United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
F. McDonald United States Magistrate Judge.
plaintiff, proceeding pro se, brings this civil action
seeking damages pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organization Act (“RICO”), 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, Bivens v. Six Unknown
Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388
(1971), and various state law causes of action (doc. 1).
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and
Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.), this magistrate judge
is authorized to review all pretrial matters in this case and
submit findings and recommendations to the district court.
plaintiff seeks damages against Drug Enforcement
Administration Agents Randy Smith and John Garrett, as well
as various other DEA agents and state officers, for
“erroneously” prosecuting him on federal and
state charges, and for seizing his legitimate business
proceeds as suspected drug money (doc. 1 at 3). He alleges
that his federal charges were dismissed, but Agent Smith then
conspired to have state charges brought against him, so as to
delay the return of his seized money (id.). He
further alleges these actions were unconstitutional, and that
the defendants have continued in their “attempt to
harass, intimidate and wreak terror and fear” in him
(id. at 4). In his assorted claims, the plaintiff
presents additional allegations, including: (Count 1) the
defendants had “the assistance and participation”
of South Carolina courts, prosecutors, and other law
enforcement in committing various federal crimes, and that
his prosecution and money seizure was “related to
construction dollars from Middle Eastern repairs, renovations
and construction work based on government activities related
to the ongoing war efforts in other parts of the
world”; (Count 4) that he was denied the same rights as
white people; and (Count 7) that the defendants' actions
interfered with his barbershop business and his
“representation of a first round draft pick, Jadaveon
plaintiff alleges he has suffered humiliation, emotional
distress, embarrassment, and lost wages. For relief, he seeks
an injunction against continued criminal prosecution, and
millions of dollars in damages (id. at 14-15).
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 (2007) (per curiam). 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, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of the pro se pleadings. This
court possesses the inherent authority to review the pro se
complaint to ensure that subject matter jurisdiction exists
and that a case is not frivolous, even if the pleading is not
subject to the pre-screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1915. See Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court,
490 U.S. 296, 307-08 (1989) (“Section 1915(d) . . .
authorizes courts to dismiss a ‘frivolous or
malicious' action, but there is little doubt they would
have power to do so even in the absence of this statutory
provision.”); Ross v. Baron, 493 Fed.Appx.
405, 406 (4th Cir. 2012) (unpublished) (finding that
“frivolous complaints are subject to dismissal pursuant
to the inherent authority of the court, even when the filing
fee has been paid . . . [and] because a court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction over an obviously frivolous complaint,
dismissal prior to service of process is permitted.”
(citations omitted)); see also Fitzgerald v. First E.
Seventh St. Tenants Corp., 221 F.3d 362, 364 (2d Cir.
2000) (finding that “district courts may dismiss a
frivolous complaint sua sponte even when the plaintiff has
paid the required filing fee”). Accordingly,
“[t]he present 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.” Trawick v. Med. Univ. of S.C., C/A
No. 2:16-730-DCN-MGB, 2016 WL 8650132, at *4 (D.S.C. June 28,
2016), Report and Recommendation adopted by 2016 WL 8650131
(D.S.C. July 7, 2016), aff'd 671 Fed.Appx. 85 (4th Cir.
initial matter, the court takes judicial notice of the
plaintiff's past civil and criminal proceedings in the
United States District Court for the District of South
Carolina, as well as the plaintiff's pending criminal
charges in the Greenville County Court of General
Sessions. See Bennett v. Special Inspector Gen.
for Afghanistan Reconstruction, C/A No. 6:15-3620-TMC
(D.S.C.); United States v. Bennett, Cr. No.
6:13-746-DCN-1 (D.S.C.); United States of Am. v. 25, 000
dollars in U.S. Currency, C/A No. 6:12-779-MGL (D.S.C.);
United States v. Bennett, Cr. No. 6:11-714-GRA-1
(D.S.C.); Greenville County Public Index,
county.org/SCJD/PublicIndex/PISearch.aspx, (enter the
plaintiff's name) (last visited July 10, 2019). For the
reasons that follow, the instant matter is subject to summary
dismissal because the claims appear patently
well-settled that the Court has the authority to dismiss
claims that are obviously “fantastic” or
“delusional.” Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 74 (4th
Cir. 1994); Raiford v. FBI, C/A No.
1:10-2751-MBS-JRM, 2010 WL 6737887, at *3 (D.S.C. Nov. 17,
2010), Report and Recommendation adopted by 2011 WL 2020729
(D.S.C. May 23, 2011) (explaining a finding of factual
frivolousness is appropriate when “the facts alleged
rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly
incredible”). In reviewing a complaint for
frivolousness or malice, the Court looks to see whether the
Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
fantastic or delusional scenarios. Harley v. United
States, 349 F.Supp.2d 980, 981 (M.D. N.C. 2004) (citing
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989)). The Court
must accept all well-pled allegations and review the
Complaint in a light most favorable to plaintiff. Mylan
Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir.
plaintiff's complaint is comprised of factual allegations
that are not credible, and which fail to state a claim for
relief. The plaintiff references the dismissal of federal
charges as the wellspring of his claims, but provides no
valid factual allegations to credibly show that the charges
lacked merit when sought, nor that their dismissal and
subsequent state action gave rise to actionable claims here.
His conclusory claims that federal agents conspired with
others to prosecute him and seize his money for Middle
Eastern projects, standing alone, are clearly delusional and
frivolous, and they fail to show any arguable basis in fact
or law. See Neal v. Duke Energy, C/A No.
6:11-1420-HFF-KFM, 2011 WL 5083181, at *4 (D.S.C. June 30,
2011), Report and Recommendation adopted by 2011 WL 5082193
(D.S.C. Oct. 26, 2011) (dismissing action upon finding
plaintiff's factual allegations were frivolous, fanciful,
and delusional where plaintiff claimed defendants
clandestinely placed a GPS device in her car while it was in
the shop for repairs and that she was being stalked by the
defendants, noting the allegations were “made without
any viable factual supporting allegations and appears to be
the product of paranoid fantasy”); Feurtado v.
McNair, C/A No. 3:05-1933-SB, 2006 WL 1663792, at *2
(D.S.C. Jun. 15, 2006) (noting that frivolousness encompasses
inarguable legal conclusions and fanciful factual
allegations), aff'd, 227 Fed.Appx. 303 (4th Cir. 2007),
petition for cert. dismissed, 553 U.S. 1029 (2008).
aside from alleging that the defendants are framing the
plaintiff to cover up their illegal actions, the
plaintiff's complaint contains only conclusory formulaic
recitations of the elements of each cause of action. For
example, the plaintiff's delusional allegations include
that his pending state criminal charges are
“spurious” and are “directly related to the
illegal misconduct complained of herein” (doc. 1 at 9).
Moreover, here, the plaintiff also seeks additional damages
relating to the seizure of money from him during his criminal
prosecutions, but he has already recovered the funds and
litigated these matters. See States of Am. v. 25, 000
dollars in U.S. Currency, C/A No. 6:12-779-MGL (D.S.C.).
As such, summary dismissal of the complaint is appropriate
pursuant to the inherent authority of the court.