United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
PRIEST MOMOLU V.S. SIRLEAF, JR., Plaintiff,
RALPH NORTHAM, et al., Defendants.
E. Payne, Senior United States District Judge.
Momolu V.S. Sirleaf, Jr., a Virginia inmate proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action and
Bivens. The action proceeds on the PARTICULARIZED
COMPLAINT FOR CONSPIRACY TO DEPRIVE OF EQUAL PROTECTION.
(``Particularized Complaint," ECF No. 23.) The matter is
before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A. As discussed below, the
action will be dismissed 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 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 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 plaintiff's 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
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). In order for a claim or
complaint to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim,
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).
a frequent litigant in this Court, has a tendency to refuse
to follow the directives of the Court. This case is no
exception. The initial Complaint was transferred here
from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Virginia. (ECF No. 2.) The Complaint was
seventy-five, rambling pages naming every federal and state
official who Sirleaf perceives has wronged him either
directly or indirectly during his criminal proceedings and
subsequent incarceration. By Memorandum Order entered on July
2, 2019, the Court directed Sirleaf to file a particularized
complaint. The Memorandum Order explained as follows:
As a preliminary matter, the Complaint in this action fails
to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). That
(a) Claim for Relief. A pleading that states a claim for
relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the
court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has
jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief; and
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may-include relief
in the alternative or ...