United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
JOHN T. HIGGINS, Plaintiff,
VERIZON OF NEW ENGLAND, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge.
case arises out of the allegations of a Verizon New
England customer in a pro se complaint naming
Verizon as defendant. Pending before the Court is
plaintiff's affidavit of indigency and defendant's
motions to dismiss and for injunctive relief. For the reasons
that follow, plaintiff will be permitted to proceed in
forma pauperis and shall show cause, in writing, why
the defendant's motions should not be granted.
October 5, 2018, Plaintiff John T. Higgins filed a complaint
naming Verizon as a defendant. See Docket No. 1.
Plaintiff alleges in his statement of claim that he has
brought the complaint "because the apartment complex
[he] live[s] in is restricting [his] telecommunications
services to one local company." Id. at ¶
III (statement of claim). He also alleges claims of
"obstruction of justice" and "collusion."
Id. at ¶ IV (relief), page 5. Plaintiff seeks
monetary damages in the amount of $31, 000, 000. Id.
at ¶ 1(B)(3) (the amount in controversy). With his
complaint, plaintiff attaches what appears to be a copy of a
motion he filed in a state court action he filed against
Verizon in Middlesex Superior Court. Id. at page 7.
Plaintiff also submitted an Affidavit of Indigency seeking
waiver of the filing fee. Id. at pages 9-12.
this action was pending, and before a summons issued,
defendant filed a motion to dismiss. See Docket No..
7. Defendant also filed a motion for injunctive relief.
See Docket No. 8.
seeking to proceed in forma pauperis must submit an
affidavit that includes a statement of all plaintiff's
assets. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Upon review
of the plaintiff's affidavit, the Court concludes that he
is without income or assets to pay the $400.00 filing fee. He
is therefore permitted to proceed in forma pauperis.
Plaintiff's Complaint is Subject to Dismissal
initial matter, documents filed by an unrepresented litigant
are to be "liberally construed," and an
unrepresented plaintiff's 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) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted). When examining the sufficiency
of the pleadings, the Court considers whether the plaintiff
has pled "enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(citation omitted). A plaintiff's complaint need not
provide an exhaustive factual account, only a short and plain
statement. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). However, the allegations must
be sufficient to identify the manner by which the defendant
subjected the plaintiff to harm and the harm alleged must be
one for which the law affords a remedy. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. Legal conclusions couched as facts and
"threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action" will not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678. See also Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset,
640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011).
extent the plaintiff seeks review the earlier rulings of the
Middlesex Superior Court, this Court is without subject
matter jurisdiction to entertain what would be the functional
equivalent of an appeal from a state judgment. Under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, a federal district
court lacks jurisdiction over a final judgment of a state
court. See Geiger v. Foley Hoag LLP Retirement Plan,
521 F.3d 60, 65 (1st Cir. 2008).
extent the plaintiff alleges collusion, the complaint fails
to allege one fact in support of such a claim. To the extent
the plaintiff seeks to assert a claim for obstruction of
justice, private citizens lack a judicially cognizable
interest in the federal prosecution or non-prosecution of
another. See, e.g., Linda R.S. v.
Richard P., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973); accord
Nieves-Ramos v. Gonzalez, 737 F.Supp. 727, 728 (D.P.R.
1990) (same). There is no private right of action under the
federal statutes for obstruction of justice. See Harihar
v. United States, No. 17-11109-DJC, 2017 WL 6551360 at
*3 (D. Mass. Aug. 11, 2017).
these reasons, and the reasons stated in the defendant's
motion to dismiss, plaintiff's complaint is subject to
dismissal for failing to state a claim upon which relief may
Defendant's Motion ...