United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT
CARAM STEEH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pro se, Plaintiff John Marcum filed a complaint and
application to proceed without prepayment of fees on November
1, 2019. The court finds Plaintiff's application to
proceed in forma pauperis to be facially sufficient
and, therefore, grants Plaintiff's motion to proceed
without prepayment of fees. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a); Gibson v. R.G. Smith Co., 915 F.2d 260, 262
(6th Cir. 1990).
court grants a plaintiff permission to proceed in forma
pauperis, it must review the complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court “shall dismiss"
the case if the court finds that it is “(i) frivolous
or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may
be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), a complaint
must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Although this standard does not require “detailed
factual allegations," it does require more than
“labels and conclusions" or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action."
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). A plaintiff must allege facts that, if accepted as
true, are sufficient “to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level" and to “state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at
570. See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678-79 (2009). “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." Id. at 678.
alleges that he was terminated from his employment with
Defendant after he was wrongly accused of making a racist
slur. According to the complaint, Defendant “is
targeting employees to terminate who have been working for
the company for years.” ECF No. 1. He styles his suit
as a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1981. Section 1981 provides a cause of action for alleged
discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, or ethnic
characteristics. See St. Francis College v.
Al-Khazraji, 481 U.S. 604, 613 (1987). Section 1981
“prohibits intentional race discrimination in the
making and enforcing of contracts involving both public and
private actors.” Amini v. Oberlin Coll., 440
F.3d 350, 358 (6th Cir. 2006). “In order to establish a
claim for racial discrimination under section 1981, a
plaintiff must plead and prove that (1) he belongs to an
identifiable class of persons who are subject to
discrimination based on their race; (2) the defendant
intended to discriminate against him on the basis of race;
and (3) the defendant's discriminatory conduct abridged a
right enumerated in section 1981(a).” Id.
does not allege that Defendant intentionally discriminated
against him on the basis of race or ethnicity when it
terminated his employment. A liberal reading of his
complaint, consistent with his status as a pro se litigant,
does not reveal a cause of action under § 1981. See
Ridley v. VMT Long Term Care Mgmt., Inc., 68 F.Supp.3d
88, 91 (D.D.C. 2014) (dismissing § 1981 claim because
plaintiff did not allege a “racially discriminatory
purpose” for her termination).
also asserts a violation of his equal protection rights
secured by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. However, such rights are generally only
enforceable against governments, not private parties such as
Defendant. See Revis v. Meldrum, 489 F.3d 273, 289
(6th Cir. 2007) (citing Flagg Bros., Inc. v. Brooks,
436 U.S. 149, 156 (1978)). Plaintiff makes no allegation of
state action here.
the complaints of pro se litigants are held to a more lenient
standard than those drafted by counsel, pro se plaintiffs
must still meet “basic pleading standards” and
the court is not permitted to “conjure allegations on a
litigant's behalf.” Martin v. Overton, 391
F.3d 710, 714 (6th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). Viewing
the allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable
to Plaintiff, he has failed to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's application to
proceed without prepayment of fees ...