United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
BRENT A. ROWAN, Plaintiff,
MEMPHIS BONDING CO. et al., Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915
CHARMIANE G. CLAXTON, Magistrate Judge.
On July 19, 2013, Plaintiff Brent A. Rowan, a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint captioned "Complaint for the Violations of Civil Rights Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983" against Memphis Bonding Co., accompanied by a motion seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket Entries ("D.E.") 1 & 2.) On October 7, 2013, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (D.E. # 4).
The complaint alleges that
"After my release from 201 Poplar Avenue, I walked to the Memphis Bonding Company. The representative informed me that my bond was posted by Ida B. Winston. Afterwards, I sought legal representation from Atty. John Priest. His office is on Exchange Avenue. At that time, I was not given a bill or invoice. My aunt used my ATM card to bail me out of jail. On July 15, 2013 at 6:10P.M. my aunt called me and informed me that I owe a bill. She was not very polite. However, my bank records reflect a payment on the outstanding balance before my release from jail."
Plaintiff states that he "would like the court to determine the exact amount due as of 07/17/2013. I would also like to request a bond hearing...I need the courts to inform Memphis Bonding Company of my indigency and disabilities which limit my income to federal disability. Inasmuch, I would like the courts to review documents for a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case. I need the courts to determine whether or not my civil rights are violated."
The Court is required to screen in forma pauperis complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the action-
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the Court applies the standards under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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). 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) (alteration in original). "[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. Any complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Hill, 630 F.3d at 470 (citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 328-29 (1989)).
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." Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327, 109 S.Ct. 1827 (interpreting 28 U.S.C. § 1915). Unlike a dismissal for failure to state a claim, where a judge must accept all factual allegations as true, Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50, a judge does ...