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Dixon v. Carruth

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

February 27, 2018

Ralph E. Dixon, Plaintiff,
v.
H. Clay Carruth, Jr.; Roderick M. Todd; James Elmo Davis, Jr., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Ralph E. Dixon, proceeding pro se, brings this civil action against the defendants. The Complaint has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This matter is before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.). Having reviewed the Complaint in accordance with applicable law, the court concludes the defendants should be summarily dismissed without prejudice and issuance and service of process.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff's Complaint is a mostly blank standard complaint form that names three state magistrates as defendants and states as the basis for the court's jurisdiction: “supremacy of the law's clause, limitations on state powers', U.S. Amendment 6, 7, 13, 14, Rules of Law.” (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 1-3.) The body of the Complaint provides no other substantive information. However, Plaintiff attaches to the Complaint letters he has written to government officials complaining about his treatment during various traffic stops and in county magistrates' courts during trials concerning Plaintiff's purported traffic violations.

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se Complaint. The 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. This statute allows a district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the action “is frivolous or malicious, ” “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         This court is required to liberally construe pro se complaints, which are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d 206, 214 (4th Cir. 2016). Nonetheless, 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 cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (outlining pleading requirements under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for “all civil actions”).

         B. Analysis

         The court finds that Plaintiff's complaint should be summarily dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff only lists several provisions of the United States Constitution as the court's basis for jurisdiction, but he fails to name a recognizable cause of action or state what relief he seeks in this matter. Such conclusory statements without supporting facts or citation to specific legal precedent establishing a cause of action fails to adequately establish the court's jurisdiction over this matter. See Burgess v. Charlottesville Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 477 F.2d 40, 43-44 (4th Cir. 1973) (“[T]he mere assertion in a pleading that the case is one involving the construction or application of the federal laws does not authorize the District Court to entertain the suit[, ] nor does federal jurisdiction attach on the bare assertion that a federal right or law has been infringed or violated or that the suit takes its origin in the laws of the United States.”) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). But to the extent Plaintiffs Complaint could be liberally construed to state a claim against the defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for a violation of Plaintiffs constitutional rights, Plaintiffs claim would fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because state magistrates are immune from such suits. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991) (providing that judges are entitled to absolute immunity from suit, not just the ultimate assessment of damages, for judicial actions taken within their jurisdiction); Pressly v. Gregory, 831 F.2d 514, 517 (4th Cir. 1987) (finding state magistrates are entitled to absolute judicial immunity for act performed in their judicial capacity).

         III. Conclusion

         Accordingly, the court recommends that the Complaint be summarily dismissed without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.

         Plaintiff's attention is directed to the important notice on the next page.

         Notice of Right to File Objections to Report and Recommendation The parties are advised that they may file specific written objections to this Report and Recommendation with the District Judge. Objections must specifically identify the portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections are made and the basis for such objections. “[I]n the absence of a timely filed objection, a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must ‘only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the ...


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