United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
Hannah Lauck United States District Judge
Derrick Daniels, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis, filed this civil action. For
the reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss the action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A as
frivolous and for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted.
to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), this
Court must dismiss any action filed by a prisoner if the
Court determines that the action (1) "is frivolous"
or (2) "fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. The first standard includes claims based
upon "an indisputably meritless legal theory," or
claims where the "factual contentions are clearly
baseless." Clay v. Yates, 809 F.Supp. 417, 427
(E.D. Va. 1992) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 327 (1989)). The second standard is the familiar
standard for a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
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 5 A
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 plaintiffs 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.'" BellAtl. 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 BellAtl.
Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In order for a claim or
complaint to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim,
therefore, 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 does not act as the inmate's
advocate, sua sponte developing statutory and
constitutional claims 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).
Amended Complaint contains a terse and disjointed statement
of his claim against Katherine E. Groover, an Assistant
Commonwealth's Attorney in the City of Richmond. (Am.
Compl. 2, ECF No. 5.) He labels his claim as "Defective
Process & Misconduct" and states as
Mrs. Katherine Groover specified on Sept. 7, 2018, that she
received a letter that was from the plaintiff. Due to the
facts, Mrs. Katherine Groover did not inform the court of the
evidence that was in the letter (registration of vehicle)
clearly shows another party name. The defendant caused the
plaintiff to be further detained.
(Id. at 4.) Later, in an attachment labeled
"Claim Attachment 1 A," Daniels states:
The Plaintiff is now on lawyer #4. The facts of perjury by
Ms. Cheatham in preliminary statement areas follows,
"she said it was my car." This is my date of arrest
10/14/17 for expired registered vehicle tags. The car is
registered to Ms. Cheatham. I have been convicted on these
charges in Henrico Traffic Court. The 4 people in the
courtroom support the fact of perjury against Ms. Cheatham:
1. Judge 2. Police Officer 3. Court Clerk 4. Lawyer from
Henrico Traffic Court. (Have tickets.)
(ECF No. 5-1, at 1.) Daniels requests monetary damages of
$400, 000. (Compl. 4.)
Court finds it both unnecessary and inappropriate to engage
in an extended discussion of the lack of merit of
Daniels's theory for relief. See Cochran v.
Morris,73 F.3d 1310, 1315 (4th Cir. 1996) (emphasizing
that "abbreviated treatment" is consistent with
Congress's vision for the disposition of frivolous or