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Taliaferro v. United States

September 8, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief District Judge Curtis L. Collier


Before the Court is the complaint of plaintiff Roger Duane Taliaferro ("Plaintiff"). Plaintiff has proceeded in this action pro se and in forma pauperis (Court File No. 4). Several defendants have filed motions to dismiss, and other defendants have not yet been served. Under the briefing schedule established by the local rules of the Eastern District of Tennessee, the time has not yet run for Plaintiff to respond to the motions to dismiss by most of the defendants. However, the complaint fails to state a claim for relief, and the Court will DISMISS the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).


Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis in this action (Court File No. 4). A court shall dismiss a case proceeding in forma pauperis at any time if the court determines that the action or appeal "is frivolous or malicious; [or] fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). "The courts have no discretion in permitting a plaintiff to amend a complaint to avoid a sua sponte dismissal. If a complaint falls within the requirements of § 1915(e)(2) when filed, then the district court must sua sponte dismiss the complaint." In re Prison Litigation Reform Act, 105 F.3d 1131, 1138 (6th Cir. 1997). "A complaint is frivolous only if the plaintiff fails to present a claim with 'an arguable basis either in law or in fact.'" Brand v. Motley, 526 F.3d 921, 923 (6th Cir. 2008). The standards for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2) or Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) are identical. Id. at 924.

In reviewing a Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, Bloch v. Ribar, 156 F.3d 673, 677 (6th Cir. 1998), accepts the complaint's factual allegations as true, Broyde v. Gotham Tower, Inc., 13 F.3d 994, 996 (6th Cir. 1994), and determines whether the plaintiff has pleaded "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, -- U.S. --, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007) (rejecting traditional Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). The Court may not grant a 12(b)(6) motion based upon its disbelief of a complaint's factual allegations, Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 377 (6th Cir. 1995), nor should the Court weigh the evidence or evaluate the credibility of witnesses, id. (citing Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)). The question is not whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether "the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." Kroll v. United States, 58 F.3d 1087 (6th Cir. 1995); Ecclesiastical Order of the ISM of AM., Inc. v. Internal Revenue Serv., 725 F.2d 398, 403 (6th Cir. 1984). At the same time, bare assertions of legal conclusions are insufficient, and the complaint "must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988).


A. Constitutional Violations

Plaintiff alleges all defendants engaged in a conspiracy to deprive him of his rights under the United States Constitution. The complaint frequently makes these allegations of conspiracies, but Plaintiff has alleged no facts in the complaint, which if true, would establish either the existence of a conspiracy or a violation of the United States Constitution. Instead the complaint makes vague allegations related to the war on drugs, the public educational system, the fact Plaintiff was granted custody of his children after divorce, the 2008 presidential election, and the existence of the United States Government generally. Without exception the complaint fails to either provide facts that would allow the Court to consider whether a cause of action exists or provide some viable legal theory upon which relief might be granted. Consider as an example, the paragraph condemning the "drug war" on page 5:

Such as, plaintiff will show how the defendants, named in this action, have perpetrated such an atrocity as a corrupt, unlawful, unconstitutional, and extremely fraudulent and terroristic, organized, and syndicated, socially imposed upon activity known as the "Drug War," for the sake and benefit of economically controlled prosperity, and control over social and economic conditions, all for the benefit of certain individuals, and, thereby victimizing countless innocent individuals, such as plaintiff, and causing physical and mental suffering throughout the entire world of human beings, as they have trechored, fraudulently, and vicsiously against others, for the sake of prosperity for certain others, and such, via its entwinement into the world markets, a Drug War" socialization.*fn1

Plaintiff apparently disagrees with the war on drugs, but provides no facts or legal theories explaining how the War on Drugs violates a provision of the United States Constitution or any facts which would give him standing to raise such a claim. Indeed the only specific language or right cited by Plaintiff is the right to the pursuit of happiness, which does not appear in the United States Constitution, but is in the Declaration of Independence. However, this does not give rise to a cause of action. In short, Plaintiff provides no plausible claim against any of the governmental defendants.

Plaintiff does mention "violations of perpetrations against his nation origin, his skin color, his race, his religion, and his creed, as well as violations of a corrupt nature, involving various operations and interrealations of government agencies, the ministry organizations, private companies and major corporations, and the public in general." (Complaint at 2). But there are no allegations in the Complaint, which could sustain a claim under either the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or under the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment as against the United States.

"The threshold element of an equal protection claim is disparate treatment; once disparate treatment is shown, the equal protection analysis to be applied is determined by the classification used by government decision-makers." Scarbrough v. Morgan County Bd. of Educ., 470 F.3d 250, 260 (6th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff does not identify any particular governmental decisions or actions that have injured him in particular. Nor does Plaintiff allege any disparate treatment, but merely rephrases his accusation that a vast conspiracy exists to deprive him of his rights in a variety of ways, without indicating which rights were infringed.

Plaintiff fails to allege any specific violations of the United States Constitution or any other viable claim against the United States or the other governmental entities party to this action. Some of Plaintiff's claims against these defendants are frivolous and are without basis in law or fact, others fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. For these ...

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