United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
CAMERON D. DICKERSON, et al., Plaintiffs,
RANDAL J. DUNCAN, et al., Defendants.
Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge.
Cameron D. Dickerson, proceeding pro se, filed a
complaint on behalf of himself and the Progressive National
Committee against numerous individuals including the
Republican National Committee, a Virginia General District
Court Judge, and officials working for the Montgomery County,
Virginia Commonwealth's Attorney Office and the
Montgomery County, Virginia Sheriff's Office. This matter
is currently before the court on Dickerson's motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Although the
court grants the motion, for the following reasons, the court
concludes that the complaint must be dismissed pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
states that he is the Chairman of the Progressive National
Committee, a political action committee ("PAC"),
registered with the Federal Election
Commission. In sum, Dickerson alleges that the
Defendants "interfer[ed] in [his] election
activities," and those of his PAC, and
"intentionally forced" him to miss election
deadlines, as well as "intentionally conspir[ing] to
discredit, defame and distress" him.
alleges that, on April 15, 2019, the Montgomery County
Sheriff "made a terroristic threat," which
Dickerson reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on
May 7, 2019. Thereafter, Dickerson claims that on May 10,
2019, Sheriffs deputies came "beating on" his door,
falsely claiming to have a search warrant. He does not
describe any other action by the deputies, including whether
they entered his residence.
mid-May 2019, Dickerson was "considering running for
Sheriff," and also "launching" his campaign
for a congressional seat in Virginia. Dickerson alleges that
a "Republican Judge ... pushed" Dickerson's
initial arraignment for one week, which forced Dickerson to
miss the Democratic Party nomination for Sheriff of
Montgomery County. Dickerson alleges that this delay occurred
after the current "Republican Sheriff of Montgomery
County purportedly "used a jail snitch" to learn
from Dickerson whether he planned to run for Sheriff and, if
so, with which political party he would be running.
further alleges that in July 2019, the judge overseeing his
arraignment and members of the "Republican controlled
Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Office"
worked together to "create a fake
capias" using a "letter of libel"
created by other alleged Republicans. Dickerson describes
this effort as "an attempt to discredit, deter and
defame [his] character and livelihood, putting him in jail
again for another month." "Working with" a
doctor, these same Defendants "manufactured libel:
slander and committed perjury recorded in Circuit Court on
October 15, 2019," which kept "him in jail again
for another month."
Dickerson alleges that on November 25, 2019, the Montgomery
County Sheriff "chased" him after speaking at a
"Board of Supervisors Meeting" in a Montgomery
County Government Center. According to Dickerson, the Sheriff
and his deputies were "yelling and acting erratic,"
and the Sheriff had his deputies "put hands" on
Dickerson while he purportedly attempted to speak with
Democratic colleagues. Dickerson does not describe any
physical injuries that arose from this incident, or any other
form of physical contact.
seeks $100, 000, 000 in damages due in part to a $50, 000,
000 fundraising shortfall allegedly caused by the Defendants,
as well as punitive damages arising from "mental
anguish" and other psychological injuries.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), which governs in forma
pauperis proceedings, courts have "a duty to screen
initial filings." Eriline Co. v. Johnson, 440
F.3d 648, 656-57 (4th Cir. 2006). Courts "shall dismiss
at any time" a complaint that is "frivolous"
or "fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted." 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii).
A court may dismiss a claim as factually frivolous where the
facts alleged are "clearly baseless," a category
encompassing allegations that are "fanciful,"
"fantastic," and "delusional."
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325-28 (1989).
"As those words suggest, a finding of factual
frivolousness is appropriate when the facts alleged rise to
the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether
or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to
contradict them." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S.
25, 33 (1992).
reviewing a complaint for dismissal under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), courts apply the same standard used to
review a motion for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. De'Lonta v.
Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003). Federal
courts must construe pro se pleadings liberally.
See, e.g., Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). Nevertheless, "[p]rinciples requiring generous
construction of pro se complaints are not. ..
without limits." Beaudett v. City of Hampton,
775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). Like all plaintiffs, a
pro se plaintiff must "demonstrate more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully," and "articulate facts that, when
accepted as true, demonstrate he has stated a claim entitling
him to relief." Hodge v. Gansler, 547 Fed.Appx.
209, 210 (4th Cir. 2013) (quotation marks omitted).
purports to bring claims under the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments,  as well as 18 U.S.C. § 245 related to
Defendants "[i]ntimidat[ing] [a] [c]andidate for
[e]lected [o]ffice." ECF Nos. 2 & 2-1. Dickerson