STROMAN EX REL. Z.W. v. SCOTT

No. 3:17-1777-CMC-SVH.

Shaneeka Monet Stroman, on behalf of Z.W., Plaintiff, v. Randy Scott; Richland County School District I; and City of Columbia Police, Defendants.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina.

Editors Note
Applicable Law: 28 U.S.C. § 1332
Cause: 28 U.S.C. § 1332 Diversity - Libel, Assault, Slander
Nature of Suit: 320 Assault Libel & Slander
Source: PACER


Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Shaneeka Monet Stroman, on behalf of Z.W., Plaintiff, Pro Se.


REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

SHIVA V. HODGES, Magistrate Judge.

Shaneeka Monet Stroman, on behalf of her daughter Z.W. ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action against Randy Scott, Richland County School District One, and the City of Columbia Police Department alleging a violation of Z.W.'s constitutional rights. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the district judge dismiss the complaint in this case without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

Plaintiff claims her six-year old daughter was abused on school property by her teacher and the "law official allowed the abuse." [ECF No. 1 at 4]. Plaintiff states Z.W. was

going to a richland 1 school when she was knocked in the head for standing in the wrong block, CPD allowed teacher to get criminal attorney Jack Swerling to dismiss the case.

Id. at 6. Plaintiff alleges Z.W. "loss 2 months out of school" and was psychologically damaged. Id. Plaintiff seeks the "max." Id.

II. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

Plaintiff filed this complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal court without prepaying the administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. To protect against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court to dismiss a case upon a finding that the action fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted or is frivolous or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii). A finding of frivolity can be made where the complaint lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). A claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Allison v. Kyle, 66 F.3d 71, 73 (5th Cir. 1995).

Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). A federal district court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. Merriweather v. Reynolds, 586 F.Supp.2d 548, 554 (D.S.C. 2008). The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990).

B. Analysis

Plaintiff cannot proceed pro se on behalf of Z.W. Plaintiff does not allege she is an attorney who is licensed to practice in South Carolina, and while she has the authority to litigate her own claims pro se, see 28 U.S.C. § 1654, she does not have the authority to litigate on another's behalf. See Myers v. Loudoun Cnty. Pub. Schs., 418 F.3d 395, 401 (4th Cir. 2005) ("[N]on-attorney parents generally may not litigate the claims of their minor children in federal court."); Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975) ("[W]e consider the competence of a layman representing himself to be clearly too limited to allow him to risk the rights of others."). The undersigned recommends Plaintiff's complaint be summarily dismissed.

III. Conclusion and Recommendation

For the foregoing reasons, the undersigned recommends that the court dismiss this case without prejudice and without issuance and service of process. The court denies Plaintiff's request for a hearing. [ECF No. 9].

IT IS SO RECOMMENDED.


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