United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
K. Chen, United States District Judge.
October 19, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Andrew Grant,
filed the instant action against Defendants MERSCORP Holdings
Inc. (“MERSCORP”), Bill Beckmann, the Chief
Executive Officer of MERSCORP, and Brendon Weiss, the Senior
Vice President of MERSCORP. Plaintiff is “seeking a
remedy in Admiralty” and alleges jurisdiction pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Freedom of Information Act (the
“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552 et seq., as well as
numerous provisions of Title 18 of the United States Code.
(Complaint, Dkt. 1, at 1-5.) Plaintiff has paid the filing
fee to commence this action. For the reasons discussed below,
Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed sua
sponte; however, Plaintiff is granted thirty (30)
days from the date of this Order to file an amended
as can be determined, Plaintiff appears to allege that
Defendant MERSCORP improperly assigned the mortgage on his
property. He seeks five million dollars in damages and
requests that his mortgage be “cleared.”
(Id. at 6).
Standard of Review
the Court is mindful that “[a] document filed pro
se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se
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 citations omitted), a complaint
must still contain “sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face, ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his entitlement to relief requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . .
Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal
quotations and citations omitted). The district court has
“inherent authority to dismiss frivolous actions”
sua sponte. Abrams v. Sprizzo, 201 F.3d
430, 430 (2d Cir. 1999); see also Mallard v. U.S. Dist.
Court for S. Dist. of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 307-08 (1989)
(noting that even though a statute “authorizes courts
to dismiss a ‘frivolous or malicious' action, . . .
there is little doubt [courts] would have power to do so even
in the absence of [a statute]”); Leonhard v.
U.S., 633 F.2d 599, 609 n.11 (2d Cir. 1980) (noting that
the district court had the power to dismiss a complaint
sua sponte for failure to state a claim).
Plaintiff does not make a cognizable claim, the Court finds
that this lawsuit is frivolous and must be dismissed. See
Abrams, 201 F.3d at 430 (“An action is frivolous
as a matter of law when . . . ‘the claim is based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory or when a dispositive
defense clearly exists on the face of the
complaint.'”) (quoting Livingston v. Adirondack
Beverage Co., 141 F.3d 434, 437 (2d Cir. 1998));
Baker v. Dir. U.S. Parole Comm'r., 916 F.2d 725
(D.C. Cir. 1990) (holding sua sponte dismissal
appropriate where “it is patently obvious that
[plaintiff] could not prevail”). The Court, however,
grants Plaintiff leave to amend.
Plaintiff's Claims Are Not Cognizable under 42 U.S.C.
extent Plaintiff seeks to maintain an action under Section
1983, he must allege two essential elements. First,
“the conduct complained of must have been committed by
a person acting under color of state law.” Pitchell
v. Callan, 13 F.3d 545, 547 (2d Cir. 1994) (citation
omitted). Second, “the conduct complained of must have
deprived a person of rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States.” Id.; see also McGugan v.
Aldana-Bernier, 752 F.3d 224, 229 (2d Cir. 2014)
(“To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that defendants violated plaintiff's federal
rights while acting under color of state law.”).
Private conduct, no matter how discriminatory or wrongful, is
generally beyond the reach of Section 1983. Am.
Manufacturers Mutual Ins.e Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40,
50 (1999) (quotations omitted); cf. Brentwood Academy v.
Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Ass'n, 531 U.S.
288, 295 (2001) (“[S]tate action may be found if,
though only if, there is such a ‘close nexus between
the State and the challenged action' that seemingly
private behavior ‘may be fairly treated as that of the
State itself.'” (quoting Jackson v.
Metropolitan Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 351 (1974)).
Defendant MERSCORP is a private corporation and Defendants
Bill Beckmann and Brendon Weiss are private parties whose
conduct is not alleged to be attributable to the State.
Therefore, Plaintiff may not maintain a Section 1983 action
against these defendants.
Plaintiff's Claims Are Not Cognizable under Title 18 of
the United States Code
Complaint, Plaintiff lists numerous provisions of Title 18 of
the United States Code, which sets forth federal
criminal statutes. Liberally construed, Plaintiff
appears to allege that Defendants have violated these
criminal provisions. (Dkt. 1, at 2-4.) Federal criminal
statutes, such as those invoked by Plaintiff, do not provide
private rights of action. Hill v. Didio, 191 F.
App'x 13, 14-15 (2d Cir. 2006); (see also Dkt.
1, at 2-4). A private party does not have standing to file or
prosecute a criminal case because “a private citizen
lacks a judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or
nonprosecution of another.” Leeke v.
Timmerman, 454 U.S. 83, 86 (1981) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). Therefore, to the extent that
Plaintiff seeks to pursue criminal charges against
Defendants, he lacks standing.
Plaintiff's Claims Are Not Cognizable under 5 ...