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Grant v. Harris

United States District Court, D. Delaware

June 14, 2019

WILLIAM LEE GRANT, II, Plaintiff,
v.
GREGORY K. HARRIS and JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, Defendants.

          William Lee Grant, II, Springfield, Illinois. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff William Lee Grant, II proceeds pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. This action was commenced on April 26, 2019. (D.I. 2). The Court proceeds to review and screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Joint Chiefs of Staff created him (i.e., Plaintiff) in the basement of the Pentagon in 1990 to be "The Judge" as to whether the Vietnam War constituted war crimes. He alleges that Defendant Gregory K. Harris left the Pentagon in the early 1990's to surveil him by bribing Plaintiffs family, and his peers, teachers, co-workers, and supervisors to report his words and actions to Harris. Plaintiff also complains that he was retaliated against for filing a civil rights action in 2012, and he was forced to spend seven years as a homosexual. These are just a few, of the over eighty, disjointed and fantastical allegations raised in the Complaint. Plaintiff seeks $99 trillion in compensatory damages.

         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. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008).

         An 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).

         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 ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions. Tourscherv. 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 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).

         Plaintiff proceeds pro se and, therefore, 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. 89, 94 (2007). Under Rule 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss may be granted 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 Ml. 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.'" Daw's v. Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In addition, 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, however, for imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See Id. at 10.

         When reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, a court should follow a three-step process: (1) consider the elements necessary to state a claim; (2) identify allegations that are merely conclusions and therefore are not well-pleaded factual allegations; and (3) accept any well-pleaded factual allegations as true and determine whether they plausibly state a claim. See Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016); Williams v. BASF Catalysts LLC, 765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014). 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." Id.

         DISCUSSION

         While the Court construes pro se filings liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94 (quoting Estelle v. Gamble.429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976)), Plaintiffs Complaint states no recognizable causes of action. The Court finds the Complaint contains fantastical and/or delusional claims that are insufficient to withstand the Court's evaluation for frivolity dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). See Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992) (complaint may be dismissed as lacking a basis in fact if premised upon allegations that are fanciful, fantastic, and delusional); Golden v. Coleman, 429 Fed.Appx. 73 (3d Cir. 2011). In addition, the Court notes that Plaintiff has been recognized as a frequent filer of frivolous litigation in federal courts throughout the country and he has made the same claims in many of his filings. See Grant v. United States Department of the Treasury, 2018 WL 3748415 (E.D. Tex. 2018) (dismissing complaint as barred by res judicata and as frivolous, and noting that Plaintiff had filed at least seventeen complaints in various ...


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