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Bellamy v. Wright

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

January 15, 2020

JAMES E. BELLAMY, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
K.L. WRIGHT, et al., Defendants.

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

          HENRY E. HUDSON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         James E. Bellamy, Jr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in for ma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. The matter is proceeding on Bellamy's Particularized Complaint (ECF Nos. 11-1, 11-2). The matter is before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A and the Motion to Dismiss filed by K.L. Wright and Javier A. Quinones. For the reasons set forth below, the action will be dismissed as legally frivolous and malicious.

         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 malicious" or (2) "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(i) & (ii); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The frivolous 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). The Court will discussed the standard for maliciousness at the end of this Memorandum Opinion.

         "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 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 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 All. 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

         Bellamy's legal claims stem from a traffic stop of his vehicle that occurred on November 21, 2015. (ECF No. 11-1, at 6.)[1] As a result of this stop and the items found in his vehicle, Bellamy was convicted in a bench trial in the Circuit Court of the City of Chesapeake of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, in violation of section 18.2-248 of the Virginia Code, and driving on a suspended license, in violation of section 46.2-301 of the Virginia Code. Bellamy v. Commonwealth, No. 0496-17-1, 2018 WL 3540977, at * 1 (Va. Ct. App. July 24, 2018). At trial and on appeal, Bellamy unsuccessfully sought to suppress evidence obtained during a search of his vehicle. Id. at * 1-4.

         In the present action, Bellamy contends that he is entitled to relief on the following grounds:

Claim 1 Defendant Quinones conducted a "racial[ly] motivated warrantless search & seizure ... without probable cause." (ECF No. 11-1, at 8.) The search was "done maliciously[, ] exceed[ed] the time needed to handle the matter for which the traffic stop was made, [and] violated ... Bellamy[']s rights under the [F]ourth [A]mendment." (Id.)
Claim 2 As a result of Defendant Quinones's warrantless arrest, Hudson Tow Service towed away Bellamy's vehicle and imposed a lien upon the vehicle. (Id.) This action violated Bellamy's rights to due process and equal protection. (Id.)
Claim 3 K.L. Wright, the Colonel of the Chesapeake Police Department, "failed to adequately train [D]efendant Quinones[] before 11/21/2015." (Id.)
Claim 4 K.L. Wright "[p]ermitted unconstitutional practices to remain unchallenged thereby demonstrating a deliberate indifference to the federally protected rights of ...

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