United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHRISTOPHER L. RAY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a prisoner at Gregg County Jail in Longview, Texas, has
submitted a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Complaint alleging
“deception and fraud” perpetrated by Georgia
residents, somehow involving a “theft of patent
service” and $700. See doc. 1 at 4. The Court
granted plaintiff's request to pursue his case in
forma pauperis (IFP), doc. 13, and he returned the
necessary forms. Docs. 15 & 16. The Court now screens the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires
the immediate dismissal of any pro se complaint that
fails to state at least one actionable claim.
discloses one other lawsuit in his form Complaint, doc. 1 at
2 (citing Sampson v. Davidson Inventor Service, et
al., No. CV619-089 (E.D. Tex. Mar. 14, 2019), which was
transferred to the Western District of Pennsylvania). Since
he signature-filed this action, that transferred case and
another have been dismissed on frivolity grounds. In
Sampson v. Reed, No. CV619-017, doc. 17 (E.D. Tex.
Apr. 19, 2019), Sampson's claims were dismissed with
prejudice as “frivolous” and “lack[ing] any
basis in law and fact pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b)(1), ” because they were
Heck-barred. And in Sampson v. FNU Davidson,
No. CV219-430, doc. 17 (W.D. Pa. May 1, 2019), Sampson's
nearly identical “patent search” complaint for
$700 was also dismissed without prejudice as frivolous, with
leave to amend granted.
he declined to name any of his other federal cases,
which have been repeatedly dismissed without prejudice for
failure to comply with a court order. See Sampson v.
Reed, No. CV615-451 (E.D. Tex. May 3, 2017) (dismissed
for failure to keep the court apprised of his address);
Sampson v. Cerliano, No. CV613-250 (E.D. Tex. Apr.
30, 2013) (same); Sampson v. Texas, No. CV617-409
(E.D. Tex. Sept. 27, 2017) (same). Sampson's under-oath
(doc. 1 at 5) misrepresentation of his prior cases therefore
provides an independent basis for dismissing his Complaint.
Whether or not Sampson's failure to fully disclose his
prior filings affects the disposition of this case, it is a
continuation of his abuse of the federal courts'
processes - misleading filings are no less wasteful of the
Court's resources than frivolous filings.
Sampson's claims are outstandingly frivolous. He seeks
the return of a $700 fee for a patent search defendants
apparently ran on his behalf and the theft of his
“intellectual property” - the “world's
first truly wireless self-contained, 100% self charging
cellphones” (see doc. 8-1 at 1; doc. 14).
Sampson does not refer to any correspondence, receipts,
emails, or other evidence of a written contract to
demonstrate the existence of payment, much less an agreement.
Of course, no patent registration information is provided.
And Sampson alleges nothing indicating how defendants have
stolen or infringed upon his intellectual property, aside
from his sere accusation that they have so done. The closest
he comes is writing “criminal theft” and
“theft by fraud” - which refers to duping him out
of his $700 - and “intellectual property theft.”
See doc. 1 at 3-4. The invocation of flashy
terminology without more, of course, does not create a
cognizable federal cause of action. Sampson has also provided
a sketched diagram of a “35 day elgin wind up wall
clock” which requires a winding key that bears no
relevance to plaintiff's patentable “self charging
cellphones, ” aside perhaps from his written commentary
that it is based on “planetary drive / torque
system” and, like a “marine battery, ” will
“trickle-charge” a cellphone. Doc. 14. Put
differently, the pleading is fanciful nonsense and does not
appear to raise a cognizable federal claim.
Court, of course, has an independent duty to consider its own
subject-matter jurisdiction, whether or not the issue is
raised by the parties, and must dismiss an action over which
it lacks jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3); see
generally Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511
U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (federal courts have no power to
consider claims over which they lack subject-matter
jurisdiction); Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch.
Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986) (same). Subject matter
jurisdiction to hear a plaintiff's claim must either
“arise under” federal law or be established by
diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332.
The burden is on the federal plaintiff to allege facts
establishing that jurisdiction exists to hear his claims.
