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Thomas v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

January 2, 2015

WILL THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE, ET AL., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING CASE, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE FILING FEE

JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

On August 8, 2014, Plaintiff Will Thomas, booking number 14115371, a pretrial detainee at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Complex in Memphis, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, accompanied by a motion seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) In an order issued on August 11, 2014, the Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 3.) The Clerk shall record the Defendants as the State of Tennessee; Shelby County District Attorney General Amy P. Weirich; Assistant District Attorney General H.D. Bartels; Mary Thomas, the foreperson of the grand jury; and Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffey. The factual allegations of the complaint are as follows:

On April 22nd, 2014 a True Bill indictment was returned against the Plaintiff from the Grand Jury foreperson Mary Thomas and assigned to H.D. Bartels for Prosecution from 30th Judicial Attorney General Amy P. Weirich in Criminal Court Division 7 under the supervision of Judge Lee Coffey whom all acted outside the scope of their authority by committing fraud under an endorsed oath of office while in Public office to uphold all laws of the State of Tennessee and the U.S. Constitution. Grand Jury foreperson Mary Thomas signature on a True Bill indictment was forged under misrepresentation of the State of Tennessee government ethics and accountability due to the Grand Jury foreperson being deceased and unable to certify a true bill claim. A Ponzi scheme and conspiracy to defraud the government and myself for personal gain of a public office was developed by the participation to prosecute an unlawful act against me by Amy P. Weirich (District Attorney General) and Criminal Court Division 7 Prosecutor H.D. Bartels all under Anti-Trust laws of the commerce laws due to knowingly, willingly, and intentionally conspiring in secrecy to defraud the government through embezzlement and bribery for personal gain using fraudulent tactics to prosecute me[.]

(ECF No. 1 at PageID 2-3.) Plaintiff seeks his immediate release and money damages from each Defendant in the amount of $10 million. ( Id. at PageID 4.)

By way of background, on April 22, 2014, the grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Thomas with possession of cocaine with intent to manufacture/sell/deliver. On November 14, 2014, Thomas entered a guilty plea to the first count and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of eight years. Thomas was also fined $2000. The second and third counts were resolved by nolle prosequi. [1]

The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007), are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). "Accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, the Court consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.'" Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). "[P]leadings that... are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 ("Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirement of providing not only fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also grounds' on which the claim rests.").

"A complaint can be frivolous either factually or legally." Hill, 630 F.3d at 470 (citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989)). "Any complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Id. (citing Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 328-29).

Whether a complaint is factually frivolous under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) is a separate issue from whether it fails to state a claim for relief. Statutes allowing a complaint to be dismissed as frivolous give judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless. Unlike a dismissal for failure to state a claim, where a judge must accept all factual allegations as true, a judge does not have to accept "fantastic or delusional" factual allegations as true in prisoner complaints that are reviewed for frivolousness.

Id. at 471 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

" Pro se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ' and should therefore be liberally construed." Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro se litigants, however, are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 F.Appx. 608, 612, 613 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro se complaint for failure to comply with "unique pleading requirements" and stating "a court cannot create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading'" (quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975))); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73 F.Appx. 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and stating, "[n]either this court nor the district court is required to create Payne's claim for her"); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004) ("District judges have no obligation to act as counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants."); Young Bok Song v. Gipson, 423 F.Appx. 506, 510 (6th Cir. 2011) ("[W]e decline to affirmatively require courts to ferret out the strongest cause of action on behalf of pro se litigants. Not ...


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