United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. STEARNS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
reasons stated below, the Court directs plaintiff to show
good cause why this action should not be dismissed, or in the
alternative, file an amended complaint that cures the
pleading deficiencies of the original complaint.
September 21, 2018, plaintiff Changgang Li, a resident of
Warren, New Hampshire, filed a complaint and motion to
proceed in forma pauperis in the United States
District Court for the District of New Hampshire. Li's
complaint names as defendants the Warren, New Hampshire
Police Department (“WPD”), the Belmont,
Massachusetts Police Department (“BPD”), and the
Cambridge (Massachusetts) District Court (“CDC”).
On October 23, 2018, Li was permitted to proceed in forma
pauperis and he filed an objection to the Report and
Recommendation that was subsequently withdrawn.
Order dated January 7, 2019, Magistrate Judge Andrea K.
Johnstone severed the claims against the Massachusetts
defendants and ordered a new case opened and transferred to
the District of Massachusetts. See 01/07/19 Transfer
Order. Li brings this action against the Belmont Police
Department and the Cambridge District Court alleging that
these “government departments” are “not
only illegally depriving [plaintiff] of all [of his] rights,
but also insulting and deceiving [plaintiff].”
Complaint (“Compl.”), p. 2. The statement of
claim consists of a two-page, single spaced statement.
Id. at pages 4-5. As best be gleaned from the
complaint, Li was arrested after his wife filed a police
report accusing him of domestic violence. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that his wife “did not have any
evidence to prove that [plaintiff] was guilty.”
Id. As for the state court, plaintiff alleges that
“the judge of the case just said what [plaintiff's
wife] said.” Id. Among other things, plaintiff
alleges that he has “reason to suspect that the Belmont
Police cover[ed] up the facts and continue[s] to frame
plaintiff in a malicious manner.” Id.
relief, plaintiff seeks monetary damages and appointment of
an attorney as well as a Chinese Mandarin interpreter.
Id. a t p ag es 4, 6 . Plaintiff seeks the
Court's assistance in obtaining copies of certain
videotapes from the Belmont Police Station and Santander
Bank. Id. at p. 6.
FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL AND TRANSLATOR
extent Li seeks to have the Court appoint a translator and/or
attorney, such requests are denied. There is no right to an
interpreter in this action. Cf. 28 U.S.C. §
1827(a) (“The Director of the Administrative Office of
the United States Courts shall establish a program to
facilitate the use of certified and otherwise qualified
interpreters in judicial proceedings instituted by the United
States.”); Fed. R. Crim. P. 28. Similarly, a party in a
civil case is not entitled to have its pleadings translated
into English. See, e.g., Pedraza v.
Phoenix, No. 93-2631, 1994 WL 177285, at *1 (S.D.N.Y.
May 9, 1994) (unpublished); cf. 18 U.S.C. §
3006A(e) (allowing reimbursement of translation services for
criminal defendants); Fed.R.Civ.P. 43(d) (allowing
translation of witness testimony in civil cases).
a court may request an attorney to represent any person
unable to afford counsel, see 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(1), there is no constitutional right to a free lawyer
in a civil case. See DesRosiers v. Moran, 949 F.2d
15, 24 (1st Cir. 1991). A plaintiff must demonstrate that he
is indigent and that exceptional circumstances warrant the
appointment of counsel. Id. Plaintiff states that he
is an indigent, non-English speaking litigant. He further
states that he is suing a “government department”
and seeks to have the court appoint counsel in order to
“maintain the fairness and justice of the law.”
However, at this early stage of litigation, Li has not
demonstrated that exceptional circumstances warrant the
appointment of counsel.
AUTHORITY TO REVIEW THE COMPLAINT
plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, his
complaint is subject to screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. Section 1915(e)(2) authorizes federal courts to
dismiss a complaint sua sponte if the claims therein
lack an arguable basis in law or in fact, fail to state a
claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
plaintiff must plead more than a mere allegation that the
defendants have harmed him. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 677 (2009)(detailed factual allegations are not
required under Rule 8, but a complaint “demands more
than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation” (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To adequately state
a federal claim, a complaint must allege a “plausible
entitlement to relief.” Rodriguez-Ortiz v. Margo
Caribe, Inc., 490 F.3d 92, 95 (1st Cir. 2007).
with a liberal construction of the complaint because the
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), the complaint is