Cadmus v. Williamson, Civil Action No. 5:15-cv-00045

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District of Virginia)
Writing for the CourtBy: Joel C. Hoppe United States Magistrate Judge
Decision Date01 February 2016
PartiesRICHARD R. CADMUS, JR., Plaintiff, v. ROBERT T. WILLIAMSON, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 5:15-cv-00045

RICHARD R. CADMUS, JR., Plaintiff,
ROBERT T. WILLIAMSON, et al., Defendants.

Civil Action No. 5:15-cv-00045


February 1, 2016


By: Joel C. Hoppe United States Magistrate Judge

Plaintiff Richard R. Cadmus, Jr., proceeding pro se, has filed this action against the following Defendants: Robert T. Williamson, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Frederick County; Doug Nicholson, individually and in his official capacity as a Deputy Sheriff of Frederick County; Aimee Cook, individually and in her official capacity as a Magistrate of Frederick County; John and Jane Does 1 through 25, individually and in their official capacities as Deputy Sheriffs of Frederick County; and the Frederick County Sheriff's Department ("FCSD"). Compl., ECF No. 2. In response to Cadmus's Complaint, Defendants Williamson, Cook, and Nicholson each filed Motions to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which are pending before the Court. ECF Nos. 14, 22, 25. Also pending before the Court is Cadmus's Motion for Leave to Amend his Complaint, with a Proposed Amended Complaint attached. Pl. Mot. to Am. & Proposed Am. Compl., ECF No. 29. These motions are before me by referral for report and recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). ECF No. 5. All parties have fully briefed the issues, I have heard oral argument, and the motions are ripe for decision. After considering the pleadings, the parties' briefs and oral arguments, and the applicable law, I find that Cadmus has failed to state a claim that entitles him to relief and that his Proposed Amended Complaint is, for most of his claims, futile. I therefore recommend that the presiding District Judge grant the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and deny

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leave to file the Proposed Amended Complaint. I also recommend that the presiding District Judge grant Cadmus leave to file another amended complaint, subject to the limitations set out in this Report and Recommendation.

I. The Original Complaint and Motions to Dismiss

A. Factual Allegations and Claims

When assessing factual allegations for a motion to dismiss, I must view all well-pled facts in the Complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Philips v. Pitt Cty. Mem'l Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009). In recognition of Cadmus's pro se status and my obligation to hold his pleadings to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers," Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam), I will also consider facts presented in his brief in opposition. Shomo v. Apple, Inc., No. 7:14cv40, 2015 WL 777620, at *2 (W.D. Va. Feb. 24, 2015) (considering "both the complaint and the factual allegations in Shomo's response to the motion to dismiss in determining whether his claims can survive dismissal"); Christmas v. Arc of the Piedmont, Inc., No. 3:12cv8, 2012 WL 2905584, at *1 (W.D. Va. July 16, 2012) (accepting as true facts from a pro se plaintiff's complaint and brief in opposition to decide a motion to dismiss); Davis v. Bacigalupi, 711 F. Supp. 2d 609, 615 (E.D. Va. 2010) (same) (collecting cases).

1. The June 9, 2013 Incident

Cadmus's original Complaint sets forth a long, somewhat meandering series of allegations against the Defendants. He describes a number of distinct events giving rise to his claims—the first and arguably most central of which began with a domestic incident on June 9, 2013, at the home where Cadmus lived with his mother, Laura Fabrizio. Compl. ¶ 16. Cadmus alleges that at the time, Fabrizio was terminally ill, took large doses of pain medication, and

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suffered from significant mental health symptoms, including hallucinations, paranoia, and dementia. Id. ¶¶ 16-18. Fabrizio required round-the-clock assistance with personal necessities; Cadmus acted as her caretaker and held her power of attorney. Id. ¶¶ 16, 19.

On that date, Cadmus was heading home for lunch when he received a text message from Laura Lee Carver, his sister,1 stating that she was at the house. Id. ¶¶ 20, 34. Carver's treatment of Fabrizio was a point of contention between her and Cadmus—Cadmus alleges that Carver had previously been charged with stealing from their mother, id. ¶ 32, and he had reported her to Social Services for elder abuse, id. ¶ 33. Carver was reportedly upset at this time over Cadmus's meeting with a social worker. Id. ¶ 34. When Cadmus arrived at the house, he got into a verbal argument with Carver and her boyfriend, id. ¶¶ 20-22, who is identified in later filings as Matthew Sirbaugh, Proposed Am. Compl. ¶¶ 138, 159. Cadmus alleges that he asked Carver and Sirbaugh to leave because the argument had upset Fabrizio. Compl. ¶ 21. When Cadmus attempted to go out to the back porch to speak to his mother, Sirbaugh physically attacked him and prevented him from going out the back door. Id. ¶¶ 22-23, 34.

