United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
RICHARD L. VOORHEES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on Defendant Josh Stein's
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 6) and Plaintiff Craig
Northacker's Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis
(Doc. 2). The Court filed a Roseboro order notifying
Plaintiff of his right to file a response to Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss, (Doc. 7), and the Plaintiff timely filed a
response (Doc. 8). Stein has not filed a reply to
Plaintiff's response and the time to do so has elapsed.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in forma
pauperis and the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss are
now ripe for disposition. For the reasons stated below,
Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis
(Doc. 2) is DENIED, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
6) is GRANTED, and Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1) is
Craig Northacker, proceeding pro se, commenced this
action by filing a complaint that raises two claims under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). In his complaint, Plaintiff
Northacker claims he is a victim of two frauds and that he
repeatedly attempted to file felony theft and unlawful
conversion charges, but the Attorney General, Roy Cooper,
never pursued criminal charges against the offenders. (Doc. 1
at 2). Plaintiff alleges Cooper, serving in his official
capacity as North Carolina Attorney General, instead covered
up the fraud to gain a political benefit. Id. at 2.
Based on these allegations, Plaintiff's Complaint raises
two separate claims based on the alleged denial of his First
Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of
grievances. (See Doc. 1 at 2-5 (first claim), 5-11
first claim relates to his creation and operation of
Vets-Help.org-NC, Inc (“Vets-Help”). Vets-Help is
a non-profit corporation designed to help veterans and their
families integrate back into their respective communities
following service abroad. Id. at 2. In 2011,
Plaintiff alleges he borrowed $150, 000 and collaborated with
a business partner in order to set up Vets-Help in North
Carolina. Id. at 3. Later, Plaintiff completed a
background check on his business partner and discovered
thirty aliases associated with the partner's name.
Id. Plaintiff alleges his business partner engaged
in fraudulent activities that harmed him and Vets-Help.
(See generally Id. at 2- 5).
presented his concerns regarding his business partner to the
Rowan County Sheriff, the Rowan County Magistrate, and the
Rowan County District Attorney. Id. at 4. However,
each Rowan County official refused to accept his complaint.
Id. Plaintiff then sent a letter to Cooper detailing
the wrongs against him and Vets-Help; however, Cooper did not
respond to Plaintiff's letter and instead focused on his
2012 election campaign. Id. at 5. Plaintiff alleges
that the refusal of Cooper to take action on his complaint by
bringing charges against his business partner amounts to a
violation of his First Amendment right to petition the
government for a redress of grievances. (See generally
Id. at 2-5).
Northacker's second claim relates to his attempted
purchase of the Rockingham Speedway on behalf of Vets-Help.
(See generally Id. at 5-11). In 2014, Plaintiff
hired counsel and sought to purchase the Rockingham Speedway.
Id. at 6. Plaintiff alleges he obtained a court
order allowing him to purchase a bank note for the Rockingham
Speedway; however, the bank never presented Plaintiff with
the option to purchase the note. Id. Plaintiff began
investigating the bank and claims to have discovered that the
bank had too many non-performing loans against the required
capital and was close to violating federal standards.
then petitioned Cooper regarding Plaintiff's discoveries
about the bank. Id. Cooper forwarded Plaintiff's
complaint to the Banking Commissioner and the Banking
Commissioner sent a letter to the bank. Id.
Plaintiff alleges the bank interfered with his attempted
purchase of Rockingham Speedway by raising the purchase price
from $2.7 million to $2.95 million, and he asserts the
increase of the purchase price amounts to bank fraud.
Id. at 8-9. Plaintiff contacted the Richmond County
Attorney and the Richmond County Sheriff, and then petitioned
Cooper again to review the alleged facts that Plaintiff
believed demonstrated fraud. Id. at 9-10.
petitioning Cooper, Plaintiff did not immediately receive any
response. Id. Approximately three months after
petitioning Cooper, Plaintiff reached out to the Attorney
General's office to check on the status of his petition.
Id. Two days later, the Attorney General's
office emailed Plaintiff explaining they received his
petition, but that the Attorney General's office had
decided not to pursue the case because the alleged bank fraud
“did not impact a larger group of constituents.”
Id. at 10.
contends Cooper buried his petition and, in doing so,
violated his First Amendment right to petition the government
for a redress of grievances. Id. Plaintiff further
alleges that by not pursuing an investigation, Cooper
protected his electoral base in Richmond County and received
the benefit of their votes in the 2016 North Carolina
Gubernatorial election. Id.
seeks monetary compensation in the form of “restitution
of losses, nontaxable compensation for emotional and physical
duress, loss of profits and funding opportunities,
penalties.” Id. at 13. Plaintiff also seeks
sanctions against Cooper, in his capacity as Attorney
General, and prospective relief in the form of an
“[o]rder to force police compliance with the First
Amendment and other similar laws of the land.”
filed a Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc.
2). While his Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis
remained pending before this Court, Plaintiff attempted to
complete service of process on Cooper. (Doc. 5-1); but
see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) (“The officers of the
Court shall issue and serve all process and perform all
duties in [cases proceeding in forma
pauperis].”). Defendant moved to dismiss
Northacker's complaint, citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1),
(b)(2), (b)(6) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, and raising defenses
including sovereign immunity and failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted. (Doc. 6). In response,
Plaintiff acknowledges defendant's arguments but neither
provides salient counterarguments nor additional factual
allegations. (Doc. 8).
Standard of Review
12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a claim based upon a
plaintiff's “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A
complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In evaluating a motion
to dismiss, a court “must accept as true all
well-pleaded allegations” and must construe the
complaint's factual allegations “in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Randall v. United
States, 30 F.3d 518, 522 (4th Cir. 1994). A court,
however, “need not accept the legal conclusions drawn
from the facts, ...