Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Uselton v. Ferguson

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

May 28, 2013

BENJAMIN W. USELTON, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES L. FERGUSON, et. al., Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER [Resolving Docs. No. 3, 14.]

JAMES S. GWIN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Benjamin Uselton filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants (1) James L. Ferguson; (2) Franklin County, Ohio; and (3) certain unknown employees of Franklin County.[1] A jury convicted Uselton of two counts of involuntary manslaughter and selling Xanax. Uselton says that Ferguson fabricated his qualifications, testimony, and certain evidence that caused Uselton's conviction. Ferguson and Franklin County move the Court to dismiss Uselton's claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). They say that his complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.[2] For the reasons below, the Court GRANTS Ferguson's and Franklin County's motions to dismiss without prejudice.

I. Background[3]

On April 23 and 24, 2002, then nineteen-year-old Benjamin Uselton sold Xanax pills to his friends, nineteen-year-old Adam Howell and sixteen-year-old Mike Roberts.[4] In the afternoon of April 24, 2002, Howell and Roberts drove to Robert's mother's house.[5] There, they smoked marijuana, ingested cocaine, and purportedly ingested Xanax pills.[6] Early the next morning, Howell and Roberts were found dead along Route 42 in Ashland, Ohio.[7] Howell had apparently driven his vehicle off Route 42 and crashed it into a wall.[8]

The Ashland County Coroner sent Howell's and Robert's bodies to the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office for autopsies and toxicological testing.[9] There, the Cuyahoga County Corner found cocaine and marijuana in Howell and Roberts but did not find detectable levels of Xanax.[10] Uselton says that the Ashland County Prosecutor was dissatisfied with these findings.[11] As a result, Uselton says, the Prosecutor sent a blood sample from Howell to Defendant James Ferguson, the Chief Toxicologist and Director of the Franklin County Coroner's Office.[12]

Uselton says that Ferguson then fabricated test results and a report that showed Xanax in Howell's system.[13] Based on Ferguson's report, the Ashland County Prosecutor charged Uselton with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of selling Xanax.[14] At Uselton's trial, Ferguson testified about his report.[15] Uselton says that Ferguson lied about the report, his testing methodology, and his qualifications.[16] The jury found Uselton guilty.[17] The trial court sentenced Uselton to two consecutive five-year terms for the two counts of involuntary manslaughter and nine months for selling Xanax.[18]

In October 2010, Uselton says that he learned that Ferguson had been convicted of lying under oath.[19] Ferguson pled no contest to those charges, [20] and he was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 150 days suspended.[21] Generally, Uselton says that Ferguson lied about his credentials in other trials, which resulted in the wrongful conviction of other criminal defendants.[22] He says that some of these defendants have been exonerated because of the discovery of Ferguson's false testimony.[23]

In January 2011, the Ohio Governor commuted Uselton's sentence.[24] Uselton then moved for judicial release, [25] and the trial court granted his motion.[26] On July 25, 2011, Uselton was released from prison. He served eight years and two months.[27]

On October 3, 2012, Uselton filed this action under § 1983.[28] He makes claims for: (1) violation of his right to a fair trial and appeal; (2) false imprisonment; (3) malicious prosecution; and (4) conspiracy. He also makes a claim against Franklin County under Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). Ferguson and Franklin County have moved the Court to dismiss Uselton's claims under Rule 12(b)(6).[29]

II. Legal Standard

A court may grant a motion to dismiss only when "it appears beyond doubt" that the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.[30] "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'"[31] Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 provides the general standard of pleading and only requires that a complaint "contain... a short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."[32] In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), "a court should assume the[] veracity" of "well-pleaded factual allegations, " but need not accept a plaintiff's conclusory allegations as true. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-51.

III. Law & Analysis

The Court finds that Uselton has failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted. He has failed to plead sufficient facts in his complaint, that if accepted as true, would show that Heck v. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.