United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
W. TRUMBLE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff Deltoria Gallant's
(“Plaintiff”) pro se Motion [ECF No. 2]
for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Because Plaintiff
seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, the undersigned
must conduct a preliminary review to determine whether
Plaintiff's pro se Complaint [ECF No. 1] sets
forth any viable claims. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Because the undersigned concludes that this
Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
Title VII claims and the remainder of Plaintiff's
Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, the undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's
Complaint be dismissed, without prejudice, and
Plaintiffs' motion to proceed in forma pauperis
be denied as moot.
filing her complaint, Plaintiff worked (or perhaps still
works) for Mattress Giant Corp. d/b/a Mattress Firm
(“Mattress Firm”), presumably within the Northern
District of West Virginia. During her employment, Plaintiff
allegedly reported witnessing and experiencing gender and
race based discrimination and harassment to her supervisors.
In turn, Plaintiff claims that Mattress Firm retaliated
against her for making said reports by repeatedly denying her
adequate training. Plaintiff also claims that she was, among
other things, threatened, verbally assaulted, and held
against her will.
November 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant pro se
Complaint alleging (1) gender and race based discrimination,
(2), harassment, (3) hostile work environment, (4)
retaliation, (5) illegal interrogation, (6) false
imprisonment, (7) civil conspiracy, and (8) slander or libel.
As a result, Plaintiff claims that Mattress Firm damaged her
character and now she suffers from post-traumatic stress
disorder (“PTSD”), depression, and anxiety. To
compensate her for her damages, Plaintiff seeks $150, 000 in
damages, a written apology, and corrections to her employment
undersigned addresses each claim, in turn, below.
filing a lawsuit in federal court, the plaintiff is required
to pay certain filing fees. The court has the authority to
allow a case to proceed without the prepayment of fees
“by a person who affirms by affidavit that he or she is
unable to pay costs . . . .” L.R. Gen. P. 3.01. The
plaintiff files this affidavit along with her request or
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Id. The Supreme Court of the United States has
explained that the purpose of the “federal in forma
pauperis statute . . . is designed to ensure that
indigent litigants have meaningful access to the federal
courts.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
plaintiff seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, the
court conducts a preliminary review of the lawsuit before
allowing the case to proceed. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e). This includes cases filed by non-prisoners. See
Michau v. Charleston Cty., S.C., 434 F.3d 725, 727 (4th
Cir. 2006) (holding that the district court did not abuse its
discretion when it dismissed the non-prisoner complaints
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)). The court must dismiss
a case at any time if the court determines that the complaint
is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A case is often dismissed
sua sponte (i.e., on the court's own decision)
before the defendant is notified of the case “so as to
spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of
answering such complaints.” Neitzke, 490 U.S.
at 324. When reviewing pro se complaints, the Court
must construe them liberally. See Beaudett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
stated above, under the federal in forma pauperis
statute, the court may dismiss a case if the complaint is
frivolous. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). A complaint is
frivolous if it is without “an arguable basis either in
law or fact.” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325. A
complaint filed in forma pauperis which fails to
state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
is not automatically frivolous. See id. at 328.
Cases should only be dismissed as frivolous when the legal
theories are “indisputably meritless, ” or where
the claims rely on factual allegations which are
“clearly baseless.” Id. at 327; see
also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32
(1992). This includes claims where the plaintiff has little
or no chance of success. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976).
federal in forma pauperis statute allows a court to
sua sponte dismiss a complaint that “fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure “require[ ] only ‘a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ' in order to ‘give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Although a complaint need not assert
“detailed factual allegations, ” it must contain
“more than labels and conclusions” or “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations
omitted). To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim,
the complaint must raise a right to relief that is more than
speculative. Id. In other words, the complaint must
contain allegations that are “plausible” on their
face, rather than merely “conceivable.”
Id. at 555, 570. Therefore, in order for a complaint
to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, the
plaintiff must “allege facts sufficient to state all
the elements of [his or] her claim.” Bass v. E.I.
DuPont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir.
2003) (citing Dickson v. Microsoft Corp., 309 F.3d
193, 213 (4th Cir.2002); Iodice v. United States,
289 F.3d 279, 281 (4th Cir. 2002). A “claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).
Thus, a well-pleaded complaint must offer more than “a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully” in order to meet the plausibility standard
and survive dismissal for failure to state a claim.
Id.; see also Francis v. Giacomelli, 588
F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009).
Lack of ...