C/A No.: 3:18-2195-JFA-SVH
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Diana Jordan ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action against J.P. Morgan Chase Bank ("Defendant") concerning the sale of 124 Bakersland Road, Chapin, South Carolina ("Property"). Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the district judge dismiss the complaint in this case without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. I. Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiff alleges Defendant effectively abandoned the Property when it did not pay the property taxes. [ECF No. 1 at 1]. Plaintiff claims she contacted Defendant's real estate agent in April 2014 and offered for AAA Mission of Charity ("AAA") to pay the delinquent property taxes in exchange for the deed. Id. Plaintiff states her offer was declined. Id. Plaintiff claims AAA paid the delinquent property taxes on June 25, 2014, and Plaintiff mailed Defendant the paid tax receipt and a request for possession this same day. Id. Plaintiff states she subsequently learned the property was sold on July 2, 2014. Id. at 1-2. Plaintiff claims she received a letter on January 7, 2015, showing that the Property's mortgage papers and deed from the July 2014 sale have been forged. Id. at 2-3. Plaintiff states Defendant attempted to bribe her in 2017 by offering to refund the money AAA paid for the delinquent property taxes. Id. at 3. II. Discussion
A. Standard of Review
Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se complaint. Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), and a federal district court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case, Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980). In evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007)).
Nonetheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (outlining pleading requirements under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 for "all civil actions"). The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so; however, a district court may not rewrite a complaint to include claims that were never presented, Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128 (10th Cir. 1999), construct the plaintiff's legal arguments for him, Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411 (7th Cir. 1993), or "conjure up questions never squarely presented" to the court, Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
This is the third complaint Plaintiff has filed with this court concerning the sale of the Property. See Jordan v. Wilson, C/A No. 3:18-1589-JFA (D.S.C. June 11, 2018) ("Jordan I") and Jordan v. Foldessey, C/A No.: 3:18-2083-JFA (D.S.C. July 27, 2018) ("Jordan II"). As in her two previous cases, Plaintiff provides insufficient factual allegations in the instant complaint to state a cognizable federal claim.
Plaintiff seeks to prove Defendant engaged in unfair sales practices when (a) its real estate agent refused to write AAA a purchase offer contract when AAA proposed to pay the Property's delinquent taxes, (b) Defendant failed to give AAA the Property's deed after AAA paid the delinquent property taxes, and (c) Defendant conspired with others to submit a forged deed for the Property. [ECF No. 1 at 4]. Plaintiff, however, has not alleged she is an attorney licensed to practice in South Carolina, and therefore she may not file an action on behalf of AAA. While individuals may represent themselves pro se in federal court, a person may not ordinarily appear pro se in the cause of another person or entity. See Pridgen v. Andresen, 113 F.3d 391, 393 (2d Cir 1997) (finding that a pro se litigant may not represent a corporation, estate, or partnership); Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975) ("[W]e consider the competence of a layman representing himself to be clearly too limited to allow him to risk the rights of others."); Estate of Kerner v. United States, 895 F.2d 1159, 1162 & n.3 (7th Cir. 1990) ("[A] party generally must assert his own legal rights and interests, and cannot rest his claim for relief on the legal rights or interests of third parties."). Accordingly, Plaintiff's complaint is subject to summary dismissal.
Here, Plaintiff cannot cure the deficiencies in her pleading by amendment because there is no indication she is an attorney, and she therefore may not pursue a claim on another's behalf. Further, the factual allegations in Plaintiff's complaint fail to state any plausible claims against Defendant. See Chong Su Yi v. Soc. Sec. Admin., 554 Fed. App'x 247, 248 (4th Cir. 2014) (affirming dismissal of factually and legally frivolous claims); Holloway v. Pagan River Dockside Seafood, Inc., 669 F.3d 448, 452-53 (4th Cir. 2012) (noting a federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a complaint raising claims "'so insubstantial, implausible . . . or otherwise completely devoid of merit as not to involve a federal controversy'") (citation omitted). Accordingly, any amendment Plaintiff may make would be futile. III. Conclusion and Recommendation
For the foregoing reasons, the undersigned recommends that this case be dismissed without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.
IT IS SO RECOMMENDED. August 14, 2018
Columbia, South Carolina
Shiva V. Hodges
United States Magistrate Judge