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Connolly v. Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

February 12, 2018

DANIEL P. CONNOLLY, Plaintiff,
v.
SHAW'S SUPERMARKETS, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court (1) allows the plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis; and (2) directs the plaintiff to file an amended complaint.

         I. Background

         On September 12, 2017, pro se litigant Daniel P. Connolly filed a complaint and a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. He names one defendant--his former employer Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc. (“Shaw's”). His brief statement of the claim is as follows: “I was wrongly dismissed from my position without a hearing that I requested in writing. When the company received my receiving records, Shaw's Supermarkets found everything in order.” Compl. at 4.

         On January 12, 2018, the Clerk received a letter in which Connolly stated that he wanted to submit his entire case filed at the office of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”).[1] Connolly requests advice in obtaining these records and asks if the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has a copy of them.

         II. Discussion

         A. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Upon review of the motion to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court concludes that the plaintiff has adequately shown that he is without means to prepay the $400.00 filing fee. The Court therefore allows the motion.

         B. Screening of the Complaint

         Because the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, his complaint is subject to screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). This statute authorizes federal courts to dismiss actions in which a plaintiff seeks to proceed without prepayment of fees if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon 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). In conducting this review, the Court liberally construes the complaint because the plaintiff is proceeding pro se. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

         1. Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

         To state a claim for relief, a complaint must, in compliance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In other words, the complaint must “give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Calvi v. Knox County, 470 F.3d 422, 430 (1st Cir. 2006) (quoting Educadores Puertorriqueños en Acción v. Hernández, 367 F.3d 61, 66 (1st Cir. 2004)). This means that the statement of the claim must “at least set forth minimal facts as to who did what to whom, when, where, and why.” Id. (quoting Educadores, 367 F.3d at 68). Although the requirements of Rule 8(a)(2) are minimal, “minimal requirements are not tantamount to nonexistent requirements.” Id. (quoting Gooley v. Mobil Oil Corp., 851 F.2d 513, 514 (1st Cir. 1988)). Further, “only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief” states a claim upon which relief can be granted. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (emphasis added). “Where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, ” the complaint does not show that “the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. (quoting Fed. R Civ. P. 8(a)(2) in second quotation).

         Here, Connolly's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. While his allegations provide some information about his claim, he has not “set forth minimal facts as to who did what to whom [and] when.” Connolly must file an amended complaint that follow the instruction of the form complaint he used: “State how each defendant was involved and what each defendant did that caused the plaintiff harm or violated the plaintiff's rights, including the dates and places of that involvement or conduct.” Compl. at 4.

         2. Insufficient Allegations of ...


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