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Harrison v. Gregg

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

June 13, 2019

EARLANDO HARRISON, Plaintiff,
v.
ARTISHA GREGG, et al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION (DISMISSING WITH PREJUDICE 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ACTION)

          HENRY E. HUDSON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Earlando Harrison, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. By Memorandum Order entered on May 21, 2019, the Court directed Harrison to file a particularized complaint within fourteen (14) days of the date of entry thereof. Harrison filed his Particularized Complaint. (ECF No. 12.) The matter is before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         I. PRELIMINARY REVIEW

         Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") this Court must dismiss any action filed by a prisoner if the Court determines 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 also 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The first standard includes claims premised upon "'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 analyzed under the familiar requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

         "A 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 o/ N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (citing 5A 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).

         The 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.'" Bell Atl. 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 Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). Lastly, while the Court liberally construes pro se complaints, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), it will not act as the inmate's advocate and develop, sua sponte, 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); see also Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

         II. SUMMARY OF ALLEGATIONS

         Harrison alleges that Commonwealth's Attorney Artisha Gregg and Detective Timothy Forbes committed various errors during his criminal prosecution.[1] Specifically, Harrison contends that:

Claim One: Defendant Gregg engaged in a malicious prosecution of Harrison due to the absence of evidence to support the charges. (Part Compl. 1-4.)
Claim Two: "[A]fter a conviction was procured ... the plaintiff came into possession of corroborating evidence (a notarized affidavit written by the alleged victim/accuser) that provided that the plaintiff was a victim of extrinsic fraud and actually innocent" but (a) Defendant Gregg and (b) Defendant Forbes ignored this evidence. (Id. at 3-4.)[2]
Claim Three: On September 17, 2014, Detective Forbes falsely arrested him and used "an impermissibly suggestive identification procedure as the only evidence of probable cause to obtain a warrant for [his] arrest." (Id. at 2.)

         Harrison demands punitive damages in the amount of $250, 000 from each defendant. For the reasons stated below, Harrison's Particularized Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and as frivolous and malicious.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. ...


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