea agreement between Bradley and
the Commonwealth's Attorney of Montgomery County. Bradley
claims that "all of the defendants listed within took
actions under color of law, resulting in the violation of the
plaintiffs constitutional rights and deprivation of equal
protection, whether acting in concert or independently."
Compl. 9. More specifically, Bradley indicates that she is
asserting claims of false arrest, malicious prosecution,
false imprisonment, and denial of equal protection.
Id. at 3. She seeks to recover monetary damages in
the amount of $61, 000, 000, and "requests an order
granting expungement" of the records related to her
felony conviction. Id. at 10.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), which governs in forma
pauperis proceedings, the court has a mandatory duty to
screen initial filings. Eriline Co. S.A. v. Johnson,
440 F.3d 648, 656-57 (4th Cir. 2006). The court must dismiss
a case "at any time" if the court determines that
the complaint "fails to state a claim on which relief
may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The
standards for reviewing a complaint for dismissal under
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) are the same as those which apply
when a defendant moves for dismissal under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). De'Lonta v. Angelone,
330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003). Thus, in reviewing a
complaint under this statute, the court must accept all
well-pleaded factual allegations as true and view the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs.
Philips, 572 F.3d at 180. To survive dismissal for
failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient
factual allegations "to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level" and "to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007).
pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, the court "must dismiss" an action
"[i]f the court determines at any time that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
"[Q]uestions of subject-matter jurisdiction may be
raised at any point during the proceedings and may (or, more
precisely, must) be raised sua sponte by the court."
Brickwood Contractors. Inc. v. Datanet Eng'g.
Inc., 369 F.3d 385. 390 (4th Cir. 2004).
indicated above, Bradley filed a form complaint designated
for pro se plaintiffs who wish to pursue a claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 provides a cause of action
against any person who, under color of state law, causes the
deprivation of another person's rights under the
Constitution or laws of the United States. 42 U.S.C. §
1983. For the following reasons, the court concludes that ...