Sampson's frivolous patent search claim does not even
approach a claim “arising under” federal law. Nor
does he invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1332, which provides that federal district
courts maintain original jurisdiction over all civil actions
where the matter in controversy exceeds $75, 000 and
is between “citizens of a State and citizens or
subjects of a foreign state.” While he and defendants
reside in different states, nothing in Sampson's
Complaint (for an alleged $700 patent search) supports the
imposition of further damages that could reach the
jurisdictional threshold of $75, 000. See Sampson v. FNU
Davidson, W.D. Pa. No. CV219-430, doc. 17. The Court,
therefore, should DISMISS plaintiff's
Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as well.
seeks the appointment of counsel to help him litigate his
case, explaining that he is indigent and incarcerated. Docs.
6 & 12. In this civil case, however, plaintiff has no
constitutional right to the appointment of counsel.
Wright v. Langford, 562 Fed.Appx. 769, 777 (11th
Cir. 2014) (citing Bass v. Perrin, 170 F.3d 1312,
1320 (11th Cir. 1999)). “Although a court may, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), appoint counsel for an
indigent plaintiff, it has broad discretion in making this
decision, and should appoint counsel only in exceptional
circumstances.” Wright, 562 Fed.Appx. at 777
(citing Bass, 170 F.3d at 1320). Appointment of
counsel in a civil case is a “privilege that is
justified only by exceptional circumstances, such as where
the facts and legal issues are so novel or complex as to
require the assistance of a trained practitioner.”
Fowler v. Jones, 899 F.2d 1088, 1096 (11th Cir.
1990) (citing Poole v. Lambert, 819 F.2d 1025, 1028
(11th Cir. 1987), and Wahl v. McIver, 773 F.2d 1169,
1174 (11th Cir. 1985)).
Eleventh Circuit has explained that “the key” to
assessing whether counsel should be appointed “is
whether the pro se litigant needs help in presenting the
essential merits of his or her position to the court. Where
the facts and issues are simple, he or she usually will not
need such help.” McDaniels v. Lee, 405
Fed.Appx. 456, 457 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Kilgo v.
Ricks, 983 F.2d 189, 193 (11th Cir. 1993)). A review of
the record and pleadings in this case reveals no such
“exceptional circumstances” warranting the
appointment of counsel.
plaintiff is incarcerated, this Court has repeatedly found
that “prisoners do not receive special consideration
notwithstanding the challenges of litigating a case while
incarcerated.” See, e.g., Hampton v.
Peeples, 2015 WL 4112435 at *2 (S.D. Ga. July 7, 2015).
“Indeed, the Eleventh Circuit has consistently upheld
district courts' decisions to refuse appointment of
counsel in 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions similar to this case
for want of exceptional circumstances.” Id.
(citing Smith v. Warden, Hardee Corr. Inst., 597
Fed.Appx. 1027, 1030 (11th Cir. 2015); Wright, 562 Fed.Appx.
at 777; Faulkner v. Monroe Cty. Sheriff's
Dep't, 523 Fed.Appx. 696, 702 (11th Cir. 2013);
McDaniels, 405 Fed.Appx. at 457; Sims v.
Nguyen, 403 Fed.Appx. 410, 414 (11th Cir. 2010);
Fowler, 899 F.2d at 1091, 1096; Wahl, 773
F.2d at 1174). This case is not so complex, legally or
factually, as to prevent plaintiff from presenting “the
essential merits of his position” to the Court. His
requests for appointment of counsel (docs. 6 & 12) are
plaintiff's Complaint should be
DISMISSED for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, as frivolous, and independently, as a sanction
for his misrepresentation. His motions to compel (docs. 8 &
11) are DENIED as moot and his motions to
appoint counsel (docs. 6 & 12) too are
DENIED. This R&R is submitted to the
district judge assigned to this action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B) and this Court's Local Rule 72.3.
Within 14 days of service, any party may file written
objections to this R&R with the Court and serve a copy on
all parties. The document should be captioned
“Objections to Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendations.” Any request for additional time to
file objections should be filed with the Clerk for
consideration by the assigned district judge.
the objections period has ended, the Clerk shall submit this
R&R together with any objections to the assigned district
judge. The district judge will review the magistrate
judge's findings and recommendations pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The parties are advised that
failure to timely file objections will result in the waiver
of rights on appeal. 11th Cir. R. 3-1; see Symonett v.
V.A. Leasing Corp., 648 Fed.Appx. 787, 790 (11th Cir.
2016); Mitchell v. U.S., 612 Fed.Appx. 542, 545
(11th Cir. 2015).
REPORTED AND RECOMMENDED.