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Stokes v. Mitchell

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

June 15, 2017

GEORGE VICTOR STOKES, Plaintiff,
v.
FNU MITCHELL, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Frank D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff's pro se Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e). (Doc. No. 1.) Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) (Doc. No. 2) and Motion seeking liberal construction of his pro se Complaint (Doc. No. 3).

         I. IFP MOTION

         Federal law requires that a party instituting a civil action in federal district court pay a filing fee or be granted leave to proceed without prepayment of fees and costs. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(a)(1). A prisoner seeking to bring a civil action in federal district court without prepayment of fees, must file an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such prisoner possesses and a statement that the prisoner is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor. § 1915(a)(1). Additionally, the prisoner must submit a certified copy of the trust fund account statement (or institutional equivalent) for the prisoner for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint or notice of appeal, obtained from the appropriate official of each prison at which the prisoner is or was confined. § 1915(a)(2).

         The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's IFP Declaration (Doc. No. 2-1), as well as the Trust Account Statement he provided (Doc. No. 2-2). The later indicates Plaintiff has a large amount of debt due to the numerous civil law suits he has filed while incarcerated. (Doc. No. 2-2.) In his IFP Declaration, Plaintiff states that he has no income and owns no property. (Doc. No. 2-1.) It appears Plaintiff lacks sufficient funds to pay the filing fee. Therefore, the Court will grant Plaintiff's IFP Motion.

         II. INITIAL REVIEW

         A. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to dismissal on the grounds that it is “frivolous or malicious [or] fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Furthermore, under § 1915A the Court must conduct an initial review and identify and dismiss the Complaint, or any portion of the Complaint, if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune to such relief.

         A pro se complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). The liberal construction requirement, however, will not permit a district court to ignore a plaintiff's clear failure to allege facts which set forth a claim that is cognizable under federal law. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).

         B. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a prisoner of the State of North Carolina. His Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 was filed on February 28, 2017, when he placed it in the mail. (Compl. 11, Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff has named FNU Mitchell, whom he identifies as Director of Security for all North Carolina Department of Public Safety correctional facilities in the Western District of North Carolina, and Hubert Corpening, whom he identifies as Superintendent of Marion Correctional Institution (“MCI”), as Defendants. Plaintiff's action against Defendants is based on the following factual allegations:

After filing a law suit against John A. Herring in case no. 3:17-cv-035-FDW-1, [1] Regional Director Mitchell told Plaintiff that “since you like filing lawsuit[s] against my employees, I'm going to teach you a lesson and make sure you'r [sic] confined in restrive [sic] housing for a long time.”
Mitchell then had Plaintiff transferred to Marion to place him [in] the RDU program (which is a program that consist[s] of being confined to a cell for 18 months) with [strict] and harsh condition[s].
When Plaintiff arrived at Marion, he was told by several officers that they were instructed by Corpening to confiscate all legal documents with Herring's name on them. The officer also threatened to kill Plaintiff ...

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