United States District Court, D. Maryland
HELEN E. HENNING Plaintiff,
ORGANIZED CRIME BALTIMORE MARYLAND Stemming from my work location Pimlico Race Course or Streets Defendant.
William M. Nickerson Senior United States District Judge
25, 2016, Helen Henning, a self-represented plaintiff who
lists a Chicago, Illinois post office box address, filed this
action invoking this Court's 278 U.S.C. § 1331
federal question jurisdiction. Ms. Henning claims that she is
stalked by "organized crime" everywhere she travels
and on May 19, 2016, she noticed that she was "being
stalked outside of 30 miles of Baltimore...until current
traveling from Chicago, Illinois] by car." ECF No. 1 at
p. 1. In addition, she claims that unidentified persons are
"circulating a video tape of me unwanted sex act from
the work place in Chicago just about everywhere I travel to
work for racetracks." Id. at p. 2. Ms.
Henning's Complaint was not accompanied by the civil
filing fee or motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis,
summons; or civil cover sheet. She shall not be required to
cure these deficiencies.
Ms. Henning is proceeding as a self-represented litigant, the
Court must liberally construe her Complaint allegations.
See e.g., Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007). This Court, however, is not required to conjure up
questions never squarely presented to it. See Beaudett
v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th
Cir. 1985). Further, a pleading which sets forth a claim for
relief shall contain a short and plain statement of the
grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends; a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief; and a demand for judgment for
the relief the pleader seeks. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a). Although self-represented pleadings must be
"liberally construed" and "held to less
stringent standards than those by lawyers, "
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007),
a complaint need not contain detailed allegations. The facts
alleged must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level and require "more than labels and
conclusions, " as "courts are not bound to accept
as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation." See Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), citing
Papasan v. Attain, 478 U.S. 265, 286(1986).
may consider subject matter jurisdiction as part of its
initial review of the Complaint. See Lovern v.
Edwards, 190 F.3d 648, 654 (4th Cir. 1999) (holding
that "[determining the question of subject matter
jurisdiction at the outset of the litigation is often the
most efficient procedure"). In general, if subject
matter jurisdiction is lacking in an action before a court,
the action must be dismissed. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(h)(3) ("If the court determines at any time that it
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
action."). Consequently a federal court must determine
with certainty whether it has subject matter jurisdiction
over a case pending before it and, if necessary, has an
obligation to consider its subject matter jurisdiction
sua sponte. See Joseph v. Leavitt, 465 F.3d 87, 89
(2d Cir. 2006). "[Q]uestions of subject-matter
jurisdiction may be raised at any point during the
proceedings and may (or, more precisely, must) be raised
sua sponte by the court." Brickwood
Contractors, Inc. v. Datanet Engineering, Inc.,
369 F.3d 385, 390 (4th Cir. 2004).
generous review of the Complaint allegations, the Court finds
that Ms. Henning has, at best, set out fanciful and fantastic
claims, which fail to state a federal cause of action under
this Court's § 1331 jurisdiction. A district court
has inherent authority to dismiss a frivolous complaint
sua sponte. See Mallard v. United States Dist. Ct. for
S.D. of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 307-08, (1989) (courts have
authority to dismiss a frivolous or malicious lawsuit even in
absence of a specific statutory provision); Ross v.
Baron, 493 Fed.App'x 405, 406 (4th Cir. 2012)
(unpublished) (noting that "frivolous complaints are
subject to dismissal pursuant to the inherent authority of
the court, even when the filing fee has been paid");
Fitzgerald v. First East Seventh St. Tenants Corp.,
221 F.3d 362, 364 (2d Cir. 2000) (holding that district
courts may dismiss frivolous complaints sua sponte,
even when plaintiff has paid the filing fee, noting that
"district courts are in particular likely to be exposed
to frivolous actions, and thus have an even greater need for
inherent authority to dismiss such actions quickly in order
to preserve scarce judicial resources"). The Court finds
that the instant matter is subject to dismissal due to Ms.
Henning's failure to argue a meritorious federal claim. A
separate order follows.
A federal court does not act as an
advocate for a self-represented claimant. See Brock v.
Carroll, 107 F.3d 241, 242-43 (4th Cir. 1996);
Weller v.Department of Social Servs., 901
F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990); Gordon v.Lee ...