United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
ORDER & MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION
T. Numbers, II United States Magistrate Judge
Nicole Ruby Bridgewater, a resident of Franklin County, North
Carolina, filed this action to resolve a dispute over the
title to certain real property in Youngsville, North
Carolina. She named 5800 Seward, LLC, a limited liability
company allegedly incorporated in and with its principal
place of business in North Carolina, as the defendant.
Although it is appropriate to grant Bridgewater's motion
to proceed IFP, the district court should dismiss her
complaint without prejudice because she fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
claims that a cloud over the title to the property at 183
Mill Creek Drive in Youngsville, North Carolina. She argues
that during the aftermath of the financial crisis that began
in 2008, someone, presumably 5800 Seward, took improper
actions related to the property's mortgage note and deed.
Compl. at 4, D.E. 1-1. In addition, 5800 Seward allegedly
failed to follow its own loan procedures, which Bridgewater
claims gives rise to claims of fraud, negligence, and
misrepresentation. Id. at 5. Bridgewater claims
these actions also violated her constitutional rights.
Id. Bridgewater seeks the cancellation of 5800
Seward's deed on the property as well as $300, 000 in
Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
asks the court to allow her to proceed with her action
without paying the required filing fee and other costs
associated with litigation (colloquially known as proceeding
in forma pauperis or IFP). The court may grant his request if
she submits an affidavit describing her assets and the court
finds that she cannot pay the filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §
1915. In assessing a request to proceed IFP, the court should
consider whether the plaintiff can pay the costs associated
with litigation “and still be able to provide himself
and his dependents with the necessities of life.”
Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S.
331, 339 (1948) (internal quotations omitted).
court has reviewed Bridgewater's application and finds
that she lacks the resources to pay the costs associated with
this litigation. The court thus grants Bridgewater's
motion (D.E. 1) and allows her to proceed IFP.
Screening Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915
with determining whether Bridgewater is entitled to IFP
status, the court must also analyze the viability of the
claims in the Complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court
reviews a complaint to eliminate those claims that
unnecessarily impede judicial efficiency and the
administration of justice. The court must dismiss any portion
of the complaint it determines is frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. Id. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
claims that jurisdiction is appropriate because of diversity
of citizenship, and she also claims that 5800 Seward violated
her constitutional rights. This type of claim, which is
cognizable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, would provide a basis
for subject matter jurisdiction. But to state a claim under
§ 1983, “a plaintiff . . . must show that the
alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under
color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S.
42, 48 (1988); Philips v. Pitt Cty. Mem'l Hosp.,
572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009). 5800 Seward is a private
company, not a governmental actor. Thus, it is not a state
actor and Bridgewater cannot sue it under § 1983. The
district court should dismiss Bridgewater's
also claims that 5800 Seward committed a number of state-law
torts. The district court should dismiss
Bridgewater's state-law claims because she has not stated
sufficient facts to establish a plausible claim. A complaint
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it
does not “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009). The Supreme Court has explained that
“[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.” Id. Bridgewater's
pro se status relaxes, but does not eliminate, the
requirement that her complaint contain facially plausible
claims. The court must liberally construe a pro se
plaintiff's allegations, but it “cannot ignore a
clear failure to allege facts” that set forth a
cognizable claim. Johnson v. BAC Home Loans Servicing,
LP, 867 F.Supp.2d 766, 776 (E.D. N.C. 2011).
facts that Bridgewater alleges in her complaint are sparse
and vague. She states that she has claims of “Fraud,
Negligence, and Misrepresentation” because “[a]
cloud on all title activity exists due to divergent paths
taken by both the mortgage note and the deed of trust”
which she claims “ignor[ed] proper loan
procedures.” Compl. at 5. This is not a specific fact
that could plausibly support any state-law claim, and
Bridgewater has failed to particularize her complaint. Thus,
the district court should dismiss these state-law claims
motion to proceed IFP is granted. D.E. 1. But for the reasons
discussed above, the district ...