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Hulan v. Coffee County Municipal

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga

March 4, 2019

ROBERT EUGENE HULAN Plaintiff,
v.
COFFEE COUNTY MUNICIPAL, et al. Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          CHRISTOPHER H. STEGER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Robert Eugene Hulan, pro se, filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1]. Because I conclude his complaint does not state a claim for which relief can be granted, I RECOMMEND this action be DISMISSED and the application to proceed in forma pauperis be DENIED as moot.

         II. Responsibility to Review Complaint

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court is responsible for screening all actions filed by plaintiffs-including non-prisoners seeking in forma pauperis status-and for dismissing any action or portion thereof which is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir.1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007) and La Fountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d 944, 951 (6th Cir. 2013); Smith v. Lindamood, No. 1:16-cv-86, 2017 WL 444830, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. Feb. 2, 2017); Johns v. Maxey, No. 2:07-cv-238, 2008 WL 4442467, at *1 (E.D. Tenn. Sept. 25, 2008) (Greer, J.).

         III. Discussion

         The standard required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to properly state a claim for which relief can be granted is the same standard required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Brand v. Motley, 526 F.3d 921, 924 (6th Cir. 2008); accord Thomas v. Eby, 481 F.3d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 2007). In determining whether a party has set forth a claim in his complaint for which relief can be granted, all well-pleaded factual allegations contained in the complaint must be accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam), Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S 544, 555 (2007). “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569-70.) Further, a pro se pleading must be liberally construed and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Nevertheless, the complaint must be sufficient “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, Wyson Corp. v. APN, Inc., 889 F.3d 267, 270 (6th Cir. 2018) ("The question is whether [plaintiff's] complaint[] contain[s] factual allegations that, when accepted as true, set out plausible claims for relief.") This requirement simply means that the factual content pled by a plaintiff must permit a court “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         Plaintiff has submitted a form complaint in which he names "COFFEE COUNTY MUNICIPAL CORPORATION and AGENTS" as defendants [Doc. 2, Complaint]. He lists the jurisdictional statutes, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1332, and 1334, as the sole basis for his claim [Id.]. His only factual allegation is "[C]limate damged [sic] by COFFEE COUNTY MUNICIPAL CORPORATION and AGENTS." [Id.]. These allegations are not sufficient to state a claim for which relief can be granted as they give defendants no notice of the claim brought against them or the factual basis for that claim. Accordingly, it is RECOMMENDED that this action be DISMISSED without prejudice and the application for in forma pauperis status be DENIED as moot.[1]

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Notes:

[1] Any objections to this Report and Recommendation must be served and filed within fourteen (14) days after service of a copy of this recommended disposition on the objecting party. Such objections must conform to the requirements of Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Failure to file objections within the time specified constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal the District Court's order. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 88 L.Ed.2d 435, 106 S.Ct. 466 (1985). The district court need not provide de novo review where objections to this report and recommendation are frivolous, conclusive or general. Mira v. Marshall,806 F.2d 636 ...


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