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Manuel v. Bowman

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

March 20, 2018

GARY E. MANUEL, Plaintiff,
v.
GRACE MANUEL BOWMAN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          SLOMSKY, J.

         Plaintiff Gary E. Manuel, proceeding pro se, has filed this civil action against Grace Manuel Bowman. He has also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. For the following reasons, the Court will grant Mr. Manuel leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dismiss his Complaint, and provide leave to amend.

         I. FACTS

         Mr. Manuel's Complaint consists of 69 pages, many of which include photographs of his family members, a copy of a greeting card, and a partial copy of a newspaper article. Many of the pages also include recitations of various federal laws. From the manner in which the Complaint has been pled, it is difficult for the Court to discern the exact nature of Mr. Manuel's claims. It appears that he is upset over Ms. Bowman's handling of his deceased uncle's estate and believes that she wrongfully withheld his full inheritance from him. He asserts that Ms. Bowman's actions have violated 18 U.S.C. § 241, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), the Fair Housing Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). As relief, Mr. Manuel seeks, inter alia, damages and a personal protective order to stop Ms. Bowman from "assaulting], beating, molesting, wounding, or stalking" him. (Compl. at 67.)

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Court will grant Mr. Manuel leave to proceed in forma pauperis because it appears that he is incapable of paying the fees necessary to commence this action. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to dismiss the Complaint if it fails to state a claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). Conclusory statements and naked assertions will not suffice. Id. As Mr. Manuel is proceeding pro se, the Court construes his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).

         Moreover, Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a complaint to contain "a short a plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A district court may sua sponte dismiss a complaint that does not comply with Rule 8 if "the complaint is so confused, ambiguous, vague, or otherwise unintelligible that its true substance, if any, is well disguised." Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 86 (2d Cir. 1995) (quotations omitted). This Court has noted that Rule 8 "requires that pleadings provide enough information to put a defendant on sufficient notice to prepare their defense and also ensure that the Court is sufficiently informed to determine the issue." Fabian v. St. Mary's Med. Ctr., No. Civ. A. 16-4741, 2017 WL 3494219, at *3 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 11, 2017) (quotations omitted).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Failure to Comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

         As an initial matter, Mr. Manuel's Complaint fails to comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. As noted above, Rule 8 "requires that pleadings provide enough information to put a defendant on sufficient notice to prepare their defense and also ensure that the Court is sufficiently informed to determine the issue." Id. Instead of setting forth his claims in a clear fashion, Mr. Manuel has interspersed them with copies of photographs and greeting cards as well as statements of various federal laws. No. defendant could be expected to meaningfully respond to Mr. Manuel's pleading without having to guess at his claims. Although the Complaint could be dismissed on that basis alone, the Court has done its best to understand the gist of Mr. Manuel's allegations and will address his claims below.

         B. Claims Under 18 U.S.C. § 241

         As noted above, Mr. Manuel vaguely contends that Ms. Bowman has violated 18 U.S.C. § 241. However, criminal statutes do not provide a basis for civil liability. See Cent. Bank of Dover, N.A. v. First Interstate Bank of Denver, N.A., 511 U.S. 164, 190 (1994) ("We have been quite reluctant to infer a private right of action from a criminal prohibition alone[.]."); see also Carpenter v. Ashby, 351 Fed.Appx. 684, 688 (3d Cir. 2009) (per curiam) (noting that § 241 does not "create[] a civil case of action"). Thus, Mr. Manuel's claims pursuant to § 241 will be dismissed.

         C. Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1981

         Mr. Manuel also alleges that Ms. Bowman has violated his rights under 42 ...


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