After the altercation between Cadmus and Sirbaugh, Cadmus went out to the front yard to call 911. Id. ¶ 23. When Sirbaugh saw Cadmus call 911, he also called 911. Id. Cadmus subsequently called the FCSD to ask when officers would arrive and provided additional details about the incident. Id. Nicholson and two unidentified deputies arrived approximately ten minutes after Cadmus's second call. Id. ¶ 24. When the deputies arrived, Sirbaugh ran out to meet them in front of the house and began giving an account of the events. Id. Cadmus characterizes Sirbaugh's account as false. Id. Cadmus alleges that as the deputies investigated the

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incident, they treated him much more harshly than they treated Carver and Sirbaugh. Id. ¶¶ 25-27. He claims that the deputies treated him as the primary suspect from the beginning and accused him of lying and giving inconsistent statements, while accepting Carver's and Sirbaugh's statements as true. Id. ¶ 25. Cadmus objected to the deputies' questioning of Carver and Sirbaugh in the same room, which he claims allowed them to corroborate each other's statements and implicate him as the aggressor. Id. ¶¶ 26-27. Carver and Sirbaugh stated that Cadmus was on drugs, was "raging and violent," and had told Carver that things were "going to get ugly." Id. ¶ 30. Carver also showed Nicholson a scratch on her upper arm. Id. Cadmus claims that although he was compliant and cooperative, the deputies accused him of being disruptive, and one of them threatened to charge him with obstruction of justice. Id. ¶ 25.

When the deputies eventually asked Cadmus for his version of events, he expressed his displeasure over their manner of questioning, id. ¶ 29, then told them that Carver could not be trusted because of her history of heroin use and thefts from Fabrizio, id. ¶ 32. Although Cadmus urged the deputies to look further into these claims, they did not do so. Id. Cadmus related his version of events to the deputies, claiming that he was the one who had been assaulted during the altercation. Id. ¶ 34. He also explained that he was his mother's caretaker and that she was in serious need of supervision. Id. ¶ 31. One of the deputies told Cadmus that his story did not add up and that he was lying. Id. ¶ 36. This made Cadmus feel that the deputies were conspiring against him, so he went upstairs to get his phone to record the rest of the encounter. Id. ¶¶ 36-37. When Cadmus came back down and attempted to record the incident, one of the deputies told him he could not do so. Id. ¶ 38. Nicholson asked Cadmus if he had any injuries, and as Cadmus explained that he had injuries to his legs and back, the deputies surrounded Cadmus, instructed him to place his hands behind his back, and placed him in handcuffs. Id. ¶¶ 38-39, 43. As he was

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being arrested, he noted that Carver and Sirbaugh were making statements that implicated Cadmus as having assaulted both of them. Id. ¶ 40.

Nicholson placed Cadmus in the back of his patrol vehicle and drove him to the Northwest Regional Adult Detention Center ("NRADC"). Id. ¶ 44. During the ride to the NRADC, Cadmus again urged Nicholson to look into his sister's history of drug use and theft, but Nicholson did not do so. Id. ¶ 45. Instead, Nicholson commented to Cadmus that he believed Cadmus to be on drugs and noted that he was aware that Cadmus was involved in activism in the community, which included leading a taxicab strike against the City of Winchester and a lawsuit against the City's Chief of Police.2 Id. ¶¶ 46-47. Nicholson also recalled past encounters with Cadmus, including a time he witnessed Cadmus litigating a traffic ticket against another deputy and a prior case during which he accompanied Cadmus's ex-fiancée to file charges against Cadmus. Id. ¶¶ 49-51. Nicholson expressed his belief that Cadmus was never held accountable for his actions, stating to him, "Mr. Cadmus, it's never you. It's always someone else." Id. ¶ 49. Cadmus interpreted these comments as suggesting that Nicholson would "take the law into his own hands and make sure that Cadmus was held criminally accountable for something." Id. ¶ 53. Cadmus also asserts that his handcuffs were too tight and caused him pain, but when he complained about this to Nicholson he did not adjust them. Id. ¶¶ 55-56.

Once they arrived at the NRADC, Nicholson escorted Cadmus to a holding room. Id. ¶ 57. When Cadmus asked if Nicholson had any evidence that Cadmus assaulted anyone, Nicholson showed Cadmus a picture he had taken of scratches on Carver's upper arm. Id. ¶ 30, 57. Cadmus told Nicholson that his fingernails were too short to have caused those scratches, and Nicholson took a picture of Cadmus's fingers. Id. ¶¶ 58-61. Nicholson then brought Cadmus

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before Cook for a preliminary hearing. Id. ¶ 62. For several minutes prior to the hearing, Nicholson and Cook discussed Cadmus's arrest at the magistrate window, but did not allow Cadmus to stand there as well. Id.

Cook then issued arrest warrants for Cadmus...

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