United States District Court, D. Delaware
LERON W. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
CLAYTON'S HITCH SHOP AND TRAILER REPAIR C/O C. MICHAEL HAMILTON, individually and as the potential owner of Hamilton's Towing, Defendant.
Leron W. Williams ("Plaintiff') commenced this civil
rights action on January 17, 2019. (D.I. 2) He proceeds
pro se and has been granted in forma
pauperis status. (D.I. 4) Plaintiff filed this action
alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1981(a) and (c), 42
U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) and 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000h-2. The Court proceeds to review and screen the
matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b).
appears that a "friend" of Plaintiff used his 1999
Toyota Forerunner without his authorization, the vehicle was
not returned, and Plaintiff reported it stolen. (D.I. 2 at 2)
Plaintiff alleges this led to the actual theft of the
vehicle. (Id.) Plaintiff explains that he was told
that Defendant C. Michael Hamilton ("Hamilton") had
towed the vehicle. (D.I. 2 at 2) Plaintiff "went to see
about paying to get it out after it was unlawfully
stolen." (Id.) He alleges that Hamilton
was reluctant to give Plaintiff any meaningful information
and it was obvious that Hamilton was "covering up"
for an unnamed "local public safety entity."
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Hamilton of
Hamilton's Towing told Plaintiff that his vehicle was
gone and sold as salvage in June 2018. (Id. at 3)
Plaintiff alleges that as recently as January 2019, the State
of Delaware Division of Motor vehicles states that the
vehicle is still registered in Plaintiff's name.
Plaintiff alleges that his rights have been violated due to
the color of his skin under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983,
1985(3), 1981(c), and 2000h-2. He alleges Hamilton and his
unindicted (and unnamed) co-conspirator have caused him
damages due to the gross negligence or theft of his vehicle.
(Id. at 3) Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive
damages as well as a lien on Hamilton's property.
Standard of Review.
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). When a 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. 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)). However, before dismissing a complaint
or claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
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, 574 U.S. 10 (2014). A complaint may not
dismissed, however, 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) assume the veracity of any well-pleaded factual
allegations and then determine whether those allegations
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Connelly
v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016)
(internal citations and quotations omitted). 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."
asserts jurisdiction by reason of a federal question. As will
be discussed, Complaint does not state federal claims and,
therefore, the Court lacks jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. Plaintiff invokes 28 U.S.C. § 1343 that
gives federal courts district jurisdiction over election
disputes, but such a dispute is not before the Court.
Finally, the parties are not diverse and, therefore,
jurisdiction is not proper under 28 U.S.C. §1332.