United States District Court, District of Columbia
February 23, 2015
Trazell I, Plaintiff,
Esprinto LLC, et al., Defendants.
TANYA S. CHUTKAN, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on its initial review of plaintiff's pro se complaint and application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court will grant the in forma pauperis application and dismiss the case because the complaint fails to meet the minimal pleading requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Pro se litigants must comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Jarrell v. Tisch, 656 F.Supp. 237, 239 (D.D.C. 1987). Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires complaints to contain "(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction [and] (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009); Ciralsky v. CIA, 355 F.3d 661, 668-71 (D.C. Cir. 2004). The Rule 8 standard ensures that defendants receive fair notice of the claim being asserted so that they can prepare a responsive answer and an adequate defense and determine whether the doctrine of res judicata applies. Brown v. Califano, 75 F.R.D. 497, 498 (D.D.C. 1977).
Plaintiff, a District of Columbia resident, has submitted a "Civil Complaint in Chancery" against a business in the District of Columbia. Plaintiff seeks $45, 000.50 in monetary damages. In the one-page complaint, plaintiff states that the business violated "plaintiff's religious rights" and that the defendant-owner did not rebut a claim notice allegedly mailed in June 2013 about "the discriminatory practices by [the business's] agent... toward the plaintiff abrogating his aboriginal rights."
Plaintiff invokes 42 U.S.C. § 1983, but that statute authorizes a private cause of action against individuals who violate constitutional rights while acting under the authority of a state or the District of Columbia. Nothing in the sparsely worded complaint suggests that the named private defendants are subject to liability under § 1983. Regardless, plaintiff has not stated any facts to support his legal conclusions and, thus, has not provided adequate notice of a claim. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (A complaint "that offers labels and conclusions... [or] naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement" does not suffice to satisfy Rule 8's pleading requirement) (citations, internal quotation marks and alterations omitted). A separate Order of dismissal accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.