United States District Court, D. Delaware
Johnson, Wilmington, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
ANDREWS, U.S. District Judge
Wilbur Johnson, commenced this civil rights action on August
28, 2017. (D.I. 2). He appears pro se and has been
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I.
4). The Court proceeds to review and screen the Complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
17, 2017, Defendant City of Wilmington, filed a writ of
monition to recover payment of owed taxes and assessments and
naming Plaintiff and Delores C. Johnson as Defendants. (D.I.
2 at p.10-14). The case is filed in the Superior Court of the
State of Delaware in and for New Castle County, City of
Wilmington v. Johnson, C.A. No. N17J-05456. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants through false facts, fraud, trickery,
deceit, harassment, color of law, extortion, malfeasance, and
a "diabolic systematic" scheme, are
unconstitutionally depriving Plaintiff and his family of
their property in violation of the Constitution and numerous
laws. (D.I. 2 at 5). Plaintiff states that he is in the
process of trying to sell the property and that the City is
attempting take his family property without due process and
equal access to the courts. The Court takes judicial notice
that the real property at issue was sold at a Sheriff Sale on
October 10, 2017, and that Plaintiff was advised of the sale.
See C.A. No. N17J-05456, at BL-11. The state case
remains pending and, to date, there has been no transfer of
seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as
injunctive relief to stay the Court action.
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. 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, 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.
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).
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. Tourscherv. McCullough, 184 F.3d
236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999). 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. 2002).
well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and
conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662
(2009); Bell Atl. 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.
reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint must take three
steps: (1) take note of the elements the plaintiff must lead
to state a claim; (2) identify allegations that, because they
are no more than conclusions, are not well-pleaded factual
allegations; and (3) when there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, assume their veracity and then determine whether
they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.
Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787
(3d Cir. 2016). Elements are sufficiently alleged when the
facts in the complaint "show" that the plaintiff is
entitled to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). 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
the Younger abstention doctrine, a federal district
court must abstain from hearing a federal case which
interferes with certain state proceedings. See Younger v.
Harris,401 U.S. 37 (1971). The Court may raise the
issue of Younger abstention sua sponte.
O'Neill v. City of Philadelphia,32 F.3d 785, 786
n.1 (3d Cir. 1994). Under Younger, federal courts
are prevented from enjoining pending state proceedings absent
extraordinary circumstances.Middlesex Cnty. Ethics Comm.
v. Garden State Bar Ass'n,457 U.S. 423, 437 (1982).
Abstention is appropriate only when: (1) there are ongoing
state proceedings that are judicial in nature; (2) the state
proceedings implicate important state interests; and (3) the
state proceedings provide an adequate opportunity to raise
the federal claims. Lazaridis v. Wehmer, 591 F.3d
666, 670 ...