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Jones v. Jones

United States District Court, D. Delaware

November 7, 2019

MATTHEW JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
KATHRYN JONES and RACHELLE CUTRONA, Defendants.

          Matthew Jones, Greenwood, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Rachelle R. Cutrona, Esquire, and Tiffany Anne Poole, Esquire, Poole, Mensinger, Cutrona & Ellsworth-Aults, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Rachelle R. Cutrona.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Andrews, U.S. District Judge.

         Plaintiff Matthew Jones, who appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, filed this action on June 25, 2019. (D.I. 2). Defendant Rachelle Cutrona filed a motion to dismiss and an amended motion to dismiss, opposed by Plaintiff. (D.I. 5, D.I. 6, D.I. 7). The Court proceeds to review and screen the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff resides in Greenwood, Delaware. (D.I. 2 at 1). Plaintiff alleges that on November 6, 2014, Defendant Kathryn Jones, through her attorney, Rachelle Cutrona, filed a lawsuit against him in the Delaware Family Court, No. N14J-04433. (Id. at 2). He alleges that judgment was entered against him one day later. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that he was never notified that a case had been filed against him, that he needed to appear in court, or that judgment was entered against him. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that he does not know Jones and has no legal relationship with her. (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges fraud, theft, and denial of his right to legal procedure and due process by Defendants, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1028 and 1341, the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and § 3103 of the Delaware Code. (Id. at 3-4). Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the judgment he has suffered serious damage to his finances, credit and reputation. (Id. at 5). He seeks $100, 000 in compensatory damages. (Id.).

         Defendant moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (D.I. 5, D.I. 7).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

         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). 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. Tourscher v. 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).

         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 Atl. 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.'" Davis 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 ...


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