United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
GARY E. MANUEL, Plaintiff,
GRACE MANUEL BOWMAN, Defendant.
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.
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.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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).
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).
Failure to Comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
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.
Claims Under 18 U.S.C. § 241
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.
Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1981
Manuel also alleges that Ms. Bowman has violated his rights
under 42 ...