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Duran v. Welfare Reform Act Congress

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 30, 2015

MIGUEL DURAN and MICHELE BAXTER, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE WELFARE REFORM ACT CONGRESS, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM ORDER [Docket No. 10 & 12]

RENÉE MARIE BUMB, District Judge.

Plaintiff Miguel Duran, an experienced pro se litigant, and Plaintiff Michele Baxter (the "Plaintiffs") initiated this civil action against numerous Defendants with the filing of a complaint received on June 27, 2014. [Docket No. 1]. Plaintiffs then filed an Amended Complaint on July 8, 2014. [Docket No. 2]. In conjunction with their filings, Plaintiffs sought leave to proceed without prepayment of fees and submitted an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs, which established that they lack the financial ability to pay the filing fee. [Docket No. 1-1]. Based on Plaintiffs' affidavit of indigence, the Court granted the application pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and ordered the Clerk of the Court to open this matter and file the Amended Complaint.

Then, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court preliminarily screened the Amended Complaint as required and found that Plaintiffs' allegations constituted conclusory statements that failed to meet the minimal standards of Rule 8(a).

Rule 8(a) requires that a complaint contain:

(1) [A] short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) [A] short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and
(3) [A] demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

Ultimately, this Court found that it could not make an informed assessment of Plaintiffs' facts and that it was also often unclear against whom the allegations are made; many of the allegations contained in Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint were completely unsupported by factual averments related to the Plaintiffs. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) ("conclusory or bare-bones' allegations [are insufficient]: threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.' [Plaintiff must] set out sufficient factual matter' to show that the claim is facially plausible")(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678)).

In light of these findings, this Court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims without prejudice and with leave to amend within 20 days of the Court's Order. [Doc. No. 3]. This Court stressed, however, that Plaintiffs should not misconstrue such leave to amend as dispensing with their obligation to state the actual facts of the alleged wrongs they suffered, if any, and to identify the actual wrongdoers, if any, personally implicated in those wrongs. Cf. In re Suprema Specialties, Inc. Sec. Litig., 438 F.3d 256, 276-77 (3d Cir.2006) (a plaintiff must assert all the essential factual background that would accompany "the first paragraph of any newspaper story' - that is, the who, what, when, where and how' of the events at issue") (citations omitted). The Court also cautioned that "Plaintiffs' generic references to various Defendants shall not be repeated in the amended pleading, since such references cannot sustain a viable claim." Doc. No. 3 at 9.[1]

Following this Order, Plaintiff, Miguel Duran ("Duran"), filed a letter with this Court asking that it "dismiss [t]his matter as [m]ay this Court deem [j]ust and proper." [Docket No. 5]. In response, this Court noted that only Duran had made the request without Michele Baxter. [Docket No. 6]. Therefore, this Court dismissed the matter but gave Michele Baxter the opportunity to object. No such objection was filed and the matter was terminated per the request on September 15, 2014.

Over two months later, Duran filed a letter seeking to submit the "third amend [sic] of Complaint." [Doc. No. 7]. This letter contains 36 pages making various unexplained statements such as that Duran was seeking "an Injunction declaratory relief to remove the Plaintiff from the State of New Jersey with his Daughter to safety reasons after 11/14/2014." Id. at 1. Duran further states that the materials attached to his letter demonstrate, inter alia, "stage accident could off [sic] been killed" and "Plaintiff was taken to a Jewish home with the intentions to be harm threat or killed...." Id.

Following that submission, Duran filed a 47 page Motion to Reopen and "Third Amendment of Complaint" [Doc. No. 8]. Docket No. 8 also seeks to bring "Injunction Declaratory Relief" and "Emergency Removal." This document purports to bring suit against over 65 separate Defendants, many of whom are referred to as "unknown, " and the Complaint contains allegations against both the power company and the post office for "misconduct." It otherwise continues in a rambling and incomprehensible fashion about other alleged issues, such as Duran's contention that he was being tracked with a GPS device.

Duran then submitted Docket No. 9, which purports to seek "injunctive relief" for potential retaliation and "TRO... Emergency Removal Life and Death." Duran claims his life is in danger as "this litigation might bring parties to retaliate...." Id. at 2. In support of this application, Duran makes statements similar to the following,

all encounters has been with white American Caucasian Plaintiff claims that Gang members as Hell angels white supremacy and Black African American who were sent to threat and harm the Plaintiff, Plaintiff claims that people with colorful tattoos has been following him and his fiance and after 11/14/2014 the Court must acted within there [sic] jurisdiction and authority and ...

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