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Wilson v. Marion Police Department

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

March 2, 2019



          Martin Reidinger, United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in District Court without Prepaying Fees or Costs [Doc. 2].


         Because the Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court must examine the pleadings to determine whether this Court has jurisdiction and to ensure that the action is not frivolous or malicious and states a claim upon which relief can be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii); see also Michau v. Charleston County, S.C., 434 F.3d 725, 728 (4th Cir. 2006) (noting that § 1915(e) “governs IFP filings in addition to complaints filed by prisoners”). A complaint is deemed frivolous “where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 109 S.Ct. 827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989). The Fourth Circuit has offered the following guidance to a court tasked with determining whether a complaint is frivolous under § 1915(e):

The district court need not look beyond the complaint's allegations in making such a determination. It must, however, hold the pro se complaint to less stringent standards than pleadings drafted by attorneys and must read the complaint liberally. Trial courts, however, are granted broad discretion in determining whether a suit is frivolous or malicious.

White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-23 (4th Cir. 1989). While the complaint must be construed liberally, the Court may “pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless, ” including such claims that describe “fantastic or delusional scenarios.” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327, 328, 109 S.Ct. 827.

         Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that “[a] pleading states a claim for relief must contain (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction ... [and] (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1), (2). A complaint fails to state a claim where it offers merely “labels and conclusions, ” “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” or “naked assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual enhancement.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (internal quotation marks omitted)).


         In her Complaint, the Plaintiff asserts claims that “[her] civil rights were violated and [she] was abused. These parties tried to kill me!!!” [Doc. 1 at 8]. Construing the Plaintiff's allegations liberally, the Court construes the Plaintiff's claims as one arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of her federal constitutional rights.

         As grounds for her claims, the Plaintiff alleges that on November 13, 2018, she was returning home after having had some drinks at a neighbor's house when she slipped and hit her head on concrete. One of the Plaintiff's neighbors, Jeff Reinke, began to argue with her and “push[ed her] buttons.” [Doc. 1 at 2-3]. The Plaintiff then returned to her apartment. Reinke called the Marion Police Department, and officers appeared at the Plaintiff's door. The Plaintiff alleges that she was confused and injured from hitting her head. The Plaintiff alleges that the officers grabbed her, and that she fought back against the “aggressive and under educated officers.” [Id. at 3]. One of the Plaintiff's neighbors informed the officers that the Plaintiff had hit her head, that she was not behaving normally, and that she should be taken to the emergency room. [Id.]. The Plaintiff alleges that the officers continued to jerk her and act very aggressively. The Plaintiff alleges that she hit her head against in the police car, and that the police officers knew that she was injured but they “didn't care.” [Id. at 4].

         The Plaintiff alleges that she was then transported to “the emergency room at McDowell Hospital where they have known [her] for years.” [Id.]. The Plaintiff alleges that instead of helping her, “they tied [her] down and drugged [her]” and “made [her] look bad in their notes and gave [her] to[o] much medications” before transporting her to the county jail.[1] The Plaintiff alleges that she “was hit and shook so hard” while at the jail that she had to return to the emergency room in critical condition. She alleges that she was admitted into intensive care for approximately four days, and that the “people at the jail” lied to her family about her whereabouts during that time. [Id. at 4-5]. Finally, she alleges in a single sentence without any further elaboration or detail that she “know[s] [she] was raped as well in that jail.” [Id. at 5].

         Finally, the Plaintiff sets forth allegations against “Baptist Hospital” regarding a hip replacement procedure that she received in 2011, which was allegedly not performed correctly and left the Plaintiff in a lot of pain. [Id. at 6].

         The Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $10 million from the Marion Police Department and the “Marion Sheriff's Department” and $5 million from Mission McDowell Hospital and Wake Forest Baptist Hospital (“the Hospital Defendants”). [Id. at 9].

         III. ...

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