Bridgeforth v. Krikkana et al

Filing 5

MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 1/15/13. (mdb)

Download PDF
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE OTIS MICHAEL BRIDGEFORTH, Plaintiff, v. HARI KRIKKANA, et al., Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) Civ. Action No. 12-1504-GMS ) ) ) ) MEMORANDUM The plaintiff, Otis Michael Bridgeforth ("Bridgeforth"), filed this lawsuit on November 20,2012, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 2.) He appears pro se and was granted permission to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (D.I.4.) The court now proceeds to review and screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. I. BACKGROUND Named as defendants are the HSBC Bank and its employees who are located in Wilmington, Delaware, New York, New York, and Buffalo, New York. On November 9, 2012, Bridgeforth received a beneficiary electronic wire from a bank in London, England. He alleges that the defendants accepted the electronic wire and then conspired to fraudulently launder and steal the monies from him when they agreed not to deposit the electronic wire into his banking account. II. STANDARD OF REVIEW This court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time, certain in forma pauperis and actions that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis actions). The court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most favorable to apro se plaintiff. Phillips v. County ofAllegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,93 (2007). Because Bridgeforth proceeds pro se, his pleading is liberally construed and his complaint, "however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94 (citations omitted). An action is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,325 (1989). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), a court may dismiss a complaint as frivolous if it is "based on an indisputably meritless legal theory" or a "clearly baseless" or "fantastic or delusional" factual scenario. Neitzke, 490 at 327-28; Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989); see, e.g., Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1091-92 (3d Cir. 1995) (holding frivolous a suit alleging that prison officials took an inmate's pen and refused to give it back). The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B )(ii) is identical to the legal standard used when ruling on 12(b)(6) motions. Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236,240 (3d Cir. 1999) (applying Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) standard to dismissal for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)). However, before dismissing a complaint or claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to the screening provisions of28 U.S.C. § 1915, the court must grant Bridgeforth leave to amend his complaint unless amendment would be inequitable or futile. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002). 2 A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell All. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). The assumption of truth is inapplicable to legal conclusions or to "[t]hreadbare recitals ofthe elements of a cause of action supported by mere conclusory statements." Id. at 678. When determining whether dismissal is appropriate, the court conducts a two-part analysis. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). First, the factual and legal elements ofa claim are separated. Id. The court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. Id. at 210-11. Second, the court must determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that Bridgeforth has a "plausible claim for relief."! Id. at 211. In other words, the complaint must do more than allege Bridgeforth's entitlement to relief; rather it must "show" such an entitlement with its facts. Id. "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than a mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). III. DISCUSSION Bridgeforth filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint, however, fails to state a claim under that statute. When bringing a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege that some person has deprived him of a federal right, and that the person who caused the 1A claim is facially plausible when its factual content allows the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The plausibility standard "asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of' entitlement to relief. '" Id. 3 deprivation acted under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). None of the defendants are state actors and none of them violated his constitutional rights. Finally, the allegations are conclusory and, in this court's experience, do not state a plausible claim for relief. Therefore, the court will dismiss the complaint as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). IV. CONCLUSION For the above reasons, the court will dismiss the complaint as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Amendment is futile. An appropriate order will be entered. r--­ 15 ....j ~ ,2013 Wilmington, Delaware 4