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Juste v. Martinez

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

February 3, 2017

Andre Juste, #078-367-619, Plaintiff,
v.
Agent Martinez, Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey, Director, Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General, Ashton Carter, James Powell Collings, Barack Obama, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Thomas E. Rogers, III., United States Magistrate Judge

         This is a civil rights action filed by a pro se litigant who indicates that he is an immigration detainee.[1] Because Plaintiff cannot leave the facility where he is detained on his own, in the event that a limitations issue arises, Plaintiff shall have the benefit of the holding in Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988) (prisoner's pleading was filed at the moment of delivery to prison authorities for forwarding to District Court). Under Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, pretrial proceedings in this action have been referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of Plaintiff's pro se complaint filed in this case. This review has been conducted pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Md. House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147 (4th Cir. 1978).

         This complaint has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal court without prepaying the administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. To protect against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the action “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” “is frivolous or malicious, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A finding of frivolity can be made where the complaint “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. at 31. Under § 1915(e)(2)(B), a claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989).

         This court is required to liberally construe pro se complaints. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Such pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Id.; Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Even under this less stringent standard, however, the pro se complaint may be subject to summary dismissal. The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which plaintiff could prevail, it should do so, but a district court may not rewrite a complaint to include claims that were never presented, construct the plaintiff's legal arguments for him, or conjure up questions never squarely presented to the court. Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985); Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411 (7th Cir. 1993); Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128 (10th Cir. 1999). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir.1990) (The “special judicial solicitude” with which a [court] should view such pro se complaints does not transform the court into an advocate.).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that from 2010 to present, Agent Martinez, a resident of West Virginia stalked and harassed him. He alleges that for years there were tracking devices in his cell phones and laptop. Plaintiff cites 18 U.S.C. § 3237, 18 U.S.C. § 4, 18 U.S.C. § 1111, 42 U.S.C. § 1981-1985, 42 U.S.C. § 2000, and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1392, 1332. He alleges discrimination, blackmail, counterfeiting, and forgery. He says Martinez “is being charged with attempt to murder.” As for injuries, he states “agony, ” “anguish”, and “physical harm.” He requests monetary damages and criminal charges.

         Plaintiff states that: he is detained in New York and Defendants are located in Washington, D.C., West Virginia, or Pennsylvania. The events occurred in several states and do not involve the state of South Carolina.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants FBI, Comey, Lynch, Carter, Collings, and Obama

         Plaintiff makes no factual allegations as to Defendants FBI, Comey, Lynch, Carter, Collings, and Obama. The Complaint in this case fails to state a plausible claim against these named defendants. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that complaints contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” The purpose behind Rule 8 is “to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citation and quotation omitted). Even though a pro se plaintiff's pleadings are to be liberally construed, 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.” Id. at 555, 570; see also Slade v. Hampton Roads Reg'l Jail, 407 F.3d 243, 252 (4th Cir. 2005).

         “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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Defendants will not know how to respond to conclusory allegations, especially when “the pleadings mentioned no specific time, place, or person involved.” ...


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