United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III, United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff William Lee Grant,
II's Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF
No. 2). The Motion is ripe for disposition, and no hearing is
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For
the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Grant's
Motion but dismiss his Complaint for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted and as frivolous.
4, 2018, Grant, a resident of Illinois, sued Defendants U.S.
Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Treasury
and filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.
(ECF Nos. 1, 2). Because Grant appears indigent, the Court
will grant the Motion.
Complaint, Grant alleges that the Illinois Department of
Employment Security (“IDES”) denied him federal
unemployment benefits “as retaliation for filing a
civil rights complaint with the Illinois Department of
Transportation, and an ethics complaint with the Office of
Executive Inspector General.” (Compl. at 3, ECF No.
1).Grant seeks to hold Defendants liable
because they “have failed to investigate, and are
liable for the actions of their grantees/Federal Funds Direct
Recipients.” (Id. at 2). In an enumerated list
of allegations, Grant states, among other things, that
“Hillary Rodham Clinton killed Vince Foster”;
“George W. Bush was having an affair with Condoleezza
‘Condi' Rice”; and “The House
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha stands united.” (Id. at
4). Grant also included a Memorandum and Order from the
United States District Court for the Southern District of
Illinois ordering him to show cause as to why a case
unrelated to this one should not be transferred to the
Central District of Illinois. (Id. 1-2). Grant
appears to be seeking unpaid federal unemployment benefits.
(Id. at 3)
filed his Complaint in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(1) (2018), which permits an indigent litigant
to commence an action in this Court without prepaying the
filing fee. To guard against possible abuses of this
privilege, the statute requires dismissal of 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),
complaint fails to state a claim if it does not contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), or does not “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face, ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). For a complaint to
survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, the plaintiff
must “allege facts sufficient to state all the elements
of her claim.” Bass v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours &
Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003).
complaint is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact.” McLean v. United
States, 566 F.3d 391, 399 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989)).
Unlike the failure to state a claim standard, however, in
reviewing for frivolity, the Court “is not bound to
accept ‘clearly baseless' factual allegations as
true.” Kilgore-Bey v. Rudey, No. RDB-18-0007,
2018 WL 1135391, at *2 (D.Md. Feb. 28, 2018). Frivolous
claims include “those whose factual allegations are
‘so nutty, ' ‘delusional, ' or
‘wholly fanciful' as to be simply
‘unbelievable.'” McLean, 566 F.3d at
399 (quoting Gladney v. Pendleton Corr. Facility,
302 F.3d 773, 774 (7th Cir. 2002); then quoting Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 29 (1992)).
Court is mindful, however, of its obligation to liberally
construe self-represented pleadings, such as the instant
Complaint. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). In evaluating such a Complaint, the factual
allegations are assumed to be true. Id. at 93
(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56). Nonetheless,
liberal construction does not mean that the Court can ignore
a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set
forth a cognizable claim. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (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”).
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, 722-23 (4th Cir. 1989).
Court concludes that, even when afforded a liberal
construction, the Complaint fails to state a claim and is
extent that Grant attempts to bring claims against the U.S.
Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Treasury,
he pleads that they are liable because they “failed to
investigate, and are liable for the actions of their
grantees/Federal Funds Direct Recipients.” (Compl. at
2). Except for this single line in the Complaint, Grant makes
no other mention of Defendants. He does not specify who their
“grantees” or “Federal Funds Direct
Recipients” are or what actions of these individuals or