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Harris v. May

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

March 6, 2019

Brandy Vernon Harris, Plaintiff,
Britney May; Andres Maldonado; Christopher Price; Cameron Kirby; Sean Sercu; William Watson; Brandon Avidon; Antoine Logan; Jane Molda; Peter Lenzi; Paula Brown; Municipal Court Rock Hill S.C.; Kenneth Martin; Daniels Shealy; Keena Mccrorey; Justin Spader; Lewis Raymes; Kenyatta Tripp; Scott Cribb; Officer Murphy; Investigator Officer Welch; Supervisor Officer Breeden; Supervisor Officer Humphries, Defendants.



         The plaintiff, Brandy Vernon Harris, proceeding pro se, brings this action 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.) By order dated January 17, 2019, the court provided Plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended complaint to correct deficiencies identified by the court that would warrant summary dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (ECF No. 10.) In response, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint and supplement.[1] (ECF No. 13 & 17.) Having reviewed the Amended Complaint in accordance with applicable law, the court concludes the Amended Complaint still fails to state a viable claim and should be summarily dismissed with prejudice and issuance of service of process.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         In both the original Complaint and the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff provides numerous copies of one page of a standard complaint form this court provides pro se litigants. In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff includes over one hundred thirty copies of that page, and Plaintiff provides similar allegations on each page. Each page includes a date, time, place, and the name of a defendant, and each has a conclusory legal phrase such as “false arrest, ” “racial discrimination, ” “deliberate indifference, ” or the like, as the apparent allegation against each defendant. Among these pages, there are eleven different dates and times listed between 2017 and 2018, and six different locations, all apparently in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Plaintiff provides no specific allegations about the defendants that explain how they violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. And though it appears all of the incidents involve arrests and legal proceedings, plaintiff provides no facts about them other than dates, times, and places. Plaintiff also attaches various arrest records and related legal documents to the Amended Complaint, but they have no clear connection to the limited allegations in the pleadings. As for relief, Plaintiff indicates she seeks “reimbursement of bail” and damages. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 13 at 127.)

         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).

         In order to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the plaintiff must do more than make mere conclusory statements. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Rather, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. The reviewing court need only accept as true the complaint's factual allegations, not its legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         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 despite having availed herself of the opportunity to cure the deficiencies previously identified by the court, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint should nonetheless be summarily dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). See Martin v. Duffy, 858 F.3d 239, 247-48 (4th Cir. 2017) (finding the plaintiff's “repeated, ineffective attempts an amendment” suggest further amendment would be futile).

         Both pleadings are nothing more than lists of defendants with corresponding constitutional violations, dates, times, and places. However, Plaintiff provides no factual allegations to support her assertions that the defendants violated her constitutional rights. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (requiring that a pleading contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief”); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (stating Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, but it requires more than a plain accusation that the defendant unlawfully harmed the plaintiff, devoid of factual support). Nor does Plaintiff identify any specific causes of action she seeks to raise against the defendants, such that the court could liberally construe the pleadings to state a cognizable legal claim. Consequently, the court finds that the Amended Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         III. Conclusion

         Accordingly, the court recommends that the Amended Complaint be summarily dismissed with prejudice and without issuance and service of process. See Workman v. Morrison Healthcare, 724 Fed.Appx. 280, 281 (4th Cir. 2018) (in a case where the district court had already afforded the plaintiff an opportunity to amend, directing the district court on remand to “in its discretion, either afford [the plaintiff] another opportunity to file an amended complaint or dismiss the complaint with prejudice, thereby rendering the ...

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