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Haqq v. Walmart Department Store

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division

October 3, 2019

HADI ABDUL HAQQ, Plaintiff,
v.
WALMART DEPARTMENT STORE, 7101 Gateway Blvd. West, El Paso, Texas 79925, MCDONALD'S RESTAURANT, Walmart Department Store, WALMART STORES, INC., 702 S. W. 8th Street, Bentonville, Arkansas 72716, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          DAVID C. GUADERRAMA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is United States Magistrate Judge Robert F. Castaneda's "Report and Recommendation" (ECF No. 8) ("R&R"). Therein, the magistrate judge recommends that the instant case should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Also, before the Court is Plaintiff Hadi Abdul Haqq's "Opposition to U.S. Magistrate Judge['s] Report and Recommendation" (ECF No. 11) ("Objections to the R&R"). Mr. Haqq is proceeding pro se and in forma pauper is ("IFP") in this action.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On July 22, 2019, Mr. Haqq tendered a complaint to the district clerk and filed an application to proceed IFP along with his financial affidavit. On July 29, this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), referred this case to Judge Castaneda. Because the information provided in the affidavit indicated that Mr. Haqq lacked the funds necessary to prosecute this action, the magistrate judge granted the application, and his Complaint (ECF No. 5) was docketed on July 30. See Order Granting IFP, ECF No. 4. Moreover, the magistrate judge ordered the Clerk of the Court not to issue service of process until he conducts juridical screening of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Id. at 1. On August 9, 2019, the magistrate judge issued the R&R recommending dismissal of this action. The judge allowed Mr. Haqq fourteen days to file written objections to his proposed findings, conclusions, and recommendations. R&R at 6. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). On August 19, 2019, Mr. Haqq filed his Objections to the R&R.

         II. STANDARD

         A. Standard for Review of the R&R

         When a party files timely written objections to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the district judge must "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). "[I]n providing for a 'de novo determination,' rather than de novo hearing, Congress intended to permit whatever reliance a district judge, in the exercise of sound judicial discretion, chose to place on a magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations." United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 676 (1980). After completing its review of the report, the district judge "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3).

         As to other portions-that is, the unobjected-to portions-of the magistrate judge's report or when a party does not file written objections, the district judge applies a "clearly erroneous, abuse of discretion and contrary to law" standard of review. United States v. Wilson, 864 F.2d 1219, 1221 (5th Cir. 1989). A finding "is clearly erroneous if the court 'is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.'" Alphonse v. Arch Bay Holdings, Z.Z.C, 618 Fed.Appx. 765, 768 (5th Cir. 2015) (quoting Anderson v. City of Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 573 (1985)).

         B. Standard for Dismissal Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915

         The federal IFP statute instructs the district court to dismiss "at any time" an IFP complaint, if it determines that the action "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). In making that determination, courts apply the same standard that it applies on a motion filed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Samford v. Dretke, 562 F.3d 674, 678 (5th Cir. 2009).

         Rule 12(b)(6) allows dismissal of a complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a plaintiff must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). To meet the "facial plausibility" standard, the plaintiff must "plead[] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The court's task, then, is "to determine whether the plaintiff has stated a legally cognizable claim that is plausible, not to evaluate the plaintiffs likelihood of success." Doe ex rel. Magee v. Covington Cty. Sch. Dist., 675 F.3d 849, 854 (5th Cir. 2012) (en banc).

         C. Standard for Pro Se Complaints and Briefs

         Courts are to liberally construe the pleadings and briefs of pro se litigants, like Mr. Haqq here, and apply less stringent standards to pro se litigants than to parties represented by counsel. Andrade v. Gonzales, 459 F.3d 538, 543 (5th Cir. 2006); Grant v. Cuellar, 59 F.3d 523, 524 (5th Cir. 1995). Nevertheless, like any other parties, pro se litigants must properly plead sufficient facts that, when liberally construed, state a plausible claim to relief, and clearly address and brief the issues. See KRO.C. v. Simbaki, Ltd., 767 F.3d 475, 484 (5th Cir. 2014); Grant, 59 F.3d at 524; Nunez v. US. Postal Serv., 298 Fed.Appx. 316, 319 (5th Cir. 2008).

         Moreover, "the 'special judicial solicitude' with which a district court should view such pro se complaints does not transform the court into an advocate" for the pro se party. Welter v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. for City of Baltimore,901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Barker v. Norman,651 F.2d 1107, 1129 n.26 (5th Cir. Unit A July 1981) ("[A] district judge ... is neither required nor ...


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