United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
M. Rose District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 
THAT: (1) DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS (DOC. 12) BE GRANTED; AND (2) THIS CASE BE TERMINATED
ON THE COURT'S DOCKET
Michael J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge.
pro civil case is before the Court on
Defendant's motion to dismiss. Doc. 17. Pro se
Plaintiff Warren Easterling ("Easterling") filed a
memorandum in opposition. Doc. 13. Defendant's motion is
ripe for decision.
motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
operates to test the sufficiency of the complaint and permits
dismissal for "failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted." To show grounds for relief,
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) requires that the complaint contain a
"short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief." While Fed.R.Civ.P. 8
"does not require 'detailed factual
allegations'... it demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
order "[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Pleadings
offering mere '"labels and conclusions' or
'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do." Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In fact, in deciding a
motion to dismiss, "courts 'are not bound to accept
as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.'" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106
S.Ct. 2932, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986)). Further, "[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level." Id.
exists where "plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Plausibility "is not
akin to a 'probability requirement, ' but it asks for
more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Id. "[W]here the well-pleaded
facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but
has not 'show[n]' - 'that the pleader is entitled
to relief" Id. at 679.
pro se parties must satisfy basic pleading
requirements, Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th
Cir. 1989), their pleadings must be liberally construed and
are "held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d
1081 (2007). Nevertheless, "even a pro se
complaint 'must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Ogle v. Columbia Gas
Transmission, LLC, 513 F.App'x 520, 522 (6th Cir.
2013) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
is a frequent pro se litigator in the Southern
District of Ohio and in Ohio state courts. See, e.g.,
Easterling v. Crawford, No. 3:13-CV-430, 2014 WL 428931,
at *4 (S.D. Ohio Feb. 4, 2014) (noting that
"Easterling's litigation history in this Court is .
. . long and convoluted"); Easterling v.
Crawford, No. 3:13-CV-430, 2014 WL 667638, at *4 (S.D.
Ohio Feb. 20, 2014), (recommending that, because
"Easterling has repeatedly abused the privilege of
proceeding in forma pauperis in this Court, he
should be barred from doing so without the prior written
authorization of the Chief Judge"); Easterling v.
Crawford, No. 3:14-CV-226, 2014 WL 5803029, at *2 (S.D.
Ohio Nov. 7, 2014) (noting in late 2014 that Easterling had
filed "fourteen cases in the last two years[, ]"
many of which he had "attempted in one way or another to
have this Court interfere with, enjoin, or reverse a state
case concerns three particular federal cases Easterling
previously filed in this Court, all of which were dismissed:
(1) Easterling v. Attorney General Mike DeWine, Case
No. 3:16-cv-139 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 13, 2016); (2) Easterling
v. Rice, 3:15-cv-257 (S.D. Ohio July 28, 2015); and (3)
Easterling v. Judge Barbara Gorman, 3:14-cv-314
(Sept. 23, 2014). Easterling never sought a direct appeal
from the dismissal of any of these cases. Id.
Instead, Easterling has now filed this case alleging that the
judges presiding over the aforementioned cases all allegedly
conspired to deprive him of his Constitutional rights and
dismissed his federal civil complaints based upon flawed
legal reasoning. See doc. 1. Easterling purports to
assert his claims under 42 U.S.C. §
Easterling makes conclusory allegations of a judicial
conspiracy against him, he does not name any Judges as a
party to this case. Id. Instead, he brings suit only
against the Attorney General of the United States alleging
liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
See doc. 1 at PagelD 3. Generally, "[u]nder the
doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer is
liable, despite having no fault whatsoever, for the acts of
its employees taken within the scope of their
employment." Hamilton v. Carell, 243 F.3d 992,
1001 (6th Cir. 2001).
theory of liability against the Attorney General is flawed
for a number of reasons - most significantly,
Easterling's erroneous contention that federal judges are
"subordinates" of the Attorney General.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 501, 503; U.S. Const,
art. II and III. The Attorney General of the United States is
the head of the United States Department of Justice, an
agency within the executive branch. See 28 U.S.C.
§§ 501, 503. The judicial branch is a wholly
separate, independent, and co-equal branch of the United
States government. See Const, art. II and III.
Easterling's contention that federal judges are
"subordinates" of the Attorney General - and that
the Attorney General is, therefore, vicariously liable for
the conduct of federal judges - is frivolous. Dismissal of
this case is warranted on this basis alone.
the Court further notes that, insofar as Easterling asserts
official capacity claims against the Attorney General, such
claims are barred by sovereign immunity. Cf ...