United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
MICHAEL A. GADDY, Plaintiff,
THOMAS E. GROSS II, et al., Defendants.
D. WHITNEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 12). Also pending is
Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel, (Doc. No. 14).
Plaintiff Michael A. Gaddy (Inmate No. 1377773) is a prisoner
of the State of North Carolina, currently incarcerated at
Catawba Correctional Institution in Newton, North Carolina.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety website
indicates that Plaintiff was convicted in 2015 in Gaston
County, North Carolina, of drug-trafficking. Plaintiff was
sentenced to seven years of imprisonment.
filed this action on February 13, 2018, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, naming four individuals as Defendants, alleged
to be Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers who participated
in a search and seizure that led to Plaintiff's arrest
and underlying state court conviction. (Doc. No. 1 at 2). In
the Complaint, Plaintiff challenges Defendants' conduct
leading up to his criminal conviction, and he appears to be
attempting to bring numerous legal claims against the various
Defendants, including a Fourth Amendment violation based on
an illegal search and seizure, due process violations, and
prosecutorial misconduct. In his claim for relief, Plaintiff
seeks, among other things, damages against Defendants.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must
review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to
dismissal on the grounds that it is “frivolous or
malicious [or] fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Furthermore,
§ 1915A requires an initial review of a “complaint
in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity, ” and the court must identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
frivolity review, this Court must determine whether the
Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
fantastic or delusional scenarios. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). Furthermore, a
pro se complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, the liberal
construction requirement will not permit a district court to
ignore a clear failure to allege facts which set forth a
claim that is cognizable under federal law. Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the United
States Supreme Court held as follows:
[I]n order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional
conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by
actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or
sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the
conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal,
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called
into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for damages
bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that
has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under §
1983. Thus, when a state prisoner seeks damages in a
§ 1983 suit, the district court must consider whether a
judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply
the invalidity of his conviction or sentence; if it would,
the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can
demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been
invalidated. But if the district court determines that the
plaintiff's action, even if successful, will not
demonstrate the invalidity of any outstanding criminal
judgment against the plaintiff, the action should be allowed
to proceed, in the absence of some other bar to the suit.
Id. at 486-87 (footnotes omitted; emphasis added).
Here, given the allegations in the Complaint, a judgment in
Plaintiff's favor would necessarily imply the invalidity
of his conviction or sentence.
has not alleged, however, that his underlying conviction has
been reversed or otherwise invalidated. Therefore, his claims
are barred by Heck.
this Court notes that Plaintiff has already filed a Section
1983 action that is almost identical to this action, and this
Court has already found that his action was
Heck-barred in the prior action. See Gaddy v.
Sprague, No. 3:14cv156 (W.D. N.C. ). Finally, Plaintiff
has also raised his instant claims in a habeas petition filed
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, and this Court denied his claims
on the merits and dismissed the petition. See Gaddy v.
Reep, No. 3:16cv45, 2016 WL 4443191 (W.D. N.C. Aug. 22,