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Andrews v. Good

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

November 4, 2019

TYRONE ANDREWS, Plaintiff,
v.
LYNN J. GOOD, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION, ORDER, AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          L. Patrick Auld, United States Magistrate Judge

         This case comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Docket Entry 1), filed in conjunction with his pro se Complaint (Docket Entry 2 at 1, 5-11) and Motion for Preliminary Injunction (id. at 2-4). The Court will grant Plaintiff's Application (Docket Entry 1) for the limited purpose of recommending dismissal of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim. In addition, the Court should deny Plaintiff's Motion as moot.

         LEGAL BACKGROUND

         “The federal in forma pauperis [‘IFP'] statute, first enacted in 1892 [and now codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1915], is intended to guarantee that no citizen shall be denied access to the courts ‘solely because his poverty makes it impossible for him to pay or secure the costs.'” Nasim v. Warden, Md. House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951, 953 (4th Cir. 1995) (en banc) (quoting Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 342 (1948)). “Dispensing with filing fees, however, [is] not without its problems. Parties proceeding under the statute d[o] not face the same financial constraints as ordinary litigants. In particular, litigants suing [IFP] d[o] not need to balance the prospects of successfully obtaining relief against the administrative costs of bringing suit.” Nagy v. Federal Med. Ctr. Butner, 376 F.3d 252, 255 (4th Cir. 2004).

         To address this concern, the IFP statute provides, in relevant part, that “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that the action or appeal fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Under this provision, a complaint falls short when 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) (emphasis added) (internal citations omitted) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). This standard “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. In other words, “the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id.[1]

         ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff's Complaint names “Lynn J. Good, CEO Duke Energy Corporation, ” “Edward S. Finley, Jr., Chairman, N.C. Utilities Commission (Division of NC Dept. Commerce), ” “David G. McGinley, President, Grid One Solutions, LLC, ” and “Josh Stein, Attorney General for the State of North Carolina” as Defendants. (Docket Entry 2 at 1.) Plaintiff brings this action under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [“ADA”], Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [“Section 504”], and “parallel state law seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and damages” (id. at 7), alleging in support that

[Plaintiff] submitted a complaint with the Utilities Commission of North Carolina against Duke Energy Corporation as it [is] related to non[-]compliance to policy, procedure, and regulation of it[]s own company and the State of North Carolina. The Utilities Commission dismissed [Plaintiff's] Complaint before it began. [Plaintiff] contacted the Attorney General's Office for North Carolina who in[]turn refused to speak to [Plaintiff] and hung-up the telephone with out any warning as it relates to cognative [sic] behavior.
As it relates to Grid One Solutions, LLC, [Plaintiff] called and had no choice but to leave a message concerning the disconnection and a request for injunction by this Court. This company has violated the same laws as it relates to [Plaintiff's] claim, because subcontract [sic] are held responsible for all actions and rule adherence as Duke Energy Corporations. Grid One Solution chose to disconnect in the future under the guise of following orders of Duke Energy. It is alleged that Grid One Solution used bias in their practice witch [sic] is against the law, by discriminating on the behalf of Duke Energy and in there [sic] own fashion. And because a black man took action does not mean he did not discriminate against [Plaintiff].
That the afore-described actions and non-actions on the part of [ ] Defendants have caused [ ] Plaintiff to be subjected to a deprivation of his rights, privileges, and immunities secured by the Constitution of the United State[s] and parallel state action as mentioned above.

(Id. at 8-10 (emphasis and quotation marks omitted).) In regards to his disability, Plaintiff's filings state that he “is a Marine veteran who has been diagnosed with several medical conditions including cancer” and that “[t]hese conditions affect his ability to think, associate, and consider normal routines.” (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff's filings further assert that he suffers from “depression [and] abnormal responses to everyday activities.” (Id.) Plaintiff provides facts relevant to this matter in his Motion for Preliminary Injunction (id. at 2-4), to include that he “obtained electric service in 1995 and has had several concerns and objections with [ D]efendants in the last five years and prior.

         Recently, [D]efendants sent emails, texts, and a letter on Friday, May 10, 2019[, ] to inform [Plaintiff] his service will be terminated on Monday, May 13, 2019.” (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff allegedly “contacted all parties . . . to inform them of his dismay in time frame for disconnection for nonpayment.” (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff asserts that “no reasonable accommodation was given” and that his “letter, emails, texts for disconnection within less than 24 hours . . . w[ere] based on his disability and [D]efendants' refusal to provide him with reasonable modifications . . . . Thus [D]efendants discriminated against [Plaintiff] on the basis of his disabilities.” (Id.) According to Plaintiff, “[D]efendants illegally proceeded with fast[-]tract termination of [his] electric service” and “failed to maintain or provide reasonable modifications to its policies, practices and procedures to allow [him] to benefit from and to participate in an electrical service program operated by [D]efendants.” (Id.) Plaintiff maintains that “he is entitled to a preliminary injunction requiring [D]efendants to . . . reconnect [his] electric service and to provide the necessary modifications he requires to participate successfully in the regulatory program of electric service.” (Id. at 4.)

         For the following reasons, the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's federal claims for failure to state a claim, should decline to retain jurisdiction over his state claims, and should further ...


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