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Jordan v. Foldessey

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

August 9, 2018

Diana Jordan, Plaintiff,
Patricia Foldessey; J.P. Morgan Chase Bank; Brandy Snyder; Ashley Shaffer; Barbara Periera; Nathan Ballentine; and South Carolina House of Representatives, Defendants.



         Diana Jordan (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action against Patricia Foldessey, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, Brandy Snyder, Ashley Shaffer, Barbara Periera, Nathan Ballentine, and the South Carolina House of Representatives. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the district judge dismiss the complaint in this case without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff alleges fraud, forgery, and corruption claims related to the sale of 124 Bakersland Road, Chapin, South Carolina (“Property”). [ECF No. 1]. Plaintiff seeks to prove all defendants are guilty of conspiracy and obstruction of justice, and some defendants are guilty of forgery, bribery, and receiving stolen goods. Id. at 3.

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Plaintiff filed this complaint 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 a case upon a finding that the action fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted or is frivolous or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii). 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). A claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Allison v. Kyle, 66 F.3d 71, 73 (5th Cir. 1995).

         Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). A federal district court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. Merriweather v. Reynolds, 586 F.Supp.2d 548, 554 (D.S.C. 2008). 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. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that 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).

         B. Analysis

         Plaintiff has previously filed a complaint in this court raising substantially similar facts, causes of action, and grounds for relief. See Jordan v. Wilson, C/A No. 3:18-1589-JFA (D.S.C. June 11, 2018) (“Jordan I”). Jordan I was summarily dismissed without prejudice on August 7, 2018. Id. As in her previous case, Plaintiff provides insufficient factual allegations in the instant complaint to state a cognizable federal claim.

         Plaintiff filed her complaint seeking to prove defendants violated South Carolina criminal laws concerning the sale of the Property. [ECF No. 1]. Plaintiff, however, may not pursue a claim based on the State of South Carolina's failure to prosecute defendants for purported criminal offenses. Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to, or a judicially-cognizable interest in, the criminal prosecution or non-prosecution of another person or entity. See Leeke v. Timmerman, 454 U.S. 83, 86-87 (1981). “[T]he benefit that a third party may receive from having someone else arrested for a crime generally does not trigger protections under the Due Process Clause, neither in its procedural nor in its ‘substantive' manifestations.” Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748, 768 (2005). The undersigned finds Plaintiff cannot cure the deficiencies of her complaint because her claims concerning defendants' purported violations of South Carolina criminal law fail to state a cause of action that can be brought in this court. Accordingly, any amendment would be futile.

         III. Conclusion and Recommendation

         For the foregoing reasons, the undersigned recommends that this case be dismissed without prejudice and ...

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