Trammell v. Carney et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Richard G. Andrews on 6/26/2017. (nms)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
GEORGE K. TRAMMELL, Ill,
: Civil Action No. 17-556-RGA
JOHN CARNEY, et al.,
George K. Trammell, Ill, Seaford, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
Plaintiff George K. Trammell, Ill, who appears prose and has been granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis, filed this action complaining of state court actions
regarding his father's estate. (D.I. 2). Trammell asserts jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. The Court proceeds to screen the Complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Nearly five years ago, the Court of Appeals observed, "Trammell is a frequent
pro se litigator; most of his suits are nearly indecipherable and concern state court
actions regarding his father's estate." Trammell v. Trammell, 485 F. App'x 524, 525 (3d
Cir. 2012) (per curiam) (citing In re Trammell, 468 F. App'x 111 (3d Cir. 2012); Trammell
v. Trammell, 446 F. App'x 530, 531 (3d Cir. 2011 ); Trammell v. Li/lies Love & Daycare
Daycare Ctr., 448 F. App'x 188 (3d Cir. 2011 ); Trammell v. All Other Collateral Heirs of
Estate of Marie Jones Polk, 446 F. App'x 437 (3d Cir. 2011 )).
Here, Trammell names as defendants numerous state judges, court
administrators, and the current and past governors of Delaware. While not clear, the
omplaint may allege violations of federal criminal statutes as it refers to various sections
of the federal code. In addition, the complaint refers to the "seditious insurrectionist
capacity" of state judges, a hate crime, and conspiracy all apparently related to
Trammell's father's estate and the forced auction of his inherited home. There appears
to be dissatisfaction with the handling of his previous case, Trammell v. Trammell, No.
12-14-RGA, which he appealed without success. Trammell seeks compensatory
damages and injunctive relief including the eviction of unlawful occupants residing at
Trammell's inherited residence.
A federal court may properly dismiss an action sua sponte under the screening
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(8) if "the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief." Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir.
2013); see also 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 a prose plaintiff. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d
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 U.S. 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 Rule 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)(8)).
However, before dismissing a complaint or claims for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the
Court must grant Plaintiff 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.
Plaintiff proceeds pro se and, therefore, 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. 89, 94 (2007).
Under Rule 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss may be granted only if, accepting the
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, a court concludes that those allegations "could not raise a
claim of entitlement to relief." Bell At/. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007).
When reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, a court should follow a three-step
process: (1) consider the elements necessary to state a claim; (2) identify allegations
that are merely conclusions and therefore are not well-pleaded factual allegations; and
(3) accept any well-pleaded factual allegations as true and determine whether they
plausibly state a claim. See Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir.
2016); Williams v. BASF Catalysts LLC, 765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014). Deciding
whether a claim is plausible will be a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 679 (2009).
A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and conclusions.
See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell At/. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544
(2007). A plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has substantive
plausibility. See Johnson v. City of Shelby, _U.S._, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A
complaint may not dismissed, however, for imperfect statements of the legal theory
supporting the claim asserted. See id. at 346.
"Proceeding pro se does not entitle [Trammell] to file pleadings that are frivolous
or repetitive or contain personal attacks." Trammell, 485 F. App'x at 526. As stated by
the Court of Appeals, "[i]n his filings before this Court, Trammell appears to be
attempting to draw attention away from the frivolous nature of his claims by focusing on
alleged biases in the District Court and the state courts, including unfounded allegations
of criminal wrongdoing." Id. It has been several years since Trammell last appeared in
this Court. His litigation tactics, unfortunately, have not changed. After thoroughly
reviewing the Complaint and applicable law, the Court draws on its judicial experience
and common sense and finds that the claims raised by Trammell are frivolous.
Therefore, the Court will dismiss the Complaint as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
For the above reasons, the Court will: (1) dismiss the Complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). The Court finds amendment futile.
An appropriate order will be entered.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?