United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION
KIMBERLY A. SWANK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
case is before the court on the application [DE #1] by
Plaintiff Clifford Bradley to proceed in forma
pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and for
frivolity review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B),
the matter having been referred to the undersigned by the
Honorable Terrence W. Boyle, Chief United States District
Judge. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's
application to proceed in forma pauperis is allowed,
and it is recommended that Plaintiff's claims against
Defendant be dismissed.
standard for determining in forma pauperis status is
whether “one cannot because of his poverty pay or give
security for the costs . . . and still be able to provide
himself and dependents with the necessities of life.”
Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S.
331, 339 (1948). Based on the information contained in
Plaintiff's affidavit, the court finds that Plaintiff has
demonstrated appropriate evidence of inability to pay the
required court costs. Thus, Plaintiffs application to proceed
in forma pauperis is ALLOWED.
seeks to sue the United States Government for the denial of
Social Security disability benefits and for the denial of
assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(“FEMA”) after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. (Prop.
Compl. [DE #1-1] at 2.) Plaintiff states that the Social
Security Administration has denied his claims for disability
benefits “for almost eight years now.”
(Id.) Plaintiff also complains of being rejected by
creditors and FEMA for damage caused to his home following
Hurricane Matthew. (Id.) Plaintiff states his
“home is in dire need of repairs and I can't even
qualify for any financing.” Plaintiff seeks $1 million
dollars in relief (Id. at 3.)
Standard for Frivolity Review
the determination that Plaintiff is entitled to in forma
pauperis status, the court is required to dismiss all or
part of an action found to be frivolous or malicious, which
fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted, or
which seeks money damages from a defendant immune from such
recovery. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); Michau v.
Charleston County, 434 F.3d 725, 728 (4th Cir. 2006). A
case is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in either law
or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989). Pro se complaints are entitled to a more liberal
treatment than pleadings drafted by lawyers. See White v.
White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-23 (4th Cir. 1989). However,
the court is not required to accept a pro se plaintiffs
contentions as true. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S.
25, 32 (1992). The court is permitted 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.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a complaint
to give a “short plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8. The statement must give a defendant fair notice of what
the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
“A plaintiff must offer more detail . . . than the bald
statement that he has a valid claim of some type against the
defendant.” Trulock v. Freeh, 275 F.3d 391,
405 (4th Cir. 2001); see also White, 886 F.2d at 723
(affirming district court's dismissal of plaintiffs suit
as frivolous where plaintiffs complaint “failed to
contain any factual allegations tending to support his bare
assertion”). While the court must read the complaint
carefully to determine if the plaintiff has alleged facts
sufficient to support his claims, White, 886 F.2d at
724, the court is not required to act as the pro se
plaintiffs advocate or to parse through volumes of documents
or discursive arguments in an attempt to discern the
plaintiffs unexpressed intent, Williams v. Ozmint,
716 F.3d 801, 803 (4th Cir. 2013).
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and are empowered
to act only in those specific situations authorized by
Congress.” Bowman v. White, 388 F.2d 756, 760
(4th Cir. 1968). The presumption is that a federal court
lacks jurisdiction in a particular case unless it is
demonstrated that jurisdiction exists. See Id. The
plaintiff bears the burden of proving the existence of
subject matter jurisdiction. See Evans v. B. F. Perkins
Co., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir. 1999) (citation
doctrine of sovereign immunity bars a plaintiff from bringing
suit for money damages against the federal government absent
the government's unequivocal consent to be sued.
United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535, 538 (1980).
“To sustain a claim that the Government is liable for
awards of monetary damages, the waiver of sovereign immunity
must extend unambiguously to such monetary claims.”
Armstead v. Nagin, No. 2:05-CV-6438-SRD, 2006 WL
3861769, at *5 (E.D. La. Dec. 29, 2006).