United States District Court, D. South Carolina
D. George Sweigert, a/k/a David George Sweigert, Plaintiff,
Jason Goodman, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Bristow Marchant, United States Magistrate Judge.
a civil action filed by the D. George Sweigert, also known as
David George Sweigert, pro se, and is before the Court for
pre-service review. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B);
In re Prison Litigation Reform Act, 105
F.3d 1131, 1134 (6th Cir. 1997)[pleadings by non-prisoners
should also be screened]. Although Plaintiff is not
proceeding in forma pauperis, this filing is
nonetheless subject to review pursuant to the inherent
authority of this Court to ensure that a plaintiff has
standing; that subject matter jurisdiction exists; and that a
case is not frivolous. See Ross v. Baron, 493 Fed.Appx.
405, 406 (4th Cir. Aug. 22, 2012); Fitzgerald v. First
East Seventh St. Tenants Corp., 221 F.3d 362, 363-64 (2d
Cir. 2000); see also Pillay v. INS, 45 F.3d 14,
16-17 (2d Cir. 1995)[noting that although 28 U.S.C. §
1915(d) was not applicable where a pro se party filed an
appeal and paid the filing fee, the court had "inherent
authority, wholly aside from any statutory warrant, to
dismiss an appeal or petition for review as frivolous"].
Therefore, this Complaint is subject to review pursuant to
the inherent authority of this Court to ensure that subject
matter jurisdiction exists and that the case is not
frivolous. See, e.g., Carter v.
Ervin, No. 14-0865, 2014 WL 2468351 (D.S.C. June 2,
2014). appeal dism'd, 585 Fed.Appx. 98 (4th Cir.
2014); Cornelius v. Howell, No. 06-3387, 2007 WL
397449, *3 (D.S.C. Jan. 8, 2007), adopted by, 2007 WL 4952430
(D.S.C. Jan. 30, 2007), aff'd, 251 Fed.Appx. 246 (2007).
cert. denied, 553 U.S. 1057 (2008).
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), and a federal district court
is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a
pro se litigant to allow for the development of a potentially
meritorious case. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 93 (2007) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007)); Hughes v.
Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980). Even so, the requirement of
liberal construction does not mean that a 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 (2009) [outlining pleading requirements under Rule 8
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for "all civil
actions"]. 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; however, a district court may
not rewrite a complaint to include claims that were never
presented, Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128 (10th
Cir: 1999), construct the plaintiffs legal arguments for him,
Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411 (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).
rambling Amended Complaint, Plaintiff appears to be
attempting to assert claims pursuant to the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C.
§§ 1961-1968. Plaintiff, a citizen of California,
states that Defendant Jason Goodman, a citizen of New York,
is the owner of Multimedia System Design, Inc., which
operates the CrowdSource the Truth (CSTT) internet website.
Plaintiff alleges that there is a racketeering pattern of a
CSTT journalist claiming to have specialized access to
sensational information, an assertion that a
reporter/researcher is in danger from deep state operatives
because of the research efforts, broadcasts by CSTT of the
need for money, targeting of those who question the need for
funds with actions directed to ruin the questioner's
reputation, and financial gain by the enterprise from
silencing its critics. Amended Complaint, ECF No. 5
discusses a "dirty [radioactive] bomb" threat made
concerning an inbound container ship (the Maersk Memphis) at
the Wando Terminal of the Charleston, South Carolina port on
June 14, 2017. He alleges that the United States Coast Guard
(USCG) shortly thereafter attributed the bomb threat to a
"Midwestern conspiracy theorist" (Id. at
2), but failed to find the true perpetrator of the bomb hoax.
Plaintiff claims that Goodman and his "associates,"
including Plaintiff s brother George Webb Sweigert (also
known as George Webb) and CSTT were responsible for spreading
information and rumors that lead to the bomb threat
(allegedly based on information provided to George Webb
Sweigert by a contract FBI informant). Plaintiff contends
that the Defendant and others (Plaintiff has not named any of
these other persons as defendants to this action) pose as
investigative journalists, intelligence experts, or
researchers, and that they fabricate news reports or
"junk science" and coordinate attacks on
individuals. Plaintiff claims that the Defendant and his
associates have harassed and humiliated him by discrediting
Plaintiffs articles and a book he wrote about the Charleston
Port incident, wrongly accusing him of committing crimes, and
wrongly accusing him of protecting pedophiles. Id.
at 40, 42. He requests injunctive relief and monetary
damages. Id. at 41 -42.
court can raise the issue of venue sua sponte.
See Feller v. Brock, 802 F.2d 722, 729 n. 7 (4th
Cir. 1986); Magic Toyota. Inc. v. Southeast Toyota
Distribs., Inc., 784 F.Supp. 306, 321 (D.S.C.1992).
Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to indicate
that venue is proper in the District Court for the District
of South Carolina. In general, venue is only proper in:
(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if
all defendants are residents of the State in which the
district is located;
(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the
events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a
substantial part of property that is the subject of the
action is situated; or
(3) if there is no district in which an action may otherwise
be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district
in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal
jurisdiction with respect to such action.
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
reading of the Amended Complaint reveals that the District of
South Carolina does not satisfy any of the subsections of 28
U.S.C. § 1391 (b) for venue to be proper in this
District. Defendant is alleged to be a citizen of New York.
Although Plaintiff complains about the dirty bomb hoax at the
Wando port, the only allegations of activities taken by the
Defendant in South Carolina are that the Defendant allegedly
placed a telephone call to the USCG on June 14, 2017. While
Plaintiff also asserts claims about incidents that occurred
both prior to and after the bomb threat, the majority of the
Defendant's alleged actions were taken in or from New
York, with other incidents allegedly occurring in the
District of Columbia, Maryland, and places other than South
RICO action, the general venue provision as well as the RICO
venue provision apply. Because venue is not proper here
pursuant to § 1391 and because Plaintiff also purports
to bring a RICO claim,  venue ...