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Beverly v. Beverly

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

August 22, 2017

WILLIAM C. BEVERLY, III, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEDRIA BEVERLY, et al., DEFENDANTS.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HONORABLE SARA LIOI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The above-captioned case was filed on December 13, 2016 by pro se plaintiff, William C. Beverly, III (“plaintiff”) against several defendants, including his former spouse (Dedria Beverly) and her former attorney (Ellen S. Mandell), plaintiff's own former attorneys (A. Clifford Thornton, Jr. and Mary E. Papcke) and three judicial officers (Judge Ann Celebreeze; Magistrate Cathleen J. Chaney; Judge Rosemary Grdina (Gold) [“the judicial officer defendants”]) - all associated, directly or indirectly, with plaintiff's divorce proceedings in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division. (Dedria Beverly v. William C. Beverly, Case No. DR 16-360594.)

         Defendants Ellen S. Mandell and Dedria Beverly filed their respective answers, raising affirmative defenses and requesting dismissal of the complaint. (Doc. Nos. 4 and 17.) The remaining defendants filed motions to dismiss. (Doc. No 16 [Mary E. Papcke]; Doc. No. 18 [the judicial officer defendants]; Doc. No. 19 [A. Clifford Thornton, Jr.].) Plaintiff filed briefs in opposition to each motion to dismiss. (Doc. Nos. 23, 24 and 22, respectively.) Defendant Papcke and defendant Thornton filed replies. (Doc. Nos. 25 and 26, respectively.)[1]

         Plaintiff's complaint, which does not comply with the pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, [2] is practically incomprehensible. But what can be gleaned from a close reading is that plaintiff is attempting to challenge the outcome of his divorce proceedings, and the orders issued therein, although generally framing the actions of the various defendants in constitutional terms - sprinkling into the complaint constitutional phrases such as “due process” and “equal protection” - or with reference to federal statutes, in an attempt to create federal question jurisdiction. The gravamen of each of his eight counts can be summarized by the following excerpts from the complaint:

Count 1 (42 U.S.C. §1983) - “Acting under the color of law, Defendants conspired to deny Petitioner rights[, ] privileges, and immunities secured by the United States Constitution and Federal Law.” (Compl. p. 6.) “Defendants conspired for the purpose of impeding and hindering the due course of justice, with the intent to deny Petitioner [sic] equal protection of laws.” (p. 6, citation omitted.)
Count 2 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985(2), (3)) - “Defendants have constantly obstructed justice according to law.” (p. 6.) “Misleading the Petitioner [sic] into a void judgment for a fraudulent divorce.” (p. 6.) “Two or more persons did conspire to go in disguise to hold a fraudulent divorce depriving, [sic] then Defendant of equal protection of the law.” (p. 6.)
Count 3 (42 U.S.C. § 1983) - “[N]ot having sufficient evidence to proceed with a garnishment and divorce.” (p. 8.)
Count 4 (Malicious Abuse of Process) - “Defendants knew that they did void the proper procedures for divorce.” (p. 9.)
Count 5 (18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242 Conspiracy) - “All defendants acted in concert to deny Petitioner [sic] his rights and ignored clearly established laws.”
Count 6 (Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress) - “To garnish wages of Petitioner [sic] was and is unlawful according to the fraudulent procedure.” (p. 10.)
Count 7 (Mail Fraud) - “Defendants all intentionally sent correspondence via U.S. Mail to Petitioner [sic], when they fraudulently sent mail pertaining to a null and void divorce.” (p. 11.)
Count 8 (Fraud) - “Upon an astute observation of the procedure to be married there was fraud in the factum. . . . Petitioner [sic] was not aware of being induced into signing a fraudulently [sic] contract for a marriage license. . . . Providing evidence the divorce is fraudulent conversion of the marriage. . . .” (pp. 11-12.)

         (Doc. No. 1.) Count 8 appears to also challenge not only the divorce, but also the original marriage.

         Federal courts have no jurisdiction to resolve or overturn domestic-relations matters. Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 703, 112 S.Ct. 2206, 119 L.Ed.2d 468 (1992); Firestone v. Cleveland Trust Co., 654 F.2d 1212, 1215 (6th Cir. 1981) (“Even when brought under the guise of a federal question action, a suit whose substance is ...


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