United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Martin (“Martin”), a resident of Boston,
Massachusetts, has filed a second personal injury action
against privately retained counsel who represented him
following his December 26, 2008 arrest in Montgomery County,
Maryland. Martin, who is self-represented, filed
this Complaint on May 31, 2016, alleging defamation. ECF No.
1. He will be granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis
because the financial affidavit accompanying his Complaint
indicates that he has no source of income. ECF No. 2. For
reasons noted herein, his case will be dismissed.
Complaint is filed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), which
permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal
court without prepaying the filing fee. To guard against
possible abuses of this privilege, the statute requires a
court to dismiss any claim that is frivolous or malicious, or
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii). In this context,
this Court is mindful of its obligation to liberally construe
the pleadings of pro se litigants. See Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating a pro se
complaint, a plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be
true. Id. at 93 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007)).
Nonetheless, liberal construction does not mean that a court
can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts
which set forth a claim cognizable in a federal district
court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901
F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Beaudett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985) (stating a
district court may not “conjure up questions never
squarely presented.”). In making this determination,
"[t]he district court need not look beyond the
complaint's allegations . . . . It must hold the pro se
complaint to less stringent standards than pleadings drafted
by attorneys and must read the complaint liberally."
White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-723 (4th Cir.
1989). Thus, this Court is obligated to examine the tort
claims outlined in the Complaint.
lawsuit is not the first action initiated by Martin against
Attorney Howard J. Walsh, III. Pleadings filed in
Martin’s earlier lawsuit demonstrate that Martin was
represented by Walsh, and pleaded guilty to harassment and a
fourth-degree burglary, for which he was sentenced to six
months of incarceration. See Martin v. Walsh, ECF No.
GJH-15-2302, ECF No. 1 at 7 (“Walsh I”). In Walsh
I, Martin blamed Walsh for his conviction and all
“offensive contacts that [he] endured” from the
time of arrest until release from detention”,
alleged that Walsh was responsible for torts, including
assault, battery, defamation, false imprisonment, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.
Id. at 15-16. He sought $10 million in damages and
Walsh’s disbarment. Id. at 17.
instant lawsuit is premised on a claim that Walsh defamed him
by referencing Martin’s previous hospitalization for
psychiatric evaluation when defending his representation of
Martin in correspondence to the Maryland Attorney Grievance
Commission dated April 1, 2015. ECF No. 1 at 3-4. Martin
seeks $100, 000, 000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
claims Walsh defamed him while defending against
Martin’s allegations of professional misconduct filed
with the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission.
Maryland's one-year statute of limitations for defamation
applies to this case. See Md. Code Ann., Cts. &
Jud. Proc, § 5-105. The letter which
Martin claims constitutes defamation was dated April 1, 2015.
The instant Complaint was filed on May 31, 2016, nearly two
months after the one-year limitations period expired. Liberal
construction of the Complaint does not save Martin’s
lawsuit, as his defamation claim against Walsh is
28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2) obligates federal courts to
dismiss cases at any time if the action is legally
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief For the reasons
stated, the case is subject to dismissal. Martin’s
request to file electronic pleadings (ECF No. 3) shall be
denied as moot. A separate Order follows.
 Martin’s first lawsuit,
Martin v. Walsh, Civil Action No. GJH-15-2302 (D.
Md.), was dismissed upon initial review. Id., Mem.
and Order, ECF Nos. 4 and 5. An appeal remains pending.
Id., ECF No. 10.
 In Walsh I, Martin noted that after
four months of incarceration he was released. His probation
ended in 2014. Martin v. Walsh, Civil Action No.
GJH-15-2302, ECF No. 1 at 7. The case is not listed on
Maryland’s electronic docket. Exhibits provided with
that Complaint suggest the case of State of Maryland v.
Richard Martin, Case No. 112136, prosecuted in the
Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, arose when a
local dentist, Kim Hoa Lam, complained that Martin was
stalking her. Id., ECF No. 1-15; see also
Indictment, ECF No. 1-14.
In Walsh I, Martin indicated his DNA
was collected, presumably for inclusion in a criminal