United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF, 5
Y. Pearson, United States District Judge.
se Plaintiff Michael Miller filed this action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, against
the State of Ohio, Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge
D'Apolito, Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge
Maureen A. Sweeney, Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains,
and Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Gina Zawrotuk.
ECF No. 1. In his Complaint, Plaintiff objects to
the scheduling and decisions made in a state court case in
which he is involved. He seeks monetary relief.
also filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
(ECF No. 2). That Motion is granted. He also filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 5). For the
reasons stated below, that motion is denied and this action
is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
Complaint contains very few facts. He cites to Miller v.
Milich, Appellate Case No. 17 MA 0090 (Ohio Ct. App.)
and states the Court of Appeals refused to grant him money.
ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2. The case to which he
refers is a case in which Plaintiff filed an action against
Judge Robert Milich. The Ohio Seventh District Court of
Appeals dismissed the appeal because Plaintiff was previously
designated as a vexatious litigator under Ohio Revised
Code § 2323.52. Plaintiff alleges he has been
denied his right to appeal a judgment. ECF No. 1 at
PageID #: 2. Plaintiff claims a preliminary conference
was cancelled and that he was denied access to the courts.
Id. He states, without explanation, “Extreme
prejudice prosecutorial misconduct, collusion, retaliation,
intimidation and interfering with civil rights an order that
affects a substantial right in an action that in effect
determines the action that prevents a judgment is
prejudice.” Id. at PageID #: 1. Furthermore,
he states, “Confidentiality, and conflict of interest,
zealous representation, engaging in conduct involving moral
turpitude, fraud, deceit, dishonesty and misrepresentation
and engaging in action that did improperly prejudice the
outcome of my cases.” Id. at PageID #: 2. He
requests an award of $2, 000 for arbitration fees, $500, 000
in damages, and court costs. Id.
Standard of Review
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). An action has no arguable
basis in law when a defendant is immune from suit or when a
plaintiff claims a violation of a legal interest which
clearly does not exist. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. An
action has no arguable factual basis when the allegations are
delusional or rise to the level of the irrational or
“wholly incredible.” Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992); Lawler, 898
F.2d at 1199.
determining whether a plaintiff has stated a claim upon which
relief can be granted, the Court must construe the complaint
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept all
factual allegations as true, and determine whether the
complaint contains “enough fact to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds for relief
“requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Id. Although a complaint need
not contain detailed factual allegations, its “factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the Complaint are true.” Id.
The Court is “not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). The
Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
677-78 (2009), further explains the
“plausibility” requirement, stating that “a
claim has facial plausibility when the Plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the Defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Furthermore,
“the plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a Defendant acted
unlawfully.” Id. This determination is a
“context-specific task that requires the reviewing
Court to draw on its judicial experience and common
initial matter, Plaintiff cites to Title VII, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e, as basis for relief. Title VII
specifically addresses discrimination in employment.
Plaintiff fails to allege anything related to any employment
relationship he may have or had with any of the Defendants.
also contends he is entitled to relief under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. All of the Defendants, however, are immune
from suits for damages under Section 1983.
names the State of Ohio as a Defendant. The Eleventh
Amendment is an absolute bar to the imposition of
liability upon the State of Ohio. Latham v. Office of
Atty. Gen. of State of Ohio, 395 F.3d 261, 270 (6th Cir.
2005); Bouquett v. Clemmer, 626 F.Supp. 46, 48 (S.D.
D'Apolito and Sweeney are entitled to absolute judicial
immunity for claims pertaining to conduct performed while
presiding over a case, provided that the actions they took
were not in complete absence of all subject matter
jurisdiction of the court over which each of them
respectively preside. Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9,
11-12 (1991); Barnes v. Winchell, 105 F.3d 1111,
1116 (6th Cir. 1997). Plaintiff does not allege any facts
pertaining to either judge, but he objects in general to his
inability to receive responses to his motions or to file
documents due to the order declaring him to be a vexatious
litigator. These are actions which pertain, if at all, to
conduct performed by the judges in the course of presiding
over Plaintiff's cases. Plaintiff does not allege facts
suggesting the decisions were outside of the subject matter
jurisdiction of the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Therefore, Judges D'Apolito and Sweeney are entitled to
absolute immunity for these claims.
are entitled to absolute immunity for actions directly
related to initiating a prosecution and presenting the
State's case. Imbler v. Pachtman,424 U.S. 409,
431 (1976); Pusey v. Youngstown,11 F.3d 652, 658
(6th Cir. 1993). They are also immune with respect to
activities undertaken “in connection with [the] duties
in functioning as a prosecutor.” Imbler, 424
U.S. at 431; Higgason v. Stephens,288 F.3d 868, 877
(6th Cir. 2002). This includes conduct in civil proceedings
where a government attorney is operating in an enforcement
role in initiating a judicial proceeding, ” or
undertaking the defense of a civil suit on behalf of the
government. Cooper v. Parrish,203 F.3d 937, 947
(6th Cir. 2000); Al-Bari v. Winn,907 F.2d 150
(Table), 1990 WL 94229, at *1 (6th Cir. July 9, 1990).
Plaintiff does not allege any specific facts pertaining to
Prosecutor Paul Gains or Assistant Prosecutor Gina Zawrotuk.