United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
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. See (Doc. No.
se Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at the Mountain View
Correctional Institution, has filed a civil rights suit
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
names as Defendants: Gaston County Judicial Circuit 27A, and
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. Construing the
Complaint liberally and accepting the allegations as true,
Plaintiff was accused of an offense on June 13, 1986 and a
rape kit was conducted on the victim. The kit was turned over
to the Captain of the Identification Bureau where it was
destroyed before the case was tried. The kit would have
“proved Plaintiff's guilt or innocence” and
its destruction deprived Plaintiff of due process. (Doc. No.
1 at 3-4). The victim testified at trial that Plaintiff was
the perpetrator, which resulted in his conviction of offenses
that he did not commit and for which he received consecutive
life sentences. The four one-count indictments addressed
offenses that occurred at the same time and should have been
considered a single offense. Plaintiff's consecutive
sentences are malicious. Plaintiff's criminal defense
lawyer was ineffective for failing to preserve this and other
issues for appellate review. Plaintiff filed a
post-conviction motion in which he raised these errors but
relief was denied and Plaintiff is being falsely imprisoned.
seeks $10, 000, 000 in compensatory and punitive damages for
“loss of life, ” mental suffering, indignity,
emotional distress, and injunctive relief. (Doc. No. 1 at 5).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma
pauperis, the Court must review the Complaint to
determine whether it is subject to dismissal on the grounds
that it is “(i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In its
frivolity review, a 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). A complaint
should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim
“unless ‘after accepting all well-pleaded
allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and
drawing all reasonable factual inferences from those facts in
the plaintiff's favor, it appears certain that the
plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his
claim entitling him to relief.'” Veney v.
Wyche, 293 F.3d 726, 730 (4th Cir. 2002)
(quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231,
244 (4th Cir. 1999)).
pro se complaint must be construed liberally.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); see
also Smith v. Smith, 589 F.3d 736, 738 (4th
Cir. 2009) (“Liberal construction of the pleadings is
particularly appropriate where … there is a pro
se complaint raising civil rights issues.”).
However, the liberal construction requirement will not permit
a district court to ignore a clear failure to allege facts in
his complaint 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). A
pro se complaint must still contain sufficient facts
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level” and “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007); see Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (the Twombly
plausibility standard applies to all federal civil complaints
including those filed under § 1983). This
“plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to
demonstrate more than a sheer possibility that a defendant
has acted unlawfully.” Francis v. Giacomelli,
588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation marks omitted). He must articulate facts that, when
accepted as true, demonstrate he has stated a claim entitling
him to relief. Id.
Individuals Not Named as Defendants
body of the Complaint contains allegations against
individuals who are not named as defendants in the caption as
required by Rule 10(a). This failure renders Plaintiff's
allegations against them nullities. See,
e.g., Londeree v. Crutchfield Corp., 68
F.Supp.2d 718 (W.D. Va. Sept. 29, 1999) (granting motion to
dismiss for individuals who were not named as defendants in
the compliant but who were served). The allegations directed
at individuals not named as Defendants are therefore
dismissed without prejudice.
and municipalities, are political subdivisions of a state
that can qualify as a “person” under Section
1983. See, e.g., Pembaur v. City of
Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 485 (1986) When determining
whether or not a government official is an agent of the state
or of a political subdivision for the purposes of Section
1983, the “inquiry is dependent on an analysis of state
law.” McMillian v. Monroe County, 520 U.S.
781, 785 (1997). Alleging that a county or municipal employee
committed a constitutional violation is necessary, but not
sufficient, to state a claim against a county or
municipality. A county or municipality may be found liable
under § 1983 only “when execution of a
government's policy or custom, whether made by its
lawmakers or by those edicts or acts may fairly be said to
represent official policy, inflicts the injury.”
Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
694 (1978). For § 1983 liability to extend to a local
government, the policy or custom must be the “moving
force” that resulted in the constitutional violation.
Monell, 436 U.S. at 694. Further, a county
“may only be held liable for acts for which the county
has final ...