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Gerald v. Akron Bar Association

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

June 14, 2018

JEREMY X. GERALD, Plaintiff,
v.
AKRON BAR ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Introduction

         Pro se Plaintiff Jeremy X. Gerald, a convicted and sentenced state prisoner, has filed a Four-Count Civil Rights Complaint in this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging constitutional rights violations against the Akron Bar Association, the Summit County Prosecutor's Office, Summit County Court of Common Pleas Clerk Sandra Kurt and the Summit County Jail. (Doc. No. 1.) He alleges the conduct he complains of “resulted in [his] incarceration, ” and he seeks $ 4 million in damages. (Id. at 13.)

         In Counts One and Two, he alleges the Akron Bar Association, through “various lawyers who practice criminal law defense in a private capacity” and who have been appointed or retained to represent criminal defendants in Summit County, and the Summit County