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Wiley v. State

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

March 26, 2018

Melvin Earl Wiley, Plaintiff,
State of South Carolina, Jackie Mauldins collision repair, Defendants.


          Kevin F. McDonald United States Magistrate Judge.

         The plaintiff, Melvin Earl Wiley, proceeding pro se, filed this civil action against the defendants, and asserts that this court has subject matter jurisdiction over the action because a federal question is presented. This action was filed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, and the plaintiff is not a prisoner. After careful review, the undersigned recommends that the complaint be dismissed without prejudice, and without issuance and service of process, for the reasons set forth below.


         The plaintiff's complaint alleges that federal question jurisdiction exists, based upon: “Peace and Friendship treaty of the moors 1787, Articile [sic] 6 of the constitution. Bill of Rights 4&5 Amendments [sic], Treaty of Tripoli Im indigeons to the land.” (Doc. 1 at 3). The plaintiff's Statement of Claim in the preprinted form complaint states, verbatim:

I have a Judgment against State of South Carolina, my Property is being held at Jackie Mauldin Collison repair, Im invoking the Doctrine of Acquiescene. State had 30 days. ALL properties taken unlawfully, removed in violation of commerce, or otherwise converted, sold, or seized by “State of South Carolina”, or other Parties in collusion therewith, be immediately returned IN FULL VALUE (£) PLUS 10% to the original Owner, the Undersigned Affiant; Pain and Suffering and Harassment along with interest. Jobs was out of reach quality of life issue.

(Doc. 1 at 5). The plaintiff seeks the following relief, set forth verbatim:

Lost the right to travel in the pursue of happeness. Aggravated Trespass. Kidnaping. False Imprisonment. Harassment. My car and van are still being held at Jackie's. Still losing because of 1 year on Van, 18 months on the car. There not enough money in the world for GOD RIGHTS! I claim 25, 000, Twenty Five Thousand. My Judgment is final it the LAW

(Doc. 1 at 5).


         Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review the complaint for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court. The plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied 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. 25, 31 (1992).

         As a pro se litigant, the plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). However, even under this less stringent standard, the pro se pleading remains 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 the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so, but a district court may not rewrite a petition to include claims that were never presented, Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999), or construct the plaintiff's legal arguments for him, Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993), or “conjure up questions never squarely presented” to the court, Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). 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).


         Although the court must liberally construe the pro se complaint and the plaintiff is not required to plead facts sufficient to prove his case as an evidentiary matter in the complaint, the complaint nonetheless “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)); see also McCleary-Evans v. Maryland Dep't of Transp., 780 F.3d 582, 585-87 (4th Cir. 2015) (noting that a plaintiff must plead enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level); Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (explaining that a plaintiff may proceed into the litigation process only when his complaint is justified by both law and fact); cf. Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 530 (2011) (holding that “a complaint need not pin plaintiff's claim for relief to a precise legal theory”). A plaintiff must do more than provide a formal recitation of the necessary elements of a claim because that would constitute merely conclusions and only speculation would fill the gaps in the complaint. McCleary-Evans, 780 F.3d at 585.

         If a plaintiff's complaint raises a federal question, then this court may have subject matter jurisdiction over the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. A federal question relates to an action “arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” In re Blackwater Sec. Consulting, LLC, 460 F.3d 576, 584 (4th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted); see also In re Bulldog Trucking, Inc., 147 F.3d 347, 352 (4th Cir. 1998) (holding that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, “constrained to exercise only the authority conferred by Article III of the Constitution and affirmatively granted by federal statute.”); Holloway v. Pagan River Dockside Seafood, Inc., 669 F.3d 448, 453 (4th Cir. 2012) ...

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