United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Anthony P. Patti United States Magistrate Judge
AND ORDER: (1) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION TO
PROCEED IN DISTRICT COURT WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FEES OR COSTS
(ECF NO. 2); (2) SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT PURSUANT
TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (ECF NO. 1); AND (3) DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR SERVICE BY U.S. MARSHAL AS MOOT
(ECF No. 3)
D. BORMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiff Sadaira Reeves' Application
to Proceed in District Court without Prepayment of Fees or
Costs and Request for Service by U.S. Marshal. (ECF Nos. 2,
3.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant
Plaintiff's Application to Proceed without Prepayment of
Fees or Costs but will dismiss the Complaint, sua
sponte, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) because
it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
The Court will also deny as moot Plaintiff's request for
service by U.S. Marshal.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), a court may allow
commencement of a civil action without the prepayment of fees
or costs if the applicant submits an affidavit demonstrating
that he or she is “unable to pay such fees or give
security therefor.” In the instant action, Plaintiff
has supplied an affidavit regarding her financial obligations
and income. (ECF No. 2.) Based on this information the Court
will grant Plaintiff's Application to Proceed without
Prepayment of Fees or Costs.
Court, however, is required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 to
dismiss a complaint filed without prepayment of fees that is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). The United States Court of Appeals for the
Sixth Circuit has explained:
Unlike prisoner cases, complaints by non-prisoners are not
subject to the screening process required by § 1915A.
However, the district court must still screen the complaint
under § 1915(e)(2). ... Section 1915(e)(2) provides us
with the ability to screen these, as well as prisoner cases
that satisfy the requirements of the section. The screening
must occur even before process is served or the individual
has had an opportunity to amend the complaint. The complaint
must be dismissed if it falls within the requirements of
§ 1915(e)(2) when filed.
McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir.
1997) (overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock,
549 U.S. 199 (2007)).
must dismiss an action when it “fails to state a claim
on which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). To determine whether an action states a
claim on which relief may be granted under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), this Court must apply the dismissal
standard as set forth in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544 (2007). See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d
468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Accordingly, the complaint must
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted). To this end, “a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds'
of his ‘entitle[ment] 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....” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555 (internal citations omitted).
Court is also aware that a pro se litigant's complaint
must be liberally construed and held to “less stringent
standards that formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972);
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per
curiam). A plaintiff, however, must provide more than just
“bare assertions of legal conclusions.”
Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 577 (6th Cir. 2008)
(quoting Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc.,
859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988)).
it is difficult to fully understand the factual timeline
outlined in the Complaint, the essence of Plaintiff's
claims seems to be that she was an employee of General Motors
Corporation (“GMC”) and a member of Defendant
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and
Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Local 594
(“UAW”); that in those capacities she was
subjected to racially discriminatory and harassing conduct by
GMC or UAW personnel in 2008; that her reports of the
incident or incidents were ignored by authorities at GMC or
UAW; and that she later had her employment terminated on
improper grounds in 2009 . (See ECF No. 1 at 5-6.)
The Complaint also appears to allege that Plaintiff attempted
to secure back pay and reinstatement to her position at GMC
through UAW, but that UAW failed to represent her fairly and
adequately in these efforts, leading to her continued
inability to recover her position at GMC. (See Id.
at 6-7.) (The Court draws these inferences through liberal
construction of the Complaint, which does not make completely
clear whom Plaintiff worked for and when, what the
affiliations of all of the various identified individuals and
witnesses were, or what the nature of efforts were by GMC or
UAW to investigate Plaintiff's complaints or to secure
reinstatement for her.) Plaintiff seeks redress for alleged
breaches of contracts and anti-harassment and
anti-discrimination policies, as well as compensation for
lost wages, benefits, and related pain and suffering.
(See Id. at 7.)
civil cover sheet accompanying her Complaint, Plaintiff
indicates that the central claim in this case is one for
breach of contract. (See Id. at 9.) The federal
district court, however, is a court of limited jurisdiction.
This Court is only empowered to hear cases that are defined
within Article III, § 2, cl. 1 of the Constitution, or
that have been entrusted to this Court through a
jurisdictional grant of Congress. See Ins. Corp. of
Ireland, Ltd. v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456
U.S. 694, 701-02 (1982). Diversity jurisdiction does not
exist in this case, since Plaintiff indicated on her civil
cover sheet that both she and Defendant UAW are citizens of
Michigan. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff has
also not sued the United States. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1346. This Court therefore only has jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's breach-of-contract claim-typically a
state-law cause of action-if it is somehow part of, or at
least supplemental to, a federal claim. See 28
U.S.C. § 1367.
Complaint does not specify a federal statute under which
Plaintiff brings this action. Because the Complaint appears
to make factual allegations involving both GMC and Defendant
UAW, however, it can be reasonably inferred that Plaintiff
wishes to pursue remedies from both parties. This is further
evidenced by the fact that Plaintiff has filed an identical
Complaint against GMC. See Reeves v. General Motors
Corporation, No. 16-14456 (E.D. Mich. filed Dec. 22,
2016). The United States Supreme Court has recognized the
existence of a “hybrid” cause of action that a
plaintiff may bring against both an employer and a union
based on the employer's malfeasance and the union's
failure to adequately represent the plaintiff's
Such a suit, as a formal matter, comprises two causes of
action. The suit against the employer rests on § 301 [of
the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185, ]
since the employee is alleging a breach of the collective
bargaining agreement. The suit against the union is one for
breach of the union's duty of fair representation, which