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Wright v. Jackson Rental Properties Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

January 4, 2018

JEFFREY LAUREN WRIGHT PLAINTIFF
v.
JACKSON RENTAL PROPERTIES, INC., et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER ADOPTING IN PART REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DEBRA M. BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Jane M. Virden recommending that this case be dismissed. Doc. # 6.

         I Background

         Wright, invoking federal question jurisdiction, filed his pro se complaint on March 15, 2017.[1] Doc. #1. Wright alleges in his complaint that the defendants-Jackson Rental Properties, Inc., the Department of Community Development, Danita Staples, and Willie Jackson-posted false signs about his apartment's fitness for occupancy and improperly ordered him to move out of his apartment. Id. at 4-5. Wright further alleges that the City of Cleveland “participated” in the defendants' wrongful actions. Id. at 7. As the jurisdictional basis for his claim, Wright indicates that his suit raises a federal question, asserting that his civil rights were violated. Id. at 3. On the same day he filed his complaint, Wright filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP Motion”). Doc. #2.

         On March 16, 2017, Judge Virden ordered Wright to show cause within fourteen days why she “should not recommend that the IFP Motion be denied and the case be dismissed with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6).” Doc. #4 at 1. In the show cause order, Judge Virden stated that “[Wright] does not allege that he is being forced to move out due to his race, religion, or otherwise.” Id. Judge Virden further described the bases for federal jurisdiction and cautioned Wright that if he failed to “identify a violated law of the United States or deprivation of a Constitutional right and some facts to support that claim or identify facts on which the court can [find] diversity jurisdiction to hear this matter, ” his case would be dismissed. Doc. #4 at 2-4. Wright acknowledged receipt of the show cause order but never responded. Doc. #5.

         On April 3, 2017, Judge Virden issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that Wright's IFP Motion be denied and his claim be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) for lack of jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. Doc. #6 at 4. The Report and Recommendation cautioned

that any … objections [to the Report and Recommendation] are required to be in writing and must be filed within fourteen (14) days of this date. Failure to timely file written objections to the proposed findings, conclusions and recommendations contained in this report will bar an aggrieved party, except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on appeal unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal conclusions accepted by the district court.

Id. at 4. A copy of the Report and Recommendation was mailed to Wright the day it was issued but was returned as undeliverable eight days later.[2]

         II Standard of Review

         Where objections to a report and recommendation have been filed, a court must conduct a “de novo review of those portions of the … report and recommendation to which the [parties] specifically raised objections. With respect to those portions of the report and recommendation to which no objections were raised, the Court need only satisfy itself that there is no plain error on the face of the record.” Gauthier v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., 644 F.Supp.2d 824, 828 (E.D. Tex. 2009) (citing Douglass v. United Servs. Auto. Ass'n, 79 F.3d 1415, 1428-29 (5th Cir. 1996), superseded on other grounds by statute, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)) (internal citations omitted).

         Where, as here, it is not known whether a litigant actually received a report and recommendation, out of an abundance of caution, a court may review the entire report and recommendation de novo. Draper v. Ott, No. A-14-CA-945, 2015 WL 11430821, at * 1-2 (W.D. Tex. May 7, 2015). Accordingly, the Court will review de novo the Report and Recommendation.

         III

         Analysis

         Because Wright seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, his claims must be analyzed against the backdrop of 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Under § 1915, a court “shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that … the action … (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks ...


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