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Williams v. Texas Department of Family Protective Services

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

March 21, 2019

ELAINE WHIGHAM WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY PROTECTIVE SERVICES, ET AL., Defendants.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          DAVID L. HORAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Elaine Whigham Williams has filed a pro se complaint asserting causes of action under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2261A, 242, and 1621, alleging that her Fourteenth Amendment right to due process was violated, and presenting factual content substantially the same as that presented in the complaint that she filed in Williams v. Marsh McLennan Cos., No. 3:18-cv-1035-N-BN, 2018 WL 2773380 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 26, 2018), rec. accepted, 2018 WL 2766148 (N.D. Tex. June 8, 2018) (“Williams I”), a case that the Court dismissed with prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         This resulting action has been referred to the undersigned United States magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference from Chief Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). And the undersigned now enters these findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation that, for the reasons explained below, the Court should dismiss this case with prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         Legal Standards and Analysis

          A district court may summarily dismiss a complaint filed IFP if it concludes that the action:

(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         An action is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in either law or fact. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); see also Brewster v. Dretke, 587 F.3d 764, 767 (5th Cir. 2009) (“A claim may be dismissed as frivolous if it does not have an arguable basis in fact or law.”). And a complaint is without an arguable basis in law if it is grounded upon an untenable, discredited, or indisputably meritless legal theory, including alleged violations of a legal interest that clearly does not exist. See Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 326-27; Berry v. Brady, 192 F.3d 504, 507 (5th Cir. 1999). Claims within a complaint lack an arguable basis in fact if they describe “fantastic or delusional scenarios, ” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28, and such claims may be dismissed

as factually frivolous only if the facts alleged are clearly baseless, a category encompassing allegations that are fanciful, fantastic, and delusional. As those words suggest, a finding of factual frivolousness is appropriate when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them.

Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

         Dismissal for failure to state a claim “turns on the sufficiency of the ‘factual allegations' in the complaint, ” Smith v. Bank of Am., N.A., 615 Fed.Appx. 830, 833 (5th Cir. 2015) (per curiam) (quoting Johnson v. City of Shelby, Miss., 574 U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014) (per curiam); emphasis added by Smith), and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “do not countenance dismissal of a complaint for imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted, ” Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 346.

         Indeed, to survive dismissal under the framework of Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), a plaintiff need only “plead facts sufficient to show” that the claims asserted have “substantive plausibility” by stating “simply, concisely, and directly events” that she contends entitle her to relief. Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 347 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)-(3), (d)(1), (e)); see Harold H. Huggins Realty, Inc. v. FNC, Inc., 634 F.3d 787, 796 (5th Cir. 2011) (“A claim for relief is implausible on its face when ‘the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct.'” (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679)); Gentilello v. Rege, 627 F.3d 540, 544 (5th Cir. ...


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