United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN CHIEF JUDGE
se Plaintiff Anthony Petronzio filed this action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the law firm of Buckingham,
Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC. (“the law firm”),
his adoptive parent Phyllis Faehnrich, Cynthia Smith, and the
State of Ohio. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he was
illegally adopted in 1964. He seeks reversal of the adoption,
and monetary damages in the amount of ten million dollars.
also filed an Application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (ECF No. 2) and a Motion for the Appointment of
Counsel (ECF No. 3). His Application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis (ECF No. 2) is granted. For the reasons set
forth below, his Motion for the Appointment of Counsel (ECF
No. 3) is denied.
alleges he was born in 1964 to a teenaged mother who placed
him up for adoption. He claims, without further explanation,
that Phyllis Faehnrich adopted him and “use[d] false
names in the application.” (ECF No. 1 at 2). He alleges
the law firm committed fraud by filing a lawsuit in
Faehnrich's name, and submitted false documents to the
Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. He alleges Smith
conspired to silence the illegal adoption by making up false
charges and filing a lawsuit in Faehnrich's name without
her knowledge or consent to defraud her of legal papers that
belong to the Plaintiff. He claims the Defendants submitted
false evidence in interrogatories in 2015 and states that
Smith still has his birth certificate and marriage license.
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag
v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam);
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (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 (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 (2007). A 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 (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. Bell
Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555. The Plaintiff is not
required to include detailed factual allegations, but must
provide more than “an unadorned,
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).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and, unlike state
trial courts, they do not have general jurisdiction to review
all questions of law. See Ohio ex rel. Skaggs v.
Brunner, 549 F.3d 468, 474 (6th Cir. 2008). Instead,
they have only the authority to decide cases that the
Constitution and Congress have empowered them to resolve.
Id. Consequently, “[i]t is to be presumed that
a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the
burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party
asserting jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life
Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377(1994) (internal
speaking, the Constitution and Congress have given federal
courts authority to hear a case only when diversity of
citizenship exists between the parties, or when the case
raises a federal question. Caterpillar Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). The first type of
federal jurisdiction, diversity of citizenship, is applicable
to cases of sufficient value between “citizens of
different states.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). To
establish diversity of citizenship, the Plaintiff must
establish that he is a citizen of one state and all of the
Defendants are citizens of other states. The citizenship of a
natural person equates to his domicile. Von Dunser v.
Aronoff, 915 F.2d 1071, 1072 (6th Cir. 1990). The second
type of federal jurisdiction relies on the presence of a
federal question. This type of jurisdiction arises where a
“well-pleaded Complaint establishes either that federal
law creates the cause of action or that the Plaintiff's
right to relief necessarily depends on resolution of a
substantial question of federal law.” Franchise Tax
Bd. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1,
of citizenship does not exist in this case. The Complaint, as
written, suggests that the Plaintiff and Defendants are all
citizens of Ohio.
federal jurisdiction exists in this case, it must be based on
a claimed violation of federal law. Plaintiff contends he is
asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 18 U.S.C.
§ 371 (conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United
States), and 18 U.S.C. § 1519 (destruction, alteration,
or falsification of records in federal investigations and
bankruptcy). Claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 can only be
asserted against state or local government officials.
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981). None of
these Defendants is a government official. The other two
citations are to criminal statutes. They do not create
independent private causes of action. See, e.g., Nicole
Energy Servs., Inc. v. McClatchey, No. 2:08 CV 0463,
2010 WL 55718, at *6 (S.D. Ohio Jan.4, 2010) (holding that 18
U.S.C. § 1001 bars a private right of action); Drake
v. Miller, No. 3:08 CV 552, 2009 WL 1534673, at *2 (W.D.
Ky. May 29, 2009) (“28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, ...