United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD B. MARTIN, JR. Plaintiff
MIDGE HARSHMAN Defendant
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Martin ("Martin"), a resident of Boston,
Massachusetts, filed a personal injury action against Midge
Harshman, his grandmother, who resides in Mount Airy,
Maryland. Martin seeks $10, 000, 000 in damages and alleges
she has subjected him to "defamation using demonic
methods." ECF No. 1-2. He does not specify actual
events, but insinuates that Defendant has "defamed me by
telling others that I am mentally ill and require medication,
" in order to "cover up" his father’s
"history of sexual abuse and to prevent me from
inheriting my share of the family
fortune." ECF No. 1 at p. 3. Martin, who is
self-represented, filed this Complaint on June 6, 2016. 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.
lawsuit represents the ninth action brought by Martin against
those involved in his criminal case as well as family members
against whom he alleges tortious misconduct. He is authorized
to proceed 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 district
court to dismiss any claim that is frivolous or malicious, or
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
See 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 cognizable claim. 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, A[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 claim outlined in the Complaint.
construction of Martin’s Complaint, however, does not
save it from early dismissal. He states that ever since 2008,
when he "was attempting to reconcile with a former
girlfriend, " leading to his arrest, and later reported
to police that his father "inappropriately touched"
Martin’s cousins, Defendant "has continually
defamed me by telling everyone that I am mentally ill and
need medication." ECF No. 1 at 2.
Maryland, a one-year statute of limitations for defamation is
applicable to the case at bar. See Md. Code Ann.,
Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-105. Thus, any alleged defamation
occurring prior to June 6, 2015 is time-barred.
Martin provides no facts demonstrating when defamatory
statements were made or to whom, making it impossible for
Defendant to defend against this suit. See Swierkiewicz
v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Thus, the
Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
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. A separate Order
 Martin has sued his father in a
separate action, Martin v. Martin, Civil Action No.
ELH-16-1732 (D. Md.).
 Martin was released after four months
of incarceration; his probation ended in 2014. See
Civil Action No. PWG-15-2429, ECF No. 1 at 7. The case is not
listed on Maryland’s electronic docket. Exhibits
provided with the complaint in Civil Action No. PWG-15-2429
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 and Indictment, ECF No. 1-14. As a
result of a criminal investigation and indictment, Martin
pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Circuit Court to
harassment and fourth-degree burglary, for which he was
sentenced to six months of incarceration.
See Martin v. Walsh, Civil
Action No. GJH-15-2302 (D. Md.); Martin v. The
State’s Attorney’s Office of Montgomery Co., et
al., Civil Action No. PWG-15-2429 (D. Md.); Martin
v. Baltimore City Police, Civil Action No. GJH-15-2430
(D. Md.); Martin v. Montgomery Co. Dept. of Police, et
al., Civil Action No. GJH-15-2431; Martin v.
Maryland Courts, et al., Civil Action No. GJH-15-2432
(D. Md.); Martin v. McGann, Civil Action No.
PJM-16-1609; Martin v. Walsh, Civil Action No.
PJM-16-1732 (D. Md.); and Martin ...