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Enyart v. O'Brien

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

November 13, 2017

RON O'BRIEN, et al., Defendants.

          George C. Smith, Judge



         Plaintiff, a state inmate under the supervision of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and correction, brings this prisoner civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF Nos. 1 & 16.) This matter is before the Court sua sponte for an initial screen of Plaintiff's Complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to identify cognizable claims and to recommend dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint, or any portion of it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Having performed the initial screen, for the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court DISMISS this Plaintiff's claims against Defendants for failure to assert any claim over which this Court has subject matter jurisdiction.


         Congress has authorized the sua sponte dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief maybe granted. 2 8 U.S.C. §§ 1915 (e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1). A complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff must be “liberally construed” and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). By the same token, however, the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (“dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a claim” under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)).

         A federal court has limited subject matter jurisdiction. “The basic statutory grants of federal court subject-matter jurisdiction are contained in 28 U.S.C. § 1331, which provides for ‘[f]ederal-question' jurisdiction, and § 1332, which provides for ‘[d]iversity of citizenship' jurisdiction.” Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 501 (2006). Federal-question jurisdiction is invoked when a plaintiff pleads a claim “arising under” the federal laws, the Constitution, or treaties of the United States. Id. (citation omitted). For a federal court to have diversity jurisdiction pursuant to Section 1332(a), there must be complete diversity, which means that each plaintiff must be a citizen of a different state than each defendant, and the amount in controversy must exceed $75, 000. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996).


         According to the Complaint, Defendants were involved in various capacities with searches of Plaintiff's residence and Plaintiff's subsequent arrest, police interrogation, and prosectution in 2007. (ECF No. 1 at 4-.11) Plaintiff argues that Defendants' actions violated his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. (Id. at 12-21.) Plaintiff seeks various declaratory judgments; nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages against all defendants; and, an award of costs and fees. (Id. at 24.)

         III. A. Statute of Limitations

         Plaintiff purports to bring his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Id. at 2.) The statute of limitations applicable to claims arising in Ohio under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is the two-year statute of limitations found in Ohio Revised Code § 2305.10. Boddie v. Barstow, No. 2:14-CV-0106, 2014 WL 2611321, at *2 (S.D. Ohio May 2, 2014), report and recommendation adopted, No. 2:14-CV-106, 2014 WL 2608123 (S.D. Ohio June 11, 2014) (citing Browning v. Pendleton, 869 F.2d 989 (6th Cir. 1989)).

         “Although the statute of limitations is normally an affirmative defense that must be raised by defendants in an answer, if the limitations bar appears on the face of the complaint, the Court may apply it during the initial screening process.” Boddie, 2014 WL 2611321, at *3 (citing Watson v. Wayne County, 90 F. App'x. 814, at *1 (6th Cir. January 26, 2004)) (“If a statute of limitations defense clearly appears on the face of a pleading, the district court can raise the issue sua sponte”). This Court has applied that rule in cases screened under § 1915A. Id. (citing Smith v. Warren County Sherif's Dept., 2010 WL 761894 (S.D. Ohio March 2, 2010)). Accordingly, the Court must look to the allegations in the Complaint to determine whether the action has been filed within the applicable two-year period.

         Here, it is clear that all of the conduct alleged in the Complaint occurred prior to the applicable two-year period. The alleged actions took place ten years ago, between August and January 2008. (ECF No. 1). The Undersigned, therefore, recommends that the Complaint be dismissed for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.

         B. Habeas Corpus Claims

         Plaintiff purports to bring this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To the extent that Plaintiff seeks an order declaring that his state court conviction was obtained in violation of his rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution, however, Plaintiff must proceed by filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.[1] A civil rights action is not a substitute for habeas corpus. When a prisoner challenges the fact or duration of his confinement, his sole federal remedy is habeas corpus. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 787 (1994); Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 525 (2011) (“Habeas is the exclusive remedy . . . for a prisoner who seeks immediate or speedier release from confinement.”). A convicted criminal defendant cannot bring a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if a judgment on the claim “would necessarily imply the invalidity” of his criminal conviction and that conviction has not been set aside. Heck, 512 U.S. at 487. Here, Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgments that his Fourth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated during evidentiary searches, his arrest, ...

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