United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
W. Grimm United States District Judge
2, 2016, the Court received for filing the above-captioned
complaint filed by self-represented plaintiff Nicole Yvette
Winston, a resident of Fort Washington, Maryland. Ms. Winston
sues the Office of Naval Research, raising claims of
1) violations of U.S. constitutional rights . . .,
violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 3)
violations of Article 19 of the Maryland Declaration of
Rights, 4) harm to economic and dignitary interests
[defamation], 5) fraud, 6) conspiracy, 7) intentional
infliction of emotional distress, 8) tortious interference
with family relationships, and 9) loss of consortium[,
[as well as] civil rights violations under 10) 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981 . . . and 11) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 . . . [i]n
addition to claims under human subject research statutes . .
Compl. ¶¶ 1-2, ECF No. 1. Despite the fact that
Plaintiff captioned her case “In the Circuit Court of
Prince George’s County, Maryland, ” she invokes
this Court’s diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332 and seeks leave to proceed without prepayment of
the filing fee.
Ms. Winston 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 is not required, however, 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). The facts
alleged must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level and must be “more than labels and
conclusions, ” as “courts are not bound to accept
as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citing Papasan v. Allain,
478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). Under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8, a complaint must allege facts that allow a court
“to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A court must also be
mindful, however, that it should not allow defendants to be
subjected to “paranoid pro se litigation . . .
alleging . . . a vast, encompassing conspiracy, ”
unless the plaintiff meets a “high standard of
plausibility.” Cooney v. Rossiter, 583 F.3d
967, 971 (7th Cir. 2009).
Winston states that she is a law school graduate who was
employed at the Office of Naval Research (“ONR”)
as a summer employee while in undergraduate school from 1992
to 1994, as an administrative assistant from 1995-96, and
after her law school graduation from 1999 to
2000. Compl. ¶ 3. She claims that she has
been subject to “harassment, harm, and intentional
unemployment” and “realize[d] that there [have]
been various conspiracies that existed since [her] sophomore
year in college.” Id. Ms. Winston believes
that the ONR is the “initial organizer and/or funder of
this long running operation against [her].”
Id. She points to an unspecified “operation,
” allegedly funded or supported by the ONR, which
subjected her to “public ridicule and harm.”
Id. ¶ 4. Ms. Winston seeks “noneconomic
(general) damages in the amount of $815, 000.00, economic
(special) damages in the amount of $266, 611.55 for the
student loan, and punitive damages of at least $815,
000.00.” Id.; see Compl. 12-13.
Winston contends that her civil rights were violated and that
her “privacy at home was being violated, ” as she
was “hearing constant noises behind the walls, ”
id. ¶ 7, and her “medical privacy is
being violated, to include lack of medical information and
care, ” id. ¶ 9. In addition, she
mentions that she has “developed serious heart
problems” and “gynecological concerns, ” as
well as “hormonal changes, ” which she attributes
to the being “part of some unauthorized medical
program.” Id. ¶ 10. She
“speculat[es] . . . that [her] parents were being
subjected to manipulation for many years as well.”
Id. Ms. Winston suggests that she has been subject
to biomedical research without her consent. Id.
¶¶ 11-12. She claims that, due to this
“operation, ” she has been “intentionally
kept underemployed, ” resulting in her health being
“significantly compromised” and causing her to
suffer “extreme aggravation and frustration as well as
severe depression and anger.” Id. ¶¶
13, 28. She seeks the tolling of the applicable statute of
limitations, based on the discovery rule, the continuing harm
theory, and fraud. Id. ¶ 29.
Winston has not paid the filing fee. Instead, she has filed a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, ECF No. 2,
which shall be granted. Title 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and
1915A permit an indigent litigant to commence an action in
federal court without prepaying the filing fee. To protect
against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute
requires a court to dismiss any case that “fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); see 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b)(1) (same).
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989), the United
States Supreme Court held that a district court may dismiss
the complaint of a self-represented litigant under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915 when the complaint includes only a
“fanciful factual allegation” and lacks “an
arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Id.
at 325; see Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33
(1992) (“[A] court may dismiss a claim as factually
frivolous only if the facts alleged are ‘clearly
baseless, ’ a category encompassing allegations that
are ‘fanciful, ’ ‘fantastic, ’ and
‘delusional.’”). As those words suggest, a
finding of factual frivolousness is appropriate when the
facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the
wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially
noticeable facts available to contradict them.
forma pauperis complaint may not be dismissed, however,
simply because the court finds the plaintiff’s
allegations unlikely. Neitzke explained that the
statute “accords judges not only the authority to
dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal
theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the
complaint’s factual allegations and dismiss those
claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.”
490 U.S. at 327. Indeed, § 1915 was amended after
Neitzke and Denton, such that now the
statute mandates that a district court “shall
dismiss” a case upon a finding that the Complaint
“fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (B)(ii); see
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir. 2000).
when providing a generous review to the self-represented
complaint, the Court finds it appropriate to dismiss Ms.
Winston’s complaint. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570 (a complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) if it does not allege enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face); Neitzke,
490 U.S. at 325-28. Ms. Winston presents a litany of claims
against the ONR, but does not demonstrate, much less allege,
how it is responsible for her alleged injuries. Ms.
Winston’s allegations are made without any viable
factual supporting allegations and are completely
implausible. It is appropriate to dismiss her action under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii). A separate order follows.
 Ms. Winston cites to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1981 & 1983 and makes reference to the
First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendment
of the Constitution and federal and state regulatory