United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
K. Moon Senior United States District Judge
Meyers, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se,
commenced this civil action as a “petition for writ of
mandamus.” Meyers is a three-striker who has had many
cases dismissed as frivolous and/or malicious, and a
pre-filing injunction against him is currently in effect in
this court. See Meyers v. Roanoke U.S. Attorney, No.
7:19cv573, Dkt. No. 10 (September 6, 2019 Order and
Injunction). Because this case was filed prior to entry of
that injunction, however, I do not treat his petition as
governed by it. I instead conclude that the claims his
petition is frivolous and will dismiss it on that ground.
petition, Meyers names seven respondents. (Pet. 1, Dkt. No.
1.) Four of them are federal officers or agencies
(collectively “Federal Respondents”): 1) the U.S.
Marshal's Service; 2) Roanoke U.S. Attorney; 3) Kevin
Krebs, Assistant Director for the Executive Office for U.S.
Attorney; and 4) Thomas T. Cullen, U.S. Attorney for the
Western District of Virginia. The other three are state
officials (collectively “State Respondents”): 1)
Carl Manis, the Warden of Wallens Ridge State Prison
(“WRSP”), where Meyers is currently incarcerated;
2) B. Ravizee, who Meyers alleges “makes death threats
to [him] and threats to place him on grievance restrictions,
” (Dkt. No. 1 at 2); and 3) M. Vanhuss, who is not
identified in the petition as having taken any particular
action, but based on an attachment is identified as a
grievance coordinator at WRSP.
factual section of his petition, Meyers reiterates numerous
claims that he has raised in other lawsuits before this
court. For purposes of this order, it is not necessary to
relief, Meyers asks the court to enter an order compelling
the named respondents to give him showers and recreation
“without being chained to chairs in a pod” and he
wants a protective order against Manis and other individuals
who are not named as Respondents. (Pet. 2.) As to the Federal
Respondents, he asks the court to compel them to transfer him
from WRSP for his safety.
petition is dismissed as frivolous because mandamus cannot
provide the relief Meyers seeks. First of all, with regard to
the State Respondents, mandamus cannot issue to enjoin state
officials. See 28 U.S.C. § 1361; AT & T
Wireless PCS, Inc. v. Winston-Salem Zoning Bd. of
Adjustment, 172 F.3d 307, 312 n.3 (4th Cir. 1999).
regard to the Federal Respondents, and as the Fourth Circuit
has explained, “[a] writ of mandamus will not issue to
compel an act involving the exercise of judgment and
discretion.” Cent. S.C. Chapter, Soc. of Prof'l
Journalists, 551 F.2d 559, 562 (4th Cir. 1977). Instead,
mandamus will issue “only where the duty to be
performed is ministerial and the obligation to act peremptory
and plainly defined. The law must not only authorize the
demanded action, but require it; the duty must be clear and
in the law demands any of the Federal Respondents order
Meyers' transfer from one Virginia Department of
Corrections (“VDOC”) facility to another. The
fact that Meyers claims there is a federal detainer lodged
against him does not mean that the federal respondents can
dictate his placement while he is in the custody of VDOC.
Instead, the placement decision is squarely a matter within
VDOC's discretion. Even if there were authority for the
named federal officials to demand such a transfer, moreover,
it certainly is not something that is required of them, so as
to warrant mandamus.
decline to construe the petition as a civil rights action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or Bivens v. Six Unknown
Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388
(1971). Meyers has filed numerous civil rights complaints in
this court, many of which contain substantially the same
allegations contained in his petition for mandamus. Thus, he
knows how to file a civil rights action. I see no reason to
construe his petition as stating a civil rights claim when he
clearly intended to bring it as a writ of mandamus.
foregoing reasons, I will dismiss this action as frivolous.
An appropriate order will be entered.
 This dismissal does not impact
Meyers' ability to file a civil rights action based on
claims in his petition and against appropriate defendants,
subject to the provisions of ...