Brown v. State of Delaware and Affiliates et al

Filing 5

MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Judge Maryellen Noreika on 1/17/2023. (mkr)

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Case 1:22-cv-01286-MN Document 5 Filed 01/17/23 Page 1 of 5 PageID #: 20 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE LOTTORIA N. BROWN, Plaintiff, v. STATE OF DELAWARE AND AFFILIATES, et al., Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) C.A. No. 22-1286 (MN) MEMORANDUM OPINION Lottoria N. Brown, Wilmington, DE – Pro Se Plaintiff January 17, 2023 Wilmington, Delaware Case 1:22-cv-01286-MN Document 5 Filed 01/17/23 Page 2 of 5 PageID #: 21 NOREIKA, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE: Plaintiff Lottoria N. Brown (“Plaintiff”) filed this action on September 30, 2022. (D.I. 2). Plaintiff appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 4). This Court proceeds to screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b). I. BACKGROUND Plaintiff alleges that over the last twenty years Defendants have paid people from the entertainment businesses to steal money from vulnerable women like Plaintiff. (D.I. 2 at 4). Plaintiff provides a litany of offenses including sex trafficking, deprivation of human rights, stalking, drugging, placing children in foster care, false representation, false imprisonment and sexual assault. (Id. at 4-5). Plaintiff alleges “they paid an entertainer to make sure [Plaintiff] had no money so they could hold [her] hostage.” (Id. at 5). Although the Complaint does not reference a particular statute, the civil cover sheet indicates the case is brought pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591, 2421 and 2422. (D.I. 2-1). Plaintiff seeks $1.5 billion dollars in damages. (Id. at 7). II. LEGAL STANDARDS A federal court may properly dismiss an action sua sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) 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 pro se plaintiff. See Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, her pleading is liberally construed and her Complaint, “however inartfully 1 Case 1:22-cv-01286-MN Document 5 Filed 01/17/23 Page 3 of 5 PageID #: 22 pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citations omitted). A complaint is not automatically frivolous because it fails to state a claim. See Dooley v. Wetzel, 957 F.3d. 366, 374 (3d Cir. 2020) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 331 (1989)); see also Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 112 (3d Cir. 2002). “Rather, a claim is frivolous only where it depends ‘on an “indisputably meritless legal theory” or a “clearly baseless” or “fantastic or delusional” factual scenario.’” Dooley v. Wetzel, 957 F.3d at 374 (quoting Mitchell v. Horn, 318 F.3d 523, 530 (2003) and Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28). 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 deciding Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motions. See 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)). 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, however, must grant a plaintiff leave to amend her complaint unless amendment would be inequitable or futile. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d at 114. A complaint may be dismissed 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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007). Though “detailed factual allegations” are not required, a complaint must do more than simply provide “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Davis v. Abington Mem’l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, 2 Case 1:22-cv-01286-MN Document 5 Filed 01/17/23 Page 4 of 5 PageID #: 23 accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. See Williams v. BASF Catalysts LLC, 765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) and Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Finally, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has substantive plausibility. See Johnson v. City of Shelby, 574 U.S. 10 (2014). A complaint may not be dismissed for imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See id. at 10. Under the pleading regime established by Twombly and Iqbal, a court reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint must take three steps: (1) take note of the elements the plaintiff must plead to state a claim; (2) identify allegations that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth; and (3) when there are well-pleaded factual allegations, assume their veracity and determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. See Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). Deciding whether a claim is plausible will be a “contextspecific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. III. DISCUSSION Although this Court construes pro se filings liberally, Plaintiff’s Complaint states no cognizable claims. The claims are raised under federal criminal statutes 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591, 2421 and 2422. To the extent that Plaintiff seeks to impose criminal liability upon Defendants pursuant to the criminal statutes upon which she relies, she lacks standing to proceed. See Allen v. Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, 270 F. App’x 149, 150 (3d Cir. 2008); see United States v. Friedland, 83 F.3d 1531, 1539 (3d Cir. 1996) (“[T]he United States Attorney is responsible for the prosecution of all criminal cases within his or her district.”). Whether to 3 Case 1:22-cv-01286-MN Document 5 Filed 01/17/23 Page 5 of 5 PageID #: 24 prosecute, and what criminal charges to bring, are decisions that generally rest with the prosecutor. See United States v. Batchelder, 442 U.S. 114, 124 (1979). Moreover, while leave to amend is generally afforded a pro se plaintiff, after thoroughly reviewing the Complaint and applicable law, this Court drawing on its judicial experience and common sense, finds that the claims are frivolous and that further amendment would be futile. Therefore, the claims will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). IV. CONCLUSION For the above reasons, this Court will dismiss the Complaint as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). Amendment is futile. An appropriate Order will be entered. 4

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