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Emrit v. Gardner

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

November 27, 2018

Ronald Satish Emrit
v.
William M. Gardner, Secretary of State, and New Hampshire Democratic Party

          Ronald Satish Emrit, pro se

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ANDREA K. JOHNSTONE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Ronald Satish Emrit, proceeding in forma pauperis, has filed a second amended complaint, doc. No. 5, that is before this court for preliminary review, pursuant to LR 4.3(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Plaintiff's allegations fail to state a claim for relief. The district judge should therefore dismiss the complaint.[1]

         I. Preliminary Review Standard

         The magistrate judge conducts a preliminary review of pleadings filed in forma pauperis. See LR 4.3(d). The magistrate judge may recommend to the district judge that one or more claims be dismissed if, among other things, the court lacks jurisdiction, a defendant is immune from the relief sought, or the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); LR 4.3(d). In conducting its preliminary review, the court construes pro se complaints liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). The complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief. Hernandez-Cuevas v. Taylor, 723 F.3d 91, 102 (1st Cir. 2013) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted)).

         Although a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), this is “not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim[, ]” Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980). To allege a civil action in federal court, it is not enough for a plaintiff merely to allege that a defendant acted unlawfully; a plaintiff must affirmatively allege facts that identify the manner in which the defendant subjected the plaintiff to a harm for which the law affords a remedy. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff has sued New Hampshire Secretary of State William M. Gardner and the New Hampshire Democratic Party. He asserts that they violated various constitutional and statutory rights by refusing to place him on the 2016 presidential primary and general election ballots. He seeks damages for the alleged 2016 violations and an injunction mandating his placement on the ballot in 2020.

         The operative, second amended complaint, consists of 24 pages and 89 paragraphs of often-scattershot digressions. Much of the complaint has no apparent relationship to the defendants or to the relief plaintiff ultimately seeks, but instead addresses such diverse matters as plaintiff's mental illness, international travel, divorce case in Florida, bankruptcy, law school curriculum, and contacts with FBI and CIA agents about his psychic abilities which, he asserts, he can use to help those agencies. As relevant to his suit, Emrit alleges that he:

• was a Democratic candidate for President in 2016;
• was placed on an official ballot only in Palm Beach County, Florida;
• was told by several secretaries of state that in order to get placed on the ballot in the primary or general election, he would have to get a minimum No. of petitions signed from the constituents of each jurisdiction in which he wanted to run for president in the general election.

         Plaintiff does not allege that he contacted either of the defendants or their representatives. Although plaintiff alleges that he filed as a candidate with the Federal Elections Commission, he does not allege any facts as to other steps he took, if any, to qualify as a candidate for president in New Hampshire during 2016. Construing his complaint liberally, however, the court will proceed, for purposes of this review, as though defendant Gardner was one of the “several secretaries of state” who informed plaintiff of ballot signature requirements.

         III. ...


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