Richard Darrell Trigg v. Mary Katherine Jone
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 2:17-cv-00013-JPJ-PMS Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. . Mailed to: Richard Darrell Trigg. [17-1801]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
RICHARD DARRELL TRIGG,
Plaintiff - Appellant,
MARY KATHERINE JONES; ERNEST HAROLD JONES; JERI MORRILL;
JOANNE HARDY; WILLIAM (BILL) HORACE HORTON; JANET HORTON;
CLAIRE HORTON; DAVID HORTON; CONNIE HORTON; DANIEL
HORTON; CHAD JONES; LEISA WINTZ,
Defendants - Appellees.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, at Big
Stone Gap. James P. Jones, District Judge. (2:17-cv-00013-JPJ-PMS)
Submitted: October 24, 2017
Decided: October 30, 2017
Before WILKINSON, SHEDD, and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges.
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Richard Darrell Trigg, Appellant Pro Se.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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Richard Darrell Trigg appeals the district court’s order accepting the
recommendation of the magistrate judge and dismissing his complaint on initial review
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (2012). The district court held that Trigg did not have
standing to raise the claims he asserted, and that his claims were barred by the Rooker–
Feldman doctrine. See D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker
v. Fid. Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923). We affirm the dismissal without prejudice of
Trigg’s complaint, though not on the grounds articulated by the magistrate judge and
adopted by the district court.
We review de novo a district court’s dismissal for lack of standing, Bishop v.
Bartlett, 575 F.3d 419, 423 (4th Cir. 2009), and a district court’s dismissal pursuant to the
Rooker–Feldman doctrine, Burrell v. Virginia, 395 F.3d 508, 511 (4th Cir. 2005).
Because Trigg sought relief based, at least in part, on allegations that Defendants’ actions
caused him personally to suffer financial harm, we conclude that dismissal of this action
for lack of standing was unwarranted.
See Bishop, 575 F.3d at 423 (discussing
constitutional and prudential components of standing). Further, while Trigg’s complaint
contains multiple references to a Tennessee divorce judgment, we do not read his
complaint as inviting the district court to review or disturb that judgment. Consequently,
the Rooker–Feldman doctrine does not apply. See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic
Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005).
However, we affirm the district court’s dismissal on the alternate ground that
Trigg’s complaint failed to state a claim on which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C.
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§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); Willner v. Dimon, 849 F.3d 93, 103 (4th Cir. 2017) (this court may
affirm district court’s judgment on any ground appearing in the record). Trigg’s claims
for relief were based on a now-repealed Tennessee statute that criminalized the
exploitation of vulnerable adults. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-111 (2015) (repealed
2017). Although this statute created a private right of action, Trigg did not plausibly
allege that he was among the individuals entitled to bring such an action, see id. § 39-14111(h), nor does it appear that any of Defendants’ alleged activities occurred during the
period the statute was in effect. To the extent Trigg attempted to raise any other cause of
action, his allegations were too vague and conclusory to state a plausible claim for relief.
See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). As a result, this action was subject to
dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court. We dispense with oral
argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the
materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.
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