United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Elizabeth Preston Deavers Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER
A. SARGUS, JR. CHIEFTJNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Muskingum County Child Support Enforcement Agency and Athens
County Child Support Enforcement Agency
("Defendants") move this Court to dismiss the
amended complaint (ECF No. 39). Pursuant to this Court's
Order (ECF No. 41), Plaintiff was permitted until January 24,
2018, to file a Motion for Leave to file out of time a
response to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 39). Plaintiff was ordered to demonstrate
good cause for his untimeliness, or risk dismissal of his
case. Plaintiff has failed to respond to the Court's
November 16, 2017, Plaintiff, a resident of Franklin County,
filed an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 32), alleging various
claims against Muskingum County Child Support Enforcement
Agency and Athens County Child Support Enforcement Agency
which appear to arise from the garnishment of his wages for
the payment of his child support obligations. Plaintiffs
various claims include allegations of violations of his right
to privacy, fraud, separation of powers, and denial of equal
protection, all arising from his issue with these agencies
concerning enforcement of his child support obligations. The
proposed federal claims are made using conclusory assertions,
are sometimes incoherent, have little to no factual support
and also ultimately stem from this domestic issue. (Am.
Compl., ECF No. 36.) Defendants move to dismiss the Amended
Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).
Standard of Review
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) challenge, a complaint "must
allege facts that, if accepted as true, are sufficient
'to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level' and 'state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face/" Hensley Mfg. v. ProPride,
Inc., 579 F.3d 603, 609 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombfy, 550 U.S. 544, 555,
570, (2007)). A claim is plausible where the factual content
"allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009)). In making this determination, a court must
"construe the complaint in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff, accept its allegations as true, and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff."
Brickerstaff v. Lucarelli, 830 F.3d 388, 396 (6th
Cir. 2016) (quoting Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487
F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007)). A court need not accept as
true any conclusory legal allegations that lack specific
facts necessary to establish a claim. Id.
additional note applicable to this case, a pro se
litigant's pleadings are to be construed liberally and
have been held to less stringent standards that formal
pleadings drafted by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972).
Even so, pro se plaintiffs must still comply with
the procedural rules that govern civil cases. McNeil v.
United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113, 113 S.Ct. 1980, 124
L.Ed.2d 21 (1993); see also Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d
591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989) ("Neither [the Supreme Court in
Haines v. Kerner] nor other courts, however, have
been willing to abrogate basic pleading essentials in pro se
assert that "Plaintiff has asserted state law claims
over which this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
Additionally, the pro se amended complaint also
fails to state any plausible factual allegation that would
allow this Court to draw the inference that the Defendants
are liable for any misconduct/' (Mot. Dismiss,
ECF No. 39, at p. 4.) As an initial matter, the Court is
persuaded by Defendants' assertion that Plaintiff has
failed to assert his claims against the proper parties.
Defendants assert that under Ohio law, Defendants are not
political subdivisions capable of being sued or providing the
remedies that the Plaintiff is seeking. (Mot.
Dismiss, ECF No. 39, at p. 5.) Specifically, Ohio courts
hold that child support enforcement agencies are not separate
political subdivisions under Ohio Rev. Code §
2744.01(F). Field v. Summit Cty. Child Support
Enforcement Agency, 2016-Ohio-7026, 72 N.E.3d 165,
¶ 9 (Ohio Ct. App. 2016). Rather, they are arms of the
county in which they sit. In Field, the Court held
that the Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency is a
"part of Summit County, " and "only the county
can be sued * * *." Id. (quoting Smith v.
McCarty, 1993 Ohio App. LEXIS 55, 1993 WL 6280, *3 (Ohio
Ct. App. 1993)).
in general, Ohio juvenile courts retain jurisdiction over
matters involving child custody and support. Burress v.
Hamilton Cty. Office of Child Support & Enforcement,
No. 1:14-cv-391, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76089 (S.D. Ohio June
4, 2014); see also Strohm v. State, No. 2:04-cv-910,
2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44660 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 19, 2005).
"More than a century ago, the United States Supreme
Court proclaimed that '[t]he whole subject of the
domestic relations of husband and wife, parent and child,
belongs to the laws of the states and not to the laws of the
United States."' Burress at *7-8 (citing
In re Burrus, 136 U.S. 586, (1890)). Thus, under
In re Burrus, federal courts lack jurisdiction in
domestic relations cases in which a complaint contains only
conclusory assertions that a plaintiff is entitled to relief
because of the state's constitutional violations, where
those assertions are "a mere pretense and the suit is
actually concerned with domestic relations issues."
Danforth v. Celebrezze, 76 Fed.App'x 615, 616
(6th Cir. 2002). Plaintiffs amended complaint, construed in
the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, alleges claims
stemming from his domestic relations issues, and fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Defendants' motion is well taken, and their Motion to
Dismiss the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 39) is
foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint (ECF
No. 39). This action is DISMISSED in its