United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE
M. BORDEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is the pro se complaint of Plaintiff
Johnny Hughley. Doc. 6. Also pending is a motion to proceed
in forma pauperis (Doc. 2) and a motion for
preliminary injunction. Doc. 8. 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 below, the Magistrate Judge
RECOMMENDS that the motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (Doc. 2) be GRANTED, but that the motion for
preliminary injunction (Doc. 8) be DENIED, that Hughley's
federal claims 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 can be granted, and that Hughley's state-law
claims be DISMISSED without prejudice.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims in the
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367. The
court finds adequate allegations to support both jurisdiction
and venue in the Middle District of Alabama.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
facts in this recommendation are those alleged in the Second
Amended Complaint. Doc. 6. On May 15, 1986, Hughley filed a
civil action against Motors Insurance Corporation; Royal
Oldsmobile; Columbus, Inc.; and Tony Cocus. Doc. 6 at 2. On
or about October 16, 1987, the State of Alabama illegally
detained Hughley in the Chambers County jail and in state
prison. Doc. 6 at 2. The complaint does not allege on what
basis Chambers County detained Hughley, but it does claim
that he was never convicted of rape or admitted that he was
guilty of rape. Doc. 6 at 3. Hughley also submitted evidence
indicating that he had been convicted for rape in the second
degree but that the conviction was later set aside and the
case dismissed. Doc. 1-1.
the time in which Hughley was held in custody, he lost his
residence and business. Doc. 6 at 3. And, while incarcerated,
the Alabama Department of Corrections subjected him to hard
labor, made money from his work, and denied him access to the
court based on a fraudulent document that it knew to have
been obtained illegally. Doc. 6 at 3.
attorneys John A. Tinney; Fred Gray, Sr.; C.S. Whittelsey;
and Mike D. Cook defrauded Hughley out of certain settlement
funds even though he provided them with transcripts
indicating that his rape conviction had been set aside. Doc.
6 at 4. Hughley did not learn of this fraud until May 2018.
Doc. 6 at 4. When he requested reimbursement for the
attorneys' conduct, the Alabama State Bar Association
intentionally defrauded him out of insurance funds that
should have covered his loss. Doc. 6 at 5.
Captain Majors of the Lee County, Alabama Sheriff's
Office intentionally committed perjury to obtain an
indictment of Hughley. Doc. 6 at 5. The State of Alabama
utilized this fraudulent conviction to enhance Hughley's
sentence and obtain another conviction against him. Doc. 6 at
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Section 1915 Dismissal
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 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