United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
D. WHITNEY, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on a Motion to
Dismiss, (Doc. 23), filed by Defendants Tiffany Gentry Cline
and Dennis Harris, and on a separate Motion to Dismiss, filed
by Defendant Micah J. Sanderson (Doc. 28).
Plaintiff Joshua Glenn McRavion is a state prisoner currently
incarcerated at Maury Correctional Institution in Hookerton,
North Carolina. Plaintiff is serving a 19- to 49-month
sentence after being convicted on April 2, 2019, of Malicious
Conduct/Prisoner and Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Lincoln
County, North Carolina. Plaintiff filed this action on March
16, 2018, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On August 23,
2018, following a frivolity review, this Court allowed
Plaintiff to proceed on his claims. (Doc. 11). Plaintiff
amended his Complaint on October 9, 2018. (Doc. 21).
Plaintiff has named as Defendants (1) Tiffany Cline, a
detective with the Lincolnton Police Department, (2) Dennis
Harris, a Sergeant with the Lincolnton Police Department, and
(3) Micah J. Sanderson, an Assistant District Attorney for
Lincoln County. (Id. at 2-3). Plaintiff identifies
the following as the claims he brings in this action:
“14th Amendment Equal Protection of Laws; Fourth
Amendment Rights against Unlawful Searches and Seizures;
Obstruction of Justice (G.S. 14-225); N.C. Law of the Land
Clause; 6th Amendment Speedy Trial; 8th Amendment Cruel and
Unusual Punishment, Malicious Prosecution, Wrongful
Imprisonment, Miranda Rights Violations.” (Id.
allegations do not clearly articulate the grounds for these
purported claims. Furthermore, it is not exactly clear which
of these claims apply to each particular Defendant. Plaintiff
appears to allege that, on May 12, 2015, a parole or
probation officer searched his home without a search warrant,
which led to the revocation of his parole status, as well as
charges for drug possession. (Id. at 4). Plaintiff
alleges he informed Cline he was shot and robbed on May 10,
2015, and Cline did not properly investigate Plaintiff's
report. (Id.). He further alleges Cline took him to
the Magistrate's office and had him charged with assault
with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious
injury with intent to kill, and possession of firearm by a
felon. (Id.). According to Plaintiff, Cline
supported this charge with an eyewitness statement signed by
a witness under a fictitious name. (Id.). Plaintiff
claims that Cline was grossly negligent by not properly
confirming the witness's identity, and that this conduct
by Cline constituted “obstruction of justice.”
(Id.). Plaintiff also appears to allege that Harris
also obstructed justice by not intervening during this
process. (Id.). In addition, as to Harris, Plaintiff
also alleges that Harris took him into custody and questioned
him about the shooting without first reading him his Miranda
rights. (Id. at 5).
Assistant District Attorney Sanderson, Plaintiff alleges that
Sanderson has held Plaintiff since May 12, 2015, on the two
charges pending against him, while knowing that Defendants
Cline and Harris violated Plaintiff's rights.
(Id.). Plaintiff asserts that he filed a claim for a
speedy trial after he had been in custody for eighteen (18)
and twenty-seven (27) months, but that he was not granted a
speedy trial. (Id.). Plaintiff further alleges that
Defendant Sanderson violated his Eighth Amendment rights by
colluding with the other Defendants regarding his confession
statement and that Defendant Sanderson
“manipulated” the trial calendar so that
Plaintiff's attorney would not be properly prepared for
the trial. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Sanderson refused to dismiss the two charges against him.
(Id.). Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant
Sanderson abused his authority given to him pursuant to N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 7A-61, relating to managing the trial
docket and duties of a prosecutor, and § 15A-931,
relating to voluntary dismissals of charges, as he held the
plaintiff's case in limbo for thirty-three months before
another unnamed ADA dismissed them. (Id. at 5-6).
asserts that Defendant Sanderson charged him with being a
habitual felon in retaliation for invoking his Sixth
Amendment right to a speedy trial and that Defendant
Sanderson violated Plaintiff's procedural due process
rights by holding Plaintiff with no bond reduction hearing
and by placing Plaintiff's case as number twelve of
thirteen on the trial docket. (Id.). Finally,
Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Sanderson showed direct and
serious neglect for his rights in that Defendant Sanderson
held him on charges that were later dismissed, but that he
tried Plaintiff on another charge while he was in custody
awaiting trial on the May 12, 2015, charges. (Id.).
Based on Plaintiff's statement of facts, it appears that
he brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Defendant Sanderson, in his official and individual
capacity, for alleged violations of his right to a speedy
trial pursuant to the Sixth Amendment, his right to be free
from cruel and unusual punishment pursuant to the Eighth
Amendment, and his right to procedural due process under the
Fourteenth Amendment, and he asserts claims for malicious
prosecution and wrongful imprisonment. (Id. at 5-6).
For relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive
damages, as well as injunctive relief “from harassment
of Lincolnton City Police for bringing this suit” and
“in the form of making sure that Defendant Sanderson
applies the rules or Speedy Trial and [other North Carolina
statutory rules].” (Id. at 7).
October 24, 2018, Defendants Cline and Harris filed their
pending motion to dismiss, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. No. 23). On October
30, 2018, this Court entered an order in accordance with
Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975),
advising Plaintiff of the requirements for filing a response
to the motion to dismiss. (Doc. 27). Then, on October 30,
2018, Defendant Sanderson filed his own motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim and for lack of jurisdiction,
pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 28). This Court entered another
Roseboro notice on November 5, 2018. (Doc. 30).
Plaintiff filed responses to the motions to dismiss and
Defendants Cline and Harris filed a Reply. (Docs. 33, 35, 36,
40). Thus, this matter is ripe for disposition.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a motion may
be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)
tests the sufficiency of the complaint without resolving
contests of fact or the merits of a claim. Republican
Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir.
1992), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 828 (1993). Thus, the
Rule 12(b)(6) inquiry is limited to determining if the
allegations constitute “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief”
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2). To
survive a defendant's motion to dismiss, factual
allegations in the complaint must be sufficient to
“raise a right to relief above a speculative
level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). Thus, a complaint will survive if it
contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
purposes of a Rule 12(b)(6) analysis, 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.”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The
Court must draw all reasonable factual inferences in favor of
the Plaintiff. Priority Auto Grp., Inc. v. Ford Motor
Credit Co., 757 F.3d 137, 139 (4th Cir. 2014). In a Rule
12(b)(6) analysis, the Court must separate facts from legal
conclusions, as mere conclusions are not entitled to a
presumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Importantly, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of
a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice.” Id. However, well-pleaded
factual allegations are entitled to a presumption of truth,
and the court should determine whether the allegations
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id.
Rule 12(b)(1), a party may seek dismissal based on the
court's “lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Subject-matter
jurisdiction is a threshold issue that relates to the
court's power to hear a case and must be decided before a
determination on the merits of the case. Constantine v.
Rectors & Visitors of George Mason Univ., 411 F.3d
474, 479-80 (4th Cir. 2005). A motion under Rule 12(b)(1)
raises the question “whether [the plaintiff] has a
right to be in the district court at all and whether the
court has the power to hear and dispose of [the]
claim.” Holloway v. Pagan River Dockside Seafood,
Inc., 669 F.3d 448, 452 (4th Cir. 2012). The burden of
proving subject-matter jurisdiction rests with the plaintiff.
McNutt v. Gen. Motors Acceptance Corp. of Ind., 298
U.S. 178, 189 (1936); Adams v. Bain, 697 F.2d 1213,
1219 (4th Cir. 1982). When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(1) motion
to dismiss, a court should grant the motion “only if
the material jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and the
moving party is entitled to prevail as a matter of
law.” Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R.
Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991).
Plaintiff's Claims for Declaratory or Injunctive
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in the
form of freedom “from harassment of Lincolnton City
Police for bringing this suit” and “in the form
of making sure that Defendant Sanderson applies the rules or
Speedy Trial and [other North Carolina statutory
rules].” (Id. at 7). The Court finds that,
because Plaintiff has been transferred away from the Lincoln
County Jail, Plaintiff's claim for injunctive relief is
moot and will be dismissed. See Williams v. Griffin,
952 F.2d 820 (4th Cir. 1991) (noting that a prisoner's
transfer moots a Section 1983 request for declaratory and
injunctive relief when the conditions of which the prisoner
claims are unlikely to recur).