United States District Court, D. Maryland
XINIS United States District Judge
Wright Louis is an inmate at the Montgomery County
Correctional Facility. Pending are Louis' Complaint filed
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Motion for Leave to
Proceed in Forma Pauperis. ECF Nos. 1, 2. Louis is eligible
to proceed as an indigent, and will be granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis.
filed this Complaint on January 6, 2017. ECF No. 1. Louis
alleges that on December 15, 2016 Defendant Patrick called
him a “faggot and a homosexual” and said
“you're in here for five year olds” while the
entire prison tier was watching and listening. ECF No. 1 at
4; ECF 1-1. As relief, Louis asks to file a law suit in this
court for defamation. No. 1 at 4
January 31, 2017, this Court granted Louis twenty-eight days
to amend the Complaint to identify what federal law or
constitutional provisions, if any, he believes have been
violated, to state whether he has suffered any injury as a
result of the actions alleged, and to state why he believes
this Court has jurisdiction over the case.
February 17, 2017, Louis filed the Court-ordered supplement
with second Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis.
ECF Nos. 4, 5. The supplement, however, is unresponsive to
the Order. Specifically, Louis fails to identify any federal
law or constitutional provisions allegedly abridged as a
result of Defendant's alleged statements or indicate a
basis for this Court to exercise jurisdiction over this case.
Of note, Louis does not allege he has been threatened or
assaulted by fellow inmates as a result of Patrick's
comments. While Louis claims to feel
“traumatized” when he sees Patrick, he provides
no facts to support this generally stated and conclusory
is proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which permits 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 claim that fails to state a claim on which relief
may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b)(1). This Court is mindful of its obligation
to construe liberally the pleadings of pro se litigants such
as Louis. 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”).
1983 provides that a plaintiff may file suit against any
person who, acting under color of state law, “subjects,
or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States
or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the
deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured
by the Constitution and laws” of the United States. 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 “is not itself a
source of substantive rights, '” but merely
provides ‘a method for vindicating federal rights
elsewhere conferred.'” Albright v. Oliver,
510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan,
443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)). To state a claim under §
1983, “a plaintiff must aver that a person acting under
color of state law deprived him of a constitutional right or
a right conferred by a law of the United States.”
Wahi v. Charleston Area Med. Ctr., 562 F.3d 599, 615
(4th Cir. 2009). As Louis fails to allege abridgement of a
constitutional provision or federal law, he fails to set out
a colorable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
the Complaint asserts no basis for this Court to exercise
jurisdiction over this case. A federal court has “an
independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter
jurisdiction exists, even when no party challenges it.”
Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 94 (2010);
see also Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Astellas
Pharma, Inc., 471 F.3d 544, 548 (4th Cir. 2006).
“A court is to presume, therefore, that a case lies
outside its limited jurisdiction unless and until
jurisdiction has been shown to be proper.” United
States v. Poole, 531 F.3d 263, 274 (4th Cir. 2008)
(citing Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994)). “[B]efore a federal court can decide
the merits of a claim, the claim must invoke the jurisdiction
of the court.” Miller v. Brown, 462 F.3d 312,
316 (4th Cir. 2006).
district courts “have original jurisdiction of all
civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States, ” pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331, as well those “where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive
of interest and costs, and is between-(1) citizens of
different States, ” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). Louis does not allege there is diversity of the
parties citizenship and the amount in controversy requirement
is unsatisfied and, as discussed above, he raises no claim of
constitutional or federal violation.
these reasons, the Court will dismiss this case for lack of
jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. A ...