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Malicious prosecution claim dismissed against housing authority

Where a malicious prosecution claim requires that the plaintiff obtained favorable termination of the underlying criminal prosecution, a woman’s claim that the Wise County Housing Authority brought false criminal charges against her was dismissed because the underlying state action was still pending.

Background

Jullian Huffman, proceeding pro se, alleges that defendants Cindi L. Smoot and the Wise County Housing Authority brought a false criminal charge in an underlying state action. Huffman previously filed a motion seeking leave to proceed in this case in forma pauperis. A district court shall dismiss a case filed in forma pauperis at any time if the court determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, or that it fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.

Analysis

Construed liberally, Huffman’s “false charge” allegation amounts to a claim for malicious prosecution. To state both a Fourth Amendment malicious prosecution claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a malicious prosecution claim under Virginia law, a plaintiff must allege that they obtained favorable termination of the underlying criminal prosecution.

Here, Huffman’s underlying criminal prosecution is ongoing, so Huffman’s claim fails. Moreover, Huffman is not entitled to the injunctive relief sought — this court’s interference in the pending state court proceedings.

Amended complaint dismissed for failure to state a claim.

Huffman v. The Wise County Housing Authority, Case No. 2:22-cv-00014, Aug. 15, 2022. WDVA at Big Stone Gap (Jones). VLW 022-3-353. 4 pp.

VLW 022-3-353