United States District Court, D. Delaware
Gregory Lee Collins, Jr., Bear, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
ANDREWS, U.S. District Judge
Gregory Lee Collins, Jr., proceeds pro se and has
been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. He
commenced this action on October 10, 2018, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, complaining of violations of his right to
due process and equal protection in the Texas State Courts
during divorce and child custody proceedings. (D.I. 2). The
Court proceeds to review and screen the Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
alleges that the Family District Courts of Dallas County,
Texas "fraudulently rendered default judgment and
separation from his 5-month-old son. [He] has suffered from
an undue financial burden of $2, 200.00 in monthly child and
medical support and a custom possession order that only
allows for visitation with his only son at his former marital
property for approximately 7 days per year. He was denied any
distribution of equity in the marital property which he
helped purchase and renovate." (D.I. 2 at 1-2).
Plaintiff complains of actions taken by personnel in the
Dallas County Domestic Relations Office and also complains
that his mother is denied visitation with her only
grandchild. (Id. at 2-3).
alleges violations of his constitutional rights under the
United States Constitution and the Delaware Constitution. He
seeks declaratory relief; asks the Court to set aside the
Final Decree of Divorce entered in No. DF-16-06957-V;
compensatory damages; injunctive relief to preclude
enforcement of the divorce decree; and issuance of an order
granting him temporary custody of the minor child, temporary
child and medical support, and temporary spousal support.
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). 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 be 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 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 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
Court has an independent obligation to address issues of
subject matter jurisdiction. See Zambelli Fireworks Mfg.
Co., Inc. v. Wood,592 F.3d 412, 418 (3d Cir. 2010).
("Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and
when there is a question as to our authority to hear a
dispute, 'it is incumbent upon the courts to resolve such
doubts, one way or the other, before proceeding to a
disposition on the merits.'"). Here, Plaintiff
states this is a "Civil Rights matter" involving
constitutional violations. However, it is readily apparent
that Plaintiff is attacking orders finding against him in the
Texas State Courts during divorce, child custody, and support
proceedings, and that he seeks review and rejection of those
decisions. The claims fall under the purview of the