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 motions to
dismiss brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
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 a
court must view the complaint 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.'" 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,
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, SI A
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).
Complaint (ECF No. 1) contains a terse and disjointed
statement of his claim against Mufeed W. Said, a defense
attorney who represented Daniels during his criminal
proceedings. (Id. at 2.) Daniels labels his claim as
brought pursuant to "[t]he 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments
to the U.S. Constitution" (id. at 3) and states as
The plaintiffs attorney (Mr. Said) failed to file a quash
motion when evidence was strongly supported by facts and laws
in my case. Defendant (Mr. Said) was my attorney and failed
to file a motion with evidence given to him on June 1, 2018
to the courts on several dates. Showing no integrity and
reckless disregard of the truth of the plaintiffs
constitutional rights, also statutes and laws in Richmond
(Id. at 4.) In an attachment labeled "Claim
Attachment 1 A, " Daniels continues the claim, and
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.)
(Id. at 5.) Many pages later, Daniels also contends
that "the defendant failed to perform Virginia Defense
Commission Standard of Practice for Indigent Counsel"
and failed to investigate certain alleged evidence.
(Id. at 24.)
state a viable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff
must allege that a person acting under color of state law
deprived him or her of a constitutional right or of a right
conferred by a law of the United States. See Dowe v.
Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke Valley, 145 F.3d
653, 658 (4th Cir. 1998) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 1983).
Here, the Court deems 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 ...