United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
HONORABLE SARA LIOI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se plaintiff Juan Romero Grogan filed this action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Canton Police Officers Billy
Lott and Bryan W. Jeffries. In the complaint, plaintiff
alleges the defendants mistakenly identified him as the man
who fled the scene of a traffic stop and led them on a
high-speed chase. He asserts claims for false arrest, false
imprisonment and malicious prosecution in violation of the
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.
He seeks monetary damages and immediate release from prison.
alleges that, on the evening of December 1, 2015, Defendants
conducted a traffic stop of a 2001 Chevy Tahoe, Ohio
Registration ESE7741 on McKinley Avenue N.W. in Canton, Ohio.
As they approached the vehicle to talk to the driver, the
driver fled from the scene. The officers returned to their
patrol car and began to chase the driver with their lights
flashing and sirens blaring. The fleeing driver did not stop
for any traffic lights or signs. In addition, the roads were
wet and the chase was exceeding 70 mph on surface streets.
The defendants radioed the progress of their pursuit to
dispatch, and one or both of the sergeants on duty instructed
the officers to terminate the pursuit. Although they turned
off the lights and the siren, they continued to travel at a
reduced speed in the direction of the fleeing car. A short
distance away, they discovered the car had crashed into a
fence, and they saw the driver running up hill toward
Interstate 77. The driver had a sizable lead on the officers
and they were unable to catch him or locate him. Instead, the
officers arranged to have the vehicle towed to the impound
lot. They determined the driver to have been the plaintiff
and obtained warrants for his arrest. Plaintiff was arrested
on March 4, 2016. He was convicted by a jury on charges of
fleeing and eluding police.
claims he was the victim of mistaken identity. He denies any
involvement in the incident. He asserts he was denied due
process and equal protection, and was subjected to false
arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution.
Plaintiff was on probation at the time of his arrest. His
conviction caused him to serve additional time as a parole
violator. He asserts violations of his Fourth, Fifth, Sixth,
Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Standard of Review
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag
v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365, 102 S.Ct. 700, 70
L.Ed.2d 551 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972), the
Court is required to dismiss an in forma pauperis
action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if it fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, or if it lacks an
arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989);
Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th Cir. 1990);
Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197
(6th Cir. 1996). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law or
fact when it is premised on an indisputably meritless legal
theory or when the factual contentions are clearly baseless.
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. A cause of action fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it lacks
plausibility in the complaint. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 564, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d
pleading must contain a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). The factual allegations in the
pleading must be sufficient to raise the right to relief
above the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. The plaintiff is not required to include
detailed factual allegations, but must provide more than an
unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A pleading that offers legal
conclusions or a simple recitation of the elements of a cause
of action will not meet this pleading standard. Id.
In reviewing a complaint, the Court must construe the
pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Bibbo v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 151 F.3d 559,
561 (6th Cir. 1998).
prisoner may not raise claims in a civil rights action if a
judgment on the merits of his claims would affect the
validity of his conviction or sentence, unless the conviction
or sentence has been set aside. See Edwards v.
Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646, 117 S.Ct. 1584, 137 L.Ed.2d
906 (1997); Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486, 114
S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383 (1994). A claim for damages
bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that
has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Therefore, when a state prisoner seeks damages
in a § 1983 suit, the Court must consider whether a
judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply
the invalidity of his conviction or sentence. If it would,
the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can
demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been
invalidated. If the Court determines that the plaintiffs
action, even if successful, will not demonstrate the
invalidity of any outstanding criminal judgment against him,
the action should be allowed to proceed, in the absence of
some other bar to the suit.
plaintiffs claims of false arrest, false imprisonment and
malicious prosecution are all founded on his statement that
he is innocent and the victim of mistaken identity. These
claims, if found to have merit, would call his conviction
into question. Consequently, plaintiff cannot pursue these
claims unless his conviction has been reversed or overturned.
He does not indicate this has happened. Therefore, his claims
are not cognizable in a § 1983 action.
the foregoing reasons, this action is dismissed pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3), an appeal from ...