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Johnson v. Wells Fargo Bank

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

July 7, 2014

CLARENCE D. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

M. PAGE KELLEY, Magistrate Judge.

For the reasons set forth below: (1) plaintiff's Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees is Allowed; (2) denies the motion to seal; (3) denies the motion for counsel; and (4) within 35 days of the date of this Memorandum and Order, plaintiff shall demonstrate good cause why this action should not be dismissed or he shall file an Amended Complaint which cures the deficiencies noted below.

BACKGROUND

On March 21, 2014, Clarence D. Johnson ("Johnson"), a resident of Clinton, Maryland, filed an Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees along with his self-prepared complaint. Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion to seal and a motion for appointment of counsel.

Named as defendant in the case caption of the complaint is Wells Fargo Bank. Complaint ("Compl."). Plaintiff states that he "once again" files a complaint against Wells Fargo "for illegal conduct and unauthorize[d] movement of several of [plaintiff's] bank accounts which has caused [plaintiff] to not be able to open up an account because of illegal activity (Bank Robbery) by outside agency's." Id . at p. 1. In his complaint, plaintiff states that he plans to name the Internal Revenue Service because "there is illegal fraudulent activity by way of drafts and other illegal movement by I.R.S." Id . at p. 2. For relief, plaintiff seeks "7 million in U.S. Dollars" and "prosecution of whoever in which ever the court feels best this is a[n] ongoing problem with stealing [plaintiff's] identify." Id . at p. 3.

The Court's records indicate that Mr. Johnson previously filed five cases in the District of Massachusetts. See Johnson v. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, et al., C.A. No. 13-12584-FDS (Jan. 6, 2014, dismissed for failure to state a claim); Johnson v. Sheet metal Local #100, et al., C.A. No. 13-13223-NMG (pending); Johnson v. Evans, et al., C.A. 14-10864-JGD (pending); Johnson v. United States Judges, C.A. No. 14-11273-DPW (pending); and Johnson v. North Carolina Unemployment, C.A. No. 14-11325-GAO (pending).

Moreover, a search of the federal Judiciary's Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service reveals that plaintiff filed six frivolous actions in other federal district courts last year. See Johnson v. Denver Gen. Dist. Court, 1:2013-cv-01475 (D. D.C. Sept. 26, 2013); Johnson v. Henrico Police Dept, 1:2013-cv-12584 (D. D.C. Sept. 26, 2013); Johnson v. Henrico Co. Govt., 1:2013-cv-00286 (E.D. Va. June 19, 2013); Johnson v. IRS, 1:2013-cv-00385 (E.D. Va. Mar. 26, 2013); Johnson v. Wells Fargo, 1:2013-cv-00419 (E.D. Va. Apr. 9, 2013); Johnson v. Ebenezer Baptist Church, 1:2013-cv-00430 (E.D.Va. Aug. 15, 2013). The instant action almost identical to Johnson v. Wells Fargo, 1:2013-cv-00419 (E.D. Va. Apr. 9, 2013).

PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, a district court may authorize the commencement of a civil action in forma pauperis if it is satisfied that the would-be plaintiff cannot pay the filing fees necessary to pursue the action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Upon review of plaintiff's financial disclosures, the request to proceed in forma pauperis is hereby ALLOWED.

SCREENING

Because plaintiff has sought to proceed without the prepayment of the filing fee, the complaint is subject to review to determine if it satisfies the requirements of Section 1915 of Title 28, the federal in forma pauperis statute. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Section 1915 authorizes the federal courts to dismiss an action in which a plaintiff seeks to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee if the action lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact, Neitzke v. Williams , 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989), or if the action fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2); Neitzke v. Williams , 490 U.S. at 325; Denton v. Hernandez , 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992); Gonzalez-Gonzalez v. United States , 257 F.3d 31, 37 (1st Cir. 2001).

DISCUSSION

A. Claim Preclusion

The prior decision in Johnson v. Wells Fargo, No. 13-00419 (E.D. Va. Apr. 9, 2013) bars plaintiff's present suit under the doctrine of claim preclusion. Claim preclusion, also known as res judicata, prevents the relitigation of claims that a party "had the opportunity and incentive to fully ...


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