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Fishback v. Kroger

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

July 27, 2017

BRIAN FISHBACK PLAINTIFF
v.
KROGER DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Greg N. Stivers, Judge.

         Plaintiff Brian Fishback filed a pro se, in forma pauperis complaint which is before the Court for initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). For the reasons that follow, the action will be dismissed.

         I.

         Plaintiff brings suit against Kroger pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981. As his statement of the claim, he states, “Kroger's management accused me of a crime, that I did not commit, while Kroger's management had video surveillance cameras to show that I was not guilty of what they accused me of on the day of 2/19/14.” As relief, he states, “By Kroger's management discriminating against me, my name was discredited and my reputation, and also damaged my business credibility, because I work in the sales business.”

         II.

         Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must review the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608-09 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). On review, a district court must dismiss a case at any time if it determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The trial court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327.

         In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, “a complaint must 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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)).

         Although courts are to hold pro se pleadings “to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), this duty to be less stringent “does not require us to conjure up unpled allegations, ” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise would require courts “to explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

         III.

         Section 1981(a) of Title 42 of the United States Code provides:

All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.

         The statute has been construed as a prohibition against certain forms of racial discrimination. Saint Francis Coll. v. Al-Khazraji, 481 U.S. 604, 608-10 (1987). The elements of a claim under § 1981 are: “(1) the plaintiff is a member of a racial minority; (2) an intent to discriminate on the basis of race by the defendant; and (3) the discrimination concerned one or more of the activities enumerated in the statute (i.e. make and enforce contracts, sue and be sued, give evidence, etc.).” Mian v. Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Sec. Corp., 7 F.3d 1085, 1087 (2nd Cir. 1993). The alleged discrimination must have taken place as a result of the plaintiff's race. Id. at 1088.

         Here, the plaintiff does not allege anywhere in his complaint that the alleged constitutional/federal law violations were ...


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