United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
EMMANUEL E. ELDER, Plaintiff,
ARIANA ZUK, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se Plaintiff Emmanuel E. Elder filed this action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Lakewood Police Officer Ariana
Zuk, Lakewood Police Detective Robert Fuerst, Lakewood
Municipal Court Judge Patrick Carroll, Lakewood Prosecutor
Pamela L. Roessner and Lakewood Assistant Prosecutor Andrew
N. Fleck. In the Complaint, Plaintiff asserts he was arrested
and prosecuted without probable cause. He seeks monetary
was involved with two criminal prosecutions in July and
August 2017. The first of these prosecutions stemmed from an
incident in which a cellular telephone was stolen from a CVS
pharmacy. He alleges Fuerst called him on July 22, 2017 to
question him about the theft.
police searched his house . He indicates he spoke to Fuerst
again on August 2, 2017 and learned a warrant had been issued
for his arrest.
to his arrest on those charges, Plaintiff was involved in an
altercation with Sean Derenzo. Plaintiff claims Derenzo tried
to rob him on August 21, 2017. Derenzo made the same claims
about Plaintiff. Derenzo called Lakewood police and requested
assistance. Officers arrived and chased Plaintiff with their
weapons drawn. Plaintiff contends they captured him by
tackling him to the ground. He claims Zuk was “the most
aggressive and violent” of the officers. (ECF No. 1 at
was arraigned on the theft charges pertaining to the cellular
telephone on August 22, 2017 in the Lakewood Municipal Court.
He refused to enter a plea or cooperate with appointed
counsel. The Court entered a plea on his behalf. Plaintiff
challenges the validity of the proceedings, claiming the
warrant filed by Fuerst did not comply with Ohio Criminal
Rule 4(a)(1), and Carroll would not allow him to represent
himself. He asserts these actions violated his Fourth, Fifth,
Sixth, Eighth, Eleventh and Fourteenth Amendment rights. That
case is still pending.
also was indicted in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas on August 29, 2017 on two Counts of Robbery and one
Count of Obstructing Official Business in connection with the
incident involving Derenzo. Because Plaintiff is not awaiting
trial on felony charges, he was moved from the Lakewood Jail
to the Cuyahoga County Jail. That case is also pending.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Court is expressly authorized to dismiss any civil action
filed by a prisoner seeking relief from a governmental
entity, as soon as possible after docketing, if the court
concludes that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or if the Plaintiff seeks
monetary relief from a Defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915A; Siller v. Dean, No.
99-5323, 2000 WL 145167, at *2 (6th Cir. Feb. 1, 2000);
see Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-37 (1974)
(citing numerous Supreme Court cases for the proposition that
attenuated or unsubstantial claims divest the district court
of jurisdiction); In re Bendectin Litig., 857 F.2d
290, 300 (6th Cir. 1988) (recognizing that federal question
jurisdiction is divested by unsubstantial claims).
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, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” 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).
initial matter, three of the five Defendants are immune from
damages in this civil rights action. Judges are absolutely
immune from civil suits for money damages when the claims
against them are based on actions they took while presiding
over a case. Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 9 (1991);
Barnes v. Winchell, 105 F.3d 1111, 1115 (6th Cir.
1997). They are given this broad protection to ensure that
the independent and impartial exercise of their judgment in a
case is not impaired by the exposure to damages by
dissatisfied litigants. Barnes, 105 F.3d at 1115.
For this reason, absolute immunity is overcome only when the
Defendant was not acting as a judge; or when the Judge's
conduct was taken in complete absence of all subject matter
jurisdiction of the court over which he or she presides.
Mireles, 502 U.S. at ...