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Grant v. Joint Special Operations Command

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

July 17, 2019

William Lee Grant, II, Plaintiff,
v.
Joint Special Operations Command, Defendant.

          ORDER & MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION

          ROBERT T. NUMBERS, II, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff William Lee Grant, II, has filed a complaint in the Eastern District of North Carolina against Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Grant has also submitted a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (to Proceed with Prepayment Costs or Fees). The court will grant the IFP motion, but the undersigned recommends that the court dismiss the complaint as frivolous and failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         I. Motion to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees.

         Grant asks the court to allow him to proceed with his action without paying the required filing fee and other costs associated with litigation (colloquially called proceeding in forma pauperis or IFP). The court may grant the plaintiff's request if he or she submits an affidavit describing their assets and the court finds that he or she is unable to 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 emitted). As part of its evaluation of Grant's request, the court must also consider the viability of his claims. If the court determines that the Complaint is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, it must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).

         The court has reviewed Grant's IFP application and finds that Grant lacks the resources to pay the costs associated with this litigation. Thus the motion to proceed IFP is granted.

         II. Screening Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 (“PLRA”) requires courts to review, prior to docketing, actions filed by prisoners against governmental entities or officials. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The purpose of this review is to eliminate claims that unnecessarily impede judicial efficiency and the administration of justice. The court must examine the pleadings, identify cognizable claims, and dismiss any portion of the complaint that 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. § 1915A(b).

         The court may dismiss a complaint as frivolous due to either legal or factual shortcomings. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A cause of action is legally frivolous if it is “based upon an indisputably meritless legal theory and include claims of infringement of a legal interest which clearly does not exist.” Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 75 (4th Cir. 1994) (quotations omitted). A complaint is factually frivolous when its factual allegations are “fanciful, fantastic, and delusional.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992).

         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. Grant's pro se status relaxes, but does not eliminate, the requirement that his 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).

         Grant's initial pleadings total 35 pages. Out of the 35 pages, 30 contain fanciful accusations ranging from “the CIA killed Kennedy” to “the DoD disavows Beyoncé” to “Condi was having an affair with George W. Bush.” Under a section of the complaint entitled Questions Presented, Grant writes “Where shall Marion Hugh ‘Suge' Knight stand trial for the murder to Christopher ‘Biggie Smalls' Wallace?” and “Where shall Courtney Love stand trial for the murder of Kurt Cobain?” Grant also claims that he was created by the Department of Defense and dropped off at his adopted father and mother's house to be beaten and psychologically tortured, which lead him to stab his father at age 17.

         Grant makes seemingly unrelated claims including salary being owed to him by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the illegitimacy of a previous drunk driving arrest. Grant claims that IDOT, Richard Abel Kabaker (his former IDOT boss), the State of Illinois, and the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Joint Special Operations Command all defaulted by failing to respond to his previous pleadings and therefore he should be granted a default judgement.

         Grant's complaint is frivolous. There is no interpretation of these assertions, even with the most liberal construction possibly afforded a pro se plaintiff, by which this court can decipher a cognizable claim. Grant's complaint suffers from a clear lack of facts and is rooted in baseless assertions of government conspiracy.

         And he has offered no reasoning why JSOC was named defendant in his complaint aside from a disjointed accusation that the Joint Chiefs of Staff used JSOC and the Department of Defense to enact a clandestine military operation - which Grant calls “Operation: Hometown Glory” - to “steal thirty years of Mr. Grant's life”. Moreover, Grant's claims compensatory and punitive damages in the amount of “$99 Trillion” but gives no indication how he calculated these damages or from whom he expects these damages. Thus, he has not stated a claim against JSOC.

         For these reasons, the court should dismiss Grant's complaint as frivolous and for failing to state a ...


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