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Love v. Royal Fleet Auxiliary

United States District Court, D. Maine

December 23, 2019



          John H. Rich III United States Magistrate Judge.

         The plaintiff in this action, Christopher Love, has filed a complaint against the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (“RFA”). See Testimonial of the Sponsored Reservist Legislation martyr (“2019 Complaint”) (ECF No. 1) at [1]. I conclude that Mr. Love may proceed in forma pauperis but recommend that the court dismiss this action with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) as barred by the principles of res judicata.

         I. Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis

         In forma pauperis status is available under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Mr. Love has not filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis; however, he is appearing pro se, and the docket does not indicate that he has paid the requisite filing fee. In 2010, Magistrate Judge Kravchuk granted a motion by Mr. Love to proceed in forma pauperis in a substantively identical lawsuit. See Decision Granting Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and Recommending Dismissal of Complaint (“2010 Recommended Decision”) (ECF No. 4), Love v. Royal Fleet Auxiliary (“Love I”), No. 2:10-cv-00091-DBH (D. Me. Mar. 5, 2010) (rec. dec., aff'd Mar. 18, 2010), at 1. My review of the 2019 Complaint indicates that Mr. Love's circumstances do not appear to have improved. See generally 2019 Complaint. Therefore, I conclude that Mr. Love may proceed in forma pauperis.

         II. Section 1915(e)(2)(B) Review

         A. Applicable Legal Standard

         The federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is designed to ensure meaningful access to the federal courts for those persons unable to pay the costs of bringing an action. When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis, however, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines[, ]” inter alia, that the action is “frivolous or malicious” or “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         “Dismissals [under § 1915] are often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of answering such complaints.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989); see also Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court S.D. Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 307-08 (1989) (“Section 1915(d), for example, authorizes courts to dismiss a ‘frivolous or malicious' action, but there is little doubt they would have power to do so even in the absence of this statutory provision.”).[1]

         B. Factual Background

         On September 30, 2019, Mr. Love filed a series of documents that the Clerk's Office docketed as a complaint with attachments. See 2019 Complaint & Attachments thereto. The documents focus largely on Mr. Love's many grievances with the RFA and its treatment of seafarers, in particular, Sponsored Reservists. See id.

         This is not Mr. Love's first time filing a lawsuit in this court. On March 4, 2010, he filed a one-page complaint against the RFA, the Ministry of Defence, and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain alleging violations of his rights under international seafarer's law and the Geneva Convention. Complaint (“2010 Complaint”) (ECF No. 1), Love I. On March 5, 2010, Magistrate Judge Kravchuk recommended the dismissal of the 2010 Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). See 2010 Recommended Decision at 1-2. Mr. Love then filed a document titled “Testimonial of the Sponsored Reservist Legislation martyr” that he labeled a “Pleading/Response to Judge Kravchuk's Order” (and the Clerk's Office docketed as an “Objection to Report and Recommended Decision”). Objection to Report and Recommended Decision (“2010 Objection”) (ECF No. 7), Love I.

         Over Mr. Love's objection, Judge Hornby adopted Magistrate Judge Kravchuk's recommended decision on March 18, 2010, see Order Adopting Report and Recommended Decision (“2010 Order”) (ECF No. 8), Love I, and the court entered judgment in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff, see ECF No. 9, Love I. On April 21, 2010, Mr. Love appealed that judgment to the First Circuit, see ECF No. 10, Love I, which entered a judgment on May 24, 2010, dismissing the appeal as untimely, see Judgment (“First Circuit Judgment”), Love I, No. 10-1511 (1st Cir. May 24, 2010).

         The first eight pages and most of the ninth page of the 2019 Complaint, including its “Addendum: The Law of Unexpected/Unintended Consequences” and “SR Martyr Dream Sheet, ” are identical to the 2010 Objection. Compare 2019 Complaint at [1]-[9] with 2010 Objection. The remaining 28-plus pages appear to be a diary of Mr. Love's thoughts, experiences, and legal theories from April 9, 2010, through March 16, 2012. See 2019 Complaint at [9]-[37]. While the Clerk's Office docketed the diary as a portion of the complaint, it is best characterized as an attachment to the eight-plus page document that precedes it. Mr. Love also appends to his complaint a handwritten document requesting “a full jury, ” “a military commission[, ]” and “interim funding to take this to the Supreme Court, so [he] can file a class action lawsuit.” Cover Letter/Picture (“Cover Letter”) (ECF No. 1-4), attached to 2019 Complaint, at [1].

         C. ...

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