Hull et al v. Ponzani et al
ORDER DISMISSING CASE. This case is DISMISSED and all other pending motions are therefore DENIED as moot. The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter judgment for Defendant and close this case. Signed by Judge Victor A. Bolden on 9/6/2017.(Giammatteo, J.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
Grace Baptist Church
CIVIL CASE NO
Ruling Dismissing the Case Sua Sponte
Jonathan L. Hull (“Plaintiff”) initiated this pro se action on September 1, 2017, filing
both a complaint and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. This case is DISMISSED and all
other pending motions are therefore DENIED as moot.
Mr. Hull filed this action pro se, alleging that defendants “actively or passively
participated” in the violation of twelve separate sections of the United States Code. Compl., ECF
No. 1 at 2. He seeks “$1,000 and emotional damages” as a remedy. Id. He subsequently filed a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Mot. to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, ECF No. 4,
and a motion to seal the case, requesting the case be sealed because it contained “sensitive and
confidential information of minors.” First Mot. to Seal, ECF No. 2. Additionally, Mr. Hull
sought a temporary restraining order on September 1, 2017, stating only that “all parties preserve
all evidence, including emails.” First Mot. for Temporary Restraining Order, ECF No. 3.
In addition, Mr. Hull sought a second temporary restraining order in order to prevent
parties in this case from conferring with parties in two other matters he recently filed with the
court.1 Second Mot. For Temporary Restraining Order, ECF No. 10.
When a party files an application to proceed in forma pauperis, a court must engage in a
two-step process of review. See Bey v. Syracuse University, 155 F.R.D. 413, 413 (N.D.N.Y.
1994). First, a court must determine whether the litigant qualifies to proceed in forma pauperis
based on his or her economic status. 28 U.S.C § 1915. Second, a court must determine whether
the cause of action is without merit. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A court must dismiss the case if,
“at any time” it determines the action is “frivolous or malicious” 2 or “fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted.” Id. at § 1915(e)(2).
When a plaintiff appears pro se, the complaint must be liberally construed in the
plaintiff’s favor and must be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976).
“The power to dismiss sua sponte must be reserved for cases in which a pro se complaint is so
frivolous that, construing the complaint under the liberal rules applicable to pro se complaints, it
is unmistakably clear that the court lacks jurisdiction or that the claims are lacking in merit.”
Mendlow v. Seven Locks Facility, 86 F. Supp. 2d 55, 57 (D. Conn. 2000).
After a careful review of the Notice of Removal, Third Party Complaints, and the related
motion filings, the Court finds Mr. Hull’s claims must be dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2);
These matters are Hull v. Ponzani et al., 3:17-cv-01472-VAB (D.Conn, filed Aug. 1, 2017) and
Hull v. Ponzani et al., 3:17-cv-01473-VAB (D.Conn, filed Sept. 1, 2017).
The term “frivolous” is not intended to be insulting or demeaning; it is a term of art that has a
precise meaning. A claim is said to be frivolous if it does not have an arguable basis in law or
fact. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
Fitzgerald v. First East Seventh Street Tenants Corp. et al, 221 F.3d 362, 363 (2d Cir. 2000)
(noting that dismissal is mandatory for frivolous claims under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)). First,
despite its careful review and liberally construing the pleadings as required, the Court is unable
to identify any factual allegations that would state a recognized cause of action against the
plaintiffs or third-party defendants. Second, the pleadings are vague and merely cite federal or
state statutes without any further explanation. As this Court has previously held, pleadings that
are “fatally vague, ambiguous, or otherwise unintelligible” are properly subject to dismissal as
“frivolous.” Gonzalez v. Ocwen Home Loan Servicing, 74 F. Supp. 3d 504, 520 (D. Conn.
2015), reconsideration denied, No. 3:14-CV-53 (CSH), 2015 WL 2124365 (D. Conn. May 6,
2015), and aff'd sub nom. Gonzalez v. Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co., 632 F. App'x 32 (2d Cir.
This case therefore DISMISSED. The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter judgment
for Defendant and close this case.
SO ORDERED at Bridgeport, Connecticut, this 6th day of September, 2017.
/s/ Victor A. Bolden
Victor A. Bolden
United States District Judge
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