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Smith v. Mastercard International

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri

January 10, 2017

CHARMANE SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CATHERINE D. PERRY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the Amended Complaint filed by plaintiff Charmane Smith, proceeding herein in forma pauperis. This action will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).

         Standard of Review

         Plaintiff is not a prisoner, but she has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) provides, with respect to litigants proceeding in forma pauperis, the court “shall dismiss the case at any time” if the court determines that it is frivolous or malicious, 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)(i) - (iii). A claim is frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989). A claim lacks an arguable basis in fact only if the facts alleged are “clearly baseless, ” a category encompassing fanciful, fantastic, and delusional allegations. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992); see also Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 324 (a plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis lacks economic incentive to refrain from filing frivolous, malicious, or repetitive lawsuits).

         To state a claim for relief, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 679. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw upon its judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679.

         Procedural History

         Plaintiff commenced this action in this Court on November 28, 2016, naming MasterCard International as defendant. Following initial review that revealed numerous problems with the original complaint, this Court entered an order on December 15, 2016 allowing Plaintiff an opportunity to submit an amended complaint no later than December 29, 2016. Plaintiff sought and was granted additional time, and then timely filed the instant Amended Complaint on January 3, 2017.

         In its December 15, 2016 order, this Court wrote that Plaintiff has been a very frequent pro se and in forma pauperis litigator in other United States District Courts, and that the District Court for the Western District of Tennessee had noted her history of having filed “numerous, patently meritless actions, ” quoting Smith v. Dell, 2007 WL 3232037 at *1 (W.D. Tenn. October 31, 2007). In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff notes the foregoing and avers that the District Court for the Western District of Tennessee had her “illegally committed to a Federal Prison Psychiatric Facility - as a cover up.” (Docket No. 8 at 2). Plaintiff explains that the “corruption of the legal officials who participated in the criminal proceedings against me caused me to lose faith and trust in the legal system and judiciary - which contributed to the many lawsuit filings in multiple jurisdictions as well as my abrupt haltings of litigation efforts in the past.” (Id.)

         The Amended Complaint

         The Amended Complaint spans ten pages, and contains nothing more than conclusory allegations lacking in factual enhancement. Plaintiff provides general definitions of legal terms and general theories about the activities of “Black Hat Hackers (a.k.a Computer Crackers or Hackers).” (Id. at 3). Plaintiff states that these criminals exploit “security flaws in Mastercard International's Debit/Credit Card(s) Products, Processing, Processors, and Banking Services, ” and she describes the various criminal schemes that are possible. (Id.) Plaintiff states that computer hackers inserted unspecified information into unspecified billing statements to make it appear that she was not making payments, and that this continued until she stopped submitting payments and the accounts were closed. (Docket No. 8 at 6-7). Plaintiff alleges that the hackers intended for the accounts to be closed so they “could hide how they were tampering with the account(s) records from the bank itself).” (Id.)

         Plaintiff writes: “The Defendant is being sued for Tortious Interference with the credit account(s) that was made possible through the Security Weaknesses Exploited and Breaches committed by the Hackers, resulting in specious, falsified, and electronically forged/duplicated billing statements I received.” (Id. at 7) (emphasis in original). Plaintiff states that the injuries began in “December of 2007 to present day.” (Id.) Plaintiff vaguely identifies the affected accounts as follows: “[a]t 6 major banks, a total of 15 Credit/Debit Cards were compromised, each having credit limits of up to $2, 500.00.” (Docket No. 8 at 7).

         Regarding the timeliness of this lawsuit, Plaintiff states:

I was unable to file suit at an earlier time due to Excludable Delay and Excusable Neglect that tolls the statute of limitations. Lack of trust in the court system, tortious interference by Computer Hackers interfered with postal/phone/fax/email communications with the courts and attorneys, lack of information to prove allegations of ...

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