Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Womack v. Finkelstein

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

June 4, 2019

CARL WOMACK, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHANNA FINKELSTEIN, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Martin Reidinger, United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Application to Proceed without Prepayment of Fees or Costs [Doc. 2] and the Plaintiff's “Petition for Enforcement of Olmstead Act, and Community Based Health Care” [Doc. 3].

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         This is the fourth lawsuit brought by the Plaintiff Carl Womack related to state court proceedings in which his mother, Ruth Womack, was placed in protective custody with the Rutherford County Department of Social Services and ultimately declared to be incompetent. In the first action, the Plaintiff and Ruth Womack asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and other federal civil rights statutes against the Rutherford County Clerk of Court and employees of the Rutherford County Department of Social Services. [Civil No. 1:17-cv-00173-MR-DLH, Doc. 1]. The Court dismissed the Plaintiff's claims asserted in that action on the grounds of lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. [Id. at Docs. 3, 8].

         In the second action, the Plaintiff asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 18 U.S.C. § 242 against the guardian of his mother's estate, Merrimon Oxley. [Civil No. 1:18-cv-00266-MR-DLH, Doc. 1]. The Court dismissed the Plaintiff's claims as frivolous. [Id. at Doc. 3].

         In the third action, the Plaintiff asserted claims against the Cleveland County Clerk of Court, Carrie Howell; guardian ad litem Karen Wright; and the Shelby Police Department under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 18 U.S.C. § 241, and 42 U.S.C. § 1985. [Civil No. 1:18-cv-00352-MR-WCM, Doc. 1]. The Court dismissed this action for failing to state a claim and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. [Id. at Doc. 4]. The Court further warned the Plaintiff that future frivolous filings would result in the imposition of a pre-filing system. [Id.].

         The Plaintiff now returns to this Court, asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Assistant Clerk of Court for the Superior Court for Buncombe County, Johanna Finkelstein. Specifically, the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant violated his First Amendment right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances and committed obstruction of justice by failing to schedule a hearing on a motion filed by the Plaintiff for the removal of his mother's guardian. [Doc. 1 at 4, 6-7]. The Plaintiff further alleges that the Defendant violated his constitutional rights by denying a number of his motions during proceedings related to the restoration of his mother's competency. [Id. at 7]. Finally, while conceding that such does not constitute a violation of his civil rights, the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant conspired with his mother's guardian and others to commit Medicaid fraud. [Id. at 4]. The Plaintiff alleges that he was discriminated against on the basis of his class, as the Defendant and others involved in the restoration proceeding were lawyers. [Id. at 7-8].

         In addition to his Complaint, the Plaintiff also has filed a Petition seeking release of his mother from the nursing home where she resides as a well as an award of damages. [Doc. 3]. In this Petition, the Plaintiff notes that he has appealed the state court rulings that have been made against him to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. [Id. at 10].

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         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 (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.

         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 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation marks omitted)).

         III. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.