Muhammad v. Social Security Administration et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Ellen L. Hollander on 1/4/2016. (c/m 1/5/16 bas, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
DRELIJAH J. MUHAMMAD, a/k/a MARCUS
O. TATE/TAITE, #180664
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
INSURANCE CORP PROCEEDS BONDS,
ESTATES, TRUSTS, XYZ
Civil Action No. ELH-15-3969
Plaintiff, a self-represented litigant who is housed in an Alabama state prison, filed the
above captioned case on December 28, 2015. See ECF 1. He has not paid the filing fee, nor has
he submitted an affidavit and motion seeking in forma pauperis status. Because the Complaint
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, plaintiff will not be required to correct
the filing fee deficiency.
The Complaint is not a model of clarity. See ECF 1. Read broadly, it appears to contain
a diatribe concerning plaintiff’s disgruntlement with his assignment of a social security number
and birth certificate. The assertions consist of legal conclusions that are based on the kind of
rhetoric espoused by various anti-government groups such as the Moorish Americans, Sovereign
Citizens, and the Flesh and Blood movement. Id.
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a complaint must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
And, Rule 8(e)(1) requires that each averment of a pleading be “simple, concise, and direct.” A
plaintiff must do more than make conclusory assertions in order to state a claim. A complaint
must contain sufficient factual information to put defendants on notice of their alleged
See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In addition, a complaint must “‘give the defendant fair
notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.’” Swirkiewicz v.
Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
To be sure, this court must liberally construe a complaint filed by a self-represented
litigant. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 .S. 89, 94 (2007). But, a court is not obliged to ferret through a
complaint, searching for viable claims. District courts are not required “to conjure up questions
never squarely presented to them.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir.
1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1088 (1986). Moreover, a federal court does not act as an advocate
for a self-represented litigant. See Brock v. Carroll, 107 F.3d 241, 242-43 (4th Cir. 1996). Put
another way, liberal construction does not mean that a court can ignore a clear failure in the
pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim cognizable in federal district court. See Weller v.
Dept of Soc. Serv., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990). To the contrary, a court may dismiss a
complaint that is “so confused, ambiguous, vague or otherwise unintelligible that its true
substance, if any, is well disguised.” Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir.1988).
Here, the Complaint is not a “short and plain statement,” nor is it “concise and direct.”
To the contrary, the convoluted narrative renders it incomprehensible. Indeed, it “places an
unjustifiable burden on defendants to determine the nature of the claim against them and to
speculate” about their “defenses . . . .” Holsey v. Collins, 90 F.R.D. 122 (D. Md. 1981); see also
Spencer v. Hedges, 838 F.2d 1210 (Table) (4th Cir. 1988). Thus, the Complaint must be
An Order follows.
January 4, 2016
Ellen L. Hollander
United States District Judge.
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