United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
History On November 25, 2019, Plaintiff William Lee
Grant, III, acting pro se, filed a motion seeking leave to
proceed in forma pauperis, along with a civil rights
complaint. ECF No. 1. As part of the screening process on a
motion for in forma pauperis status, the Court must review
Court has discretion to dismiss frivolous or malicious in
forma pauperis complaints under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d).
Wilson v. Rackmill 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989).
The U.S. Supreme Court has instructed that § 1915
provides the Court with the authority "... to dismiss a
claim based on an indisputably meritless theory, but also the
unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's
factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). Factual allegations
that are "fanciful," "fantastic," and
"delusional" are considered "clearly
baseless." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
motions to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. §
1915 is a two-step process. Roman v. Jeffes, 904
F.2d 192, 194 n.l (3d Cir. 1990). "First, the district
court evaluates a litigant's financial status and
determines whether (s)he is eligible to proceed in forma
pauperis under § 1915(a). Second the court assesses the
complaint under [§ 1915(e)(2)] to determine whether it
is frivolous." Id. (internal citation omitted).
So only after the district court grants the request to
proceed in forma pauperis may it dismiss the complaint as
legally frivolous. See Jackson v. Brown, 460
Fed.Appx. 77, 79 n.2 (3d Cir. 2012; ("As a procedural
matter, therefore, the District Court should have addressed
Jackson's [in forma pauperis] motion before dismissing
the complaint as frivolous, rather than deny the [in forma
pauperis] motion as moot after dismissal.").
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is
identical to the legal standard used when ruling on a motion
to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). See Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236,
240 (3d Cir. 1999). However, before dismissing a complaint
for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, a court must grant the plaintiff leave to amend his
complaint, unless amendment would be inequitable or futile.
See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103,
114 (3d Cir. 2002).
reviewing a pro se plaintiffs complaint, the court must
accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and
take them in the light most favorable to the pro se
plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007); Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008). A complaint must be dismissed if it
does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face." Bell AtL Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 556 (2007). The court need not
accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff if they are
unsupported by the facts in the complaint. See California
Pub. Employee Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp., 394 F.3d
126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004) (internal citation omitted).
a court must employ less stringent standards when considering
pro se pleadings than when judging the work product of an
attorney. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-521
(1972). When presented with a pro se complaint, the court
should construe the complaint liberally and draw fair
inferences from what is not alleged as well as from what is
alleged. Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d
Cir. 2003). See also Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65
(3d Cir. 1996) ("Since this is a § 1983
action, the [pro se] plaintiffs are entitled to relief if
their complaint sufficiently alleges deprivation of any right
secured by the Constitution."). Despite this liberality,
pro se litigants are not relieved of their obligation to
allege sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal claim.
of Plaintiff s motion for leave to proceed in forma
motion, Plaintiff states that he cannot pay the filing fee
associated with this case. Based on this averment, I find
that Plaintiff is without sufficient funds to pay the costs
and fees of the proceedings, and therefore his motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.
of Plaintiffs Complaint
Complaint brought pursuant to § 1983, Mr. Grant names
the Central Intelligence Agency and the Special Collection
Service. Mr. Grant, who lives in Illinois, alleges a vast
conspiracy violating his constitutional rights under the
Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S.
Grant's complaint begins with the allegation that
President Ronald Reagan directed the Secretary of Defense to
create Mr. Grant to predict future nuclear attacks and that
after he was created in 1990 at the Air Force Systems
Command, Mr. Grant was transferred to the basement of the
Pentagon. ECF No. 1, ¶ ¶ 7-8. Mr. Grant explains
that two years later the Secretary of Defense "dropped
[him] off in Springfield, Illinois with two individuals
"to be beaten; endure psychological warfare; and to be
the DOD's witness to the 9/11 terrorist attacks."
Id. at ¶ 10.
Grant's allegations become more fanciful as the complaint
goes on. He was forced to stab a doctor in 2002 [id.
at ¶ 15], he was forced to "act gay" for seven
years [id at ¶ 17], the state of Illinois filed
multiple DUI charges against him in 2009 [id. at
¶ ¶ 19-25], he was sexually assaulted by two people
in 2003 [id. at ¶ 36] and by two other
individuals in 2014 [id at 37]. Mr. Grant goes on to
make allegations about Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Bill
Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Richard Daley, Philip
Mountbatten, Louis Farrakhan, Courtney Love, O.J. Simpson,
Henry Kissinger, Chris Christie, and many others. Mr. Grant
blames the Central ...