United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge
Darnell Brown, Jr., a pro se Plaintiff,
filed the complaint in this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff also has filed a Motion for
Leave to proceed in Forma Pauperis
(“IFP”) (Doc. 2) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915 is meant to ensure that indigent litigants have
meaningful access to the federal courts, and it applies to
non-prisoner plaintiffs and prisoners alike. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989); Floyd v. United
States Postal Serv., 105 F.3d 274, 275-77 (6th Cir.
1997) (overruled on other grounds) (“[T]he only logical
interpretation of the statute is that non-prisoners have the
option to proceed in forma pauperis under §
1915(a).”). Under § 1915, an indigent party may
commence a federal court action, without paying required
costs and fees, upon submission of an affidavit asserting
inability “to pay such fees or give security
therefor” and stating “the nature of the action,
defense or appeal and the affiant's belief that the
person is entitled to redress.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1). Plaintiff has done so in this case, but the
Court's inquiry does not end there.
1915(e)(2) requires careful threshold scrutiny of the
complaint filed by an IFP plaintiff. A court can deny a
qualified plaintiff leave to file IFP or dismiss a case if
the action is clearly frivolous or malicious, fails to state
a claim, or is a claim for money damages against an immune
defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). An action fails to
state a claim if it does not plead “enough facts to
state a claim to rlief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). An action is frivolous if it “lack[s] an
arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim is
legally frivolous if it is “based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory.” Id. at 327-328. A
claim is factually frivolous if it is “clearly
baseless, ” “fanciful, ” “fantastic,
” “delusional, ” “irrational, ”
or “wholly incredible.” Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 24, 32-33 (1992). See also
Felton v. City of Chicago, 827 F.3d 632, 635 (7th Cir.
evaluating whether a complaint is factually frivolous for
purposes of the in forma pauperis statute, the Court
need not “accept without question the truth of the
plaintiff's allegations.” Denton, 504 U.S.
at 34. Instead, the statute “accords judges not only
the authority to dismiss a claim based on an undisputably
meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce
the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and
dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly
baseless.” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325.
reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's complaint does not
survive review under the above standard.
to the complaint, Plaintiff, who was a student at Southern
Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois
(“SIUC”), was wrongfully arrested “during
finals week.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff alleges that
his wrongful arrest is the result of a conspiracy or
“plot” involving employees at SIUC, as well as
“Beyonce Knowles Carter and many other celebrities and
famous wealthy people like the Rocefeller [sic]
Family.” (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 5-6).
purpose of the conspiracy was to prevent Plaintiff from
graduating and to allow him to sell cocaine on behalf of SIUC
as a way to pay for the basketball program at SIUC (or as a
way to pay Plaintiff for playing basketball for SIUC). (Doc.
1, pp. 5-6; Doc. 1-1 p. 1). Plaintiff specifically alleges as
follows with regard to the alleged conspiracy:
•The “entire city of Carbondale was taken over by
wealthy celebrities and famous people in a proxy to seduce
[Plaintiff] to sell cocaine for the institution.” (Doc.
1, p. 5).
• “SIU has offered to give [Plaintiff] cocaine in
order to play college basketball for the institution. I have
refused and because of this they have been taking actions
towards me to mess up my career aspirations.” (Doc.
1-1, p. 1).
• “[M]ajor recording artist[s] like Beyonce have
traveled to the school to harass me and steal my copyrighted
work using it for her Lemonade album.” (Doc. 1-1, p.
alleges he has been wrongfully arrested multiple times,
including a wrongful arrest for damage to a vending machine,
all in furtherance of the conspiracy. Id. At least
one of the wrongful arrests involved a misdemeanor that
resulted in Plaintiff serving time in jail. (Doc. 1, p. 6).
In addition to the loss of liberty, Plaintiff contends the
conspiracy prevented him from graduating, left him homeless,
and has interfered with his ability to locate employment.
(Doc. 1, Doc. 1-1, p. 2).
two-page handwritten note attached to the complaint as an
exhibit states that Plaintiff currently has an active case
due to an arrest at Rehn Hall - Case Number 16-cm-258,
Jackson County, Illinois. (Doc. 1-1). A review of publicly
available Court records reveals that in 2016 Plaintiff was
charged with two class A misdemeanors in Case Number