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Bradley v. Snidow

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

May 31, 2019

TERRY C. BRADLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
L.L. SNIDOW, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge.

         Terry C. Bradley, proceeding pro se, commenced this action by filing a form complaint against the Virginia Tech Police Department and two 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, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         Background

         The following factual allegations are taken from the complaint and the attached exhibits. 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).

         In 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. Based on the information provided, Sergeant L.L. Snidow and Officer F.M. Miano "allegedly obtained a valid warrant to arrest the plaintiff." Compl. 4, Dkt. No. 2. However, the plaintiff claims that "no valid arrest warrant was obtained," and that what was identified as an arrest warrant was actually a Virginia Uniform Summons. Id.; see also Compl. Ex. 1, Dkt. No. 2-1.

         On January 23, 2002, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Bradley with embezzlement. Montgomery County Circuit Court records indicate that Bradley entered a plea of guilty on March 8, 2002, and that the presiding judge imposed a three-year suspended sentence, three years of supervised probation, and a fine and fees totaling $855.00. Bradley signed a form acknowledging her conditions of probation on March 18, 2002.

         Approximately 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 hire Bradley.

         Bradley subsequently filed a petition requesting expungement of the records related to the embezzlement charge. The petition was denied by the Circuit Court on April 5, 2018. A subsequent petition for appeal was denied by the Supreme Court of Virginia on February 4, 2019.

         On May 9, 2019, Bradley filed the instant action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Snidow, Miano, and the Virginia Tech Police Department. [*] Bradley claims that the defendants violated her constitutional rights to equal protection and due process by arresting her "based on falsified documentation" and "representing such as a valid warrant." Compl. at 4. She seeks to recover monetary damages in the amount of $123, 000, 000. Id. at 5.

         Standard of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), which governs in forma pauperis proceedings, the court has a mandatory duty to screen initial filings. Eriline Co. SA. 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); see also Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007) ("A complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim if the allegations, taken as true, show the plaintiff is not entitled to relief. If the allegations, for example, show that relief is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, the complaint is subject to dismissal....").

         Discussion

         As 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 the plaintiffs complaint fails to state a plausible claim under § 1983 against any of the named defendants.

         I. Claims against the Virginia Tech ...


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