United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE
M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the court is the pro se complaint of Plaintiff
Andrea Nichole Eggleston Mayo. Doc. 8. Also pending is a
motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Doc. 2.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) this case was referred
to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for review
and submission of a report with recommended findings of fact
and conclusions of law. Doc. 3. For the reasons stated
herein, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that the motion to
proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2) be GRANTED, but
that the action be DISMISSED with prejudice prior to service
of process pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims in the
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The court finds
adequate allegations to support both jurisdiction and venue
in the Middle District of Alabama.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
filed her initial complaint in this matter on March 9, 2018.
In response to an Order from the court (Doc. 4), Mayo filed
an amended complaint in an attempt to comply with the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Doc. 8. In the amended complaint,
she requested leave to file yet another complaint, which the
court granted. Doc. 9. The deadline to submit this second
amended complaint has passed with no word from Mayo.
Accordingly, in this recommendation the court addresses the
allegations set forth in Mayo's first amended complaint
(Doc. 8), and the facts below are those alleged in that
names as defendants in this action the State of Alabama
Department of Human Resources, Child Support Enforcement
Division (“DHR”); Maurice A. Eggleston; Victoria
Stuart; Ayanna Rearden; Judge J. Michael Conaway; and Judge
Lori Collier Ingram. Doc. 1. Construing her pro se
complaint liberally, Mayo asserts Fourteenth Amendment due
process and equal protection claims. The majority of these
claims stem from an ex parte custody hearing held in
May 2013 during which Judge Conaway revoked Mayo's
custody of her two children and granted custody to her former
spouse, Maurice Eggleston. Doc. 8 at 3. According to Mayo,
Judge Conaway had no reason to transfer custody to Eggleston,
who previously had visitation restrictions placed upon him
for his failure to supervise the children properly. Doc. 8 at
3. Eggleston is a Dothan, Alabama police officer. Doc. 8 at
6. At one point, the custody case was transferred to Judge
Collier Ingram, but later was returned to Judge Conaway. Doc.
8 at 6.
Judge Conaway ordered Mayo to pay child support at an
unspecified time. Doc. 8 at 5. Mayo alleges that she later
was found “not guilty” of owing child support but
that Judge Conaway “continues to leave the order in
place.” Doc. 8 at 5-6. DHR, along with DHR employees
Stuart and Rearden, have threatened to suspend Mayo's
driver's license if she does not pay the child support
ordered by Judge Conaway. Doc. 8 at 5. DHR also issued a
warrant, which led to her arrest and the unlawful seizure of
her vehicle. Doc. 8 at 7. The outstanding child support
payments have negatively affected her ability to use credit,
operate financially, obtain employment, and freely travel
upon the roads without fear of harassment by DHR. Doc. 8 at
5. Mayo complained about these actions to the Federal Bureau
of Investigation but it did not respond to her complaints.
Doc. 8 at 2.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
same standards governing dismissal under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) also govern the review of a
complaint under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Douglas v.
Yates, 535 F.3d 1316, 1320 (11th Cir. 2008). In
evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint, the court must
indulge reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor
but is “not required to draw plaintiff's
inference.” Aldana v. Del Monte Fresh Produce,
N.A., Inc., 416 F.3d 1242, 1248 (11th Cir. 2005).
Similarly, “unwarranted deductions of fact” are
not admitted as true for the purpose of testing the
sufficiency of a plaintiff's allegations. Id.
complaint may be dismissed if the facts as pleaded do not
state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.
See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (explaining that
“only a complaint that states a plausible claim for
relief survives a motion to dismiss”); Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561, 570 (2007)
(retiring the prior standard allowing dismissal only where
“it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove
no set of facts in support of his claim”). In
Twombly, the Supreme Court emphasized that a
complaint “requires more than labels and conclusions,
and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286
(1986)). Factual allegations in a complaint need not be
detailed but “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level . . . on the assumption that all
the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful
in fact).” Id. at 555 (internal citations
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation[s]” will
not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Further, when a
successful affirmative defense, such as the statute of
limitations, appears on the face of the complaint, dismissal
for failure to state a claim also is warranted. Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007).
addition to the pleading requirements of Twombly and
Iqbal, a plaintiff's pro se status must
be considered when evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint.
“A document filed pro se is ‘to be
liberally construed,' and ‘a pro se
complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976)). Yet any leniency cannot serve as a
substitute for pleading a proper cause of action. See
Odion v. Google Inc., 628 Fed.Appx. 635, 637 (11th Cir.
2015) (recognizing that although courts must show leniency to
pro se litigants, “this leniency does not give
a court license to serve as de facto counsel for a
party, or to rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading in order
to sustain an action”) (internal quotation marks
omitted). “While the pleadings of pro se
litigants are liberally construed, they must still comply
with procedural rules governing the proper form of
pleadings.” Hopkins v. St. Lucie Cnty. Sch.
Bd., 399 Fed.Appx. 563, 565 (11th Cir. 2010) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted).
42 U.S.C. § 1983 imposes liability on any person who,
under color of state law, deprives any citizen of the United
States “of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws[.]” Because the
Fourteenth Amendment does not establish a private right of
action, “it is only via the statutory vehicle of . . .
§ 1983 that a plaintiff may seek to vindicate [her] 14th
Amendment rights.” McBride v. Murray, 2006 WL
734542, at *2 (N.D.Ga. Mar. 17, 2006) (citing BellSouth
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