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Latimer v. North Carolina Department of Transportation

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

October 24, 2019




         THIS MATTER is before the Court initial review of Plaintiff's Pro Se Complaint [Doc. 1], Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 2]; and Plaintiff's Pro Se “Motion for Memorandum and Recommendation [Doc. 3].

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 19, 2019, Plaintiff Calvin Latimer (“Plaintiff”) filed a Pro Se Complaint against Defendant North Carolina Department of Transportation (“DOT”). [Doc. 1]. Plaintiff's Complaint consists of a compilation of a disorganized series of events from 1993 to 2016. Plaintiff baldly states the following as “reasons” for his Complaint: (1) Map Act rescinded 7-12-16, (2) dealing with illegal behavior, (3) violation of property rights, (4) failure to follow due process, (5) eminent domain acquisition, (6) in violation of the 14th Amendment, (7) civil rights, (8) 14th Amendment, (9) human rights, (10) conspiracy, and (11) wrongful death. [Doc. 1 at 1]. In giving the Plaintiff the benefit of every reasonable inference, it appears as best as the Court can discern, Plaintiff claims relate to the following events:

         In 1987, the Map Act was enacted.[1] In 1993, an “invasion” occurred at Plaintiff's undefined property to which the police responded. [Id. at 5]. The day after the invasion the Plaintiff's wife had a miscarriage. [Id. at 53]. On or around June 5, 1995, an Order was entered by the Honorable Marvin R. Wooten, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of North Carolina, converting Plaintiff's bankruptcy from one under Chapter to 7 to one under Chapter 13. It appears these proceedings were made on behalf of Plaintiff's business, Miracle Cleaners, located at 2229 Tryon Road (hereinafter Plaintiff's “Tryon Property”) [Id. at 58-9].

         Sometime before September 22, 2000, Plaintiff's Tryon Property, including equipment located inside, sustained fire damage. [See id. at 39-40]. On or about September 22, 2000, the Mecklenburg County Engineering and Building Standards issued a Land Development Surety Bond in the name of Plaintiff as the principal and Hartford Fire Insurance Company as the surety. [Id. at 39]. On or about September 28, 2000, a commercial permit was issued to “replace fire damage to roof replace as built no extensions or additions.” [Id. at 40]. In or around October 2000, Plaintiff contacted the Charlotte City Attorney's Office regarding options to reconstruct his building after the fire. [Id. at 38]. Plaintiff was advised regarding the limitations imposed by the traditional setback that would apply if he were to tear down the structure and rebuild. [Id.].

         An undated Notice of Lien filed in the Superior Court of Mecklenburg County reflects that demolition services were furnished on February 22, 2001 and finished on May 29, 2001 at Plaintiff's Tryon Property. [Id. at 51]. The lien placed on Plaintiff's Property by the City of Charlotte for these services was in the amount of $14, 219.50, with a 12% interest rate per year. [Id.; see Doc. 1 at 55-57]. It appears the building was torn down against Plaintiff's will after it was not repaired or replaced after the fire. [Id. at 54]. Plaintiff alleges that “in 2001” he saw a sheriff “with his rifle out, ” presumably at the Tryon Property. The sheriff was “attending the man driving the bull dozier [sic], ” who presumably was demolishing Plaintiff's Tryon Property. [Id.]. Plaintiff states that he had a repair permit issued and, therefore, believes the sheriff's “demolition paper” was illegal. [Id.]. Plaintiff states he was out driving at the time and “could have met them anytime. That also, was part of the Map Act behavior.” [Id.]. The documents Plaintiff submitted also reflect that some sort of asbestos removal was performed at the Tryon Property in or around February 2001. [See id. at 47-8]. Plaintiff prepared a list of “Equipment Destroyed by Demolition, ” which appears to be dated April 15, 2001 and April 28, 2001. [Id. at 44].

         On or about August 7, 2008, Plaintiff requested that the City reduce its lien total and taxes owed on Plaintiff's Tryon Property. The City responded to the Plaintiff's request by letter with a counterproposal on September 5, 2008. [Id. at 50]. Handwritten notes on this letter state: “under duress, which is illegal this attempt to take land only???” and “No liens was on the property??? Only land, the building was torn down in 2001. ???” [Id.].

         On or about April 14, 2009, Plaintiff called the City Attorney's Office regarding an alleged breach of a purchase contract for Plaintiff's Tryon Property. [Id. at 52]. The next day, an Assistant City Attorney wrote the Plaintiff a letter, which states, “As I mentioned, the City will not become involved in a dispute solely between private parties. Accordingly, the City will not offer to serve as a mediator or a ‘go between' for the parties.” [Id.].

         Plaintiff further alleges that the Map Act was rescinded on July 12, 2016, which “restored, the Constitution to it [sic] rightful place.” [Id. at 13]. It appears the onus of Plaintiff's Complaint is based on the following allegation:

[Eminent domain] was exchange with the Map Act, that was later determined to be illegal. In 7-12-16. Therefore, Case Defendant, tries to indicate, that zonning created the error. Zonning, is a product of the State not the Federal Government. In conclusion is that the Map Act alone with zoning DID the illegal damages listed.

[Id. at 14 (grammatical and spelling errors uncorrected)]. Plaintiff, however, does not allege that his Tryon Street property was actually taken under the auspices of the Map Act.

         For damages, Plaintiff seeks $1.3 million in compensatory damages related to the loss of his property, equipment, and income, and $200, 000 for pain and suffering for the loss of his unborn child. [Doc. 1 at 2].

         II. MOTION TO PROCEED ...

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