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Loper v. Sheils Law Associates P.C.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 25, 2019

MATT L. LOPER, Plaintiff
v.
SHEILS LAW ASSOCIATES P.C., Defendant

          SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          RICHARD A. LANZILLO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         It is hereby recommended that the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 1] be GRANTED, and the Clerk be ordered to docket the Complaint.

         It is further recommended that this action be dismissed as legally frivolous in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The Clerk of Courts should be directed to close this case.

         II. REPORT

         A. Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis

         Plaintiff Matt L. Loper (“Plaintiff”), an inmate incarcerated at the Crawford County Correctional Facility, initiated this pro se civil rights action by filing a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. In his motion, Plaintiff states that he is unable to pay the filing fee associated with this case. Based upon this averment, it appears that Plaintiff is without sufficient funds to pay the costs and fees of the proceedings. Accordingly, his motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis should be granted.

         B. Assessment of Plaintiff's Complaint

         Having been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, Plaintiff is subject to the screening provisions in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).[1] Among other things, that statute requires the Court to dismiss any action in which the Court determines that the action is “frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); Muchler v. Greenwald, 624 Fed.Appx. 794, 796-97 (3d Cir. 2015). A frivolous complaint is one which is either based upon an indisputably meritless legal theory (such as when a defendant enjoys immunity from suit) or based upon factual contentions which are clearly baseless (such as when the factual scenario described is fanciful or delusional). Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). The determination as to whether a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is governed by the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. D'Agostino v. CECOM RDEC, 436 Fed.Appx. 70, 72 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999)).

         In his proposed complaint, Plaintiff identifies the lone defendant, Shiels Law Associates, as the attorney for another entity, Community Bank, N.A., in a legal action pending in the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County. ECF No. 1-1 ¶ 2-3. According to Plaintiff, he entered into a “Retail Installment, and Security Agreement” on June 12, 2015, and received “a sum amount of money of $18984.24.” Id. ¶¶ 6-7. On December 2, 2016, Community Bank filed a complaint against Plaintiff in the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County and requested a “bad judgment.” Id. ¶¶ 8-9. A “praecipe to discontinue without prejudice” was filed in that action on June 17, 2019, and granted on June 17, 2019. Id. ¶ 12. Although the remainder of his complaint is somewhat incoherent, Plaintiff appears to contend that the litigation in Beaver County implicated “Federal question cases relating data” and violated unspecified federal statutes. Id. ¶ 16; ECF No. 1-1 at 5.

         In a separate document titled “FEDERAL JURISDICTION, ” Plaintiff offers the following statements in further support of his claim:

assessed are “Total Owner, ” and “Total Ownership, ” of Community Bank, N.A., with total monies awarded to in favor of Judgment Matt L. Loper, Pro Se, Litigant, in the amount of “Total Owner, ...

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