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Harris v. Amy Lowell Apartments

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

July 8, 2014

KEVIN HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
AMY LOWELL APARTMENTS, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

PATTI B. SARIS, Chief District Judge.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court allows the Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; (Docket No. 2); denies the Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Docket No. 3); and directs plaintiff to show cause why this action should not be dismissed, or he shall file an Amended Complaint which cures the pleading deficiencies noted below.

I. Background

Plaintiff Kevin Harris, a former tenant in the defendant's subsidized residential housing development in Boston, filed his self-prepared complaint against his former landlord. See Docket No. 1. With his complaint, Harris filed an Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees and a Motion for Appointment of Counsel. See Docket.

Harris' complaint consists of one (1) typewritten page and is accompanied by eight-three (83) pages of exhibits, including copies of docket sheets and opinions from state court litigation. See Docket No. 1. As best can be gleaned from the opinion of the Massachusetts Appeals Court [Kevin Harris v. Amy Lowell Apartments, 2013-P-0042], Harris appealed from a Superior Court judgment dismissing his claims against the defendant landlord for his 2011 eviction. Harris filed an application for Further Appellate Review, FAR-22299, which was denied on June 10, 2014.

Harris alleges that his civil rights were violated when the defendant used procedures to "Wrongfully Evict him." Harris explains that he seeks review by the federal court because of corruption and judicial misconduct in the Massachusetts state court system.

II. Discussion

A. The Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

In his Application to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees, Harris states that he is not employed, has no funds and owns no property. He states that he receives monthly social security benefits and has partial custody of two minor children. On these financial disclosures, the Court finds that he is without funds to pay the filing fee. Accordingly, the Application is granted.

B. Screening of the Complaint

Section 1915 of title 28 requires a federal court to dismiss an action brought thereunder if the court determines that the action "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Section 1915 also requires dismissal if the court is satisfied that the action is "frivolous." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(I). A claim "is frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact." Neitzke v. Williams , 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).

In connection with the preliminary screening, Harris' pro se pleadings are construed generously. Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Rodi v. New Eng. Sch. of Law , 389 F.3d 5, 13 (1st Cir. 2004). However, even under a liberal construction, his claims under are subject to dismissal for the reasons discussed below.

C. The Complaint is Subject to Dismissal

Harris does not provide a viable legal basis for this action. To the extent that he challenges the integrity of the state courts' proceedings in which he was recently involved and allege that his federal and state rights were violated by procedural or substantive errors procured by the defendant, this federal district court has no jurisdiction to entertain such claims. Plaintiff's challenges to these final judgments in state court are barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co. , 263 U.S. 413, 44 ...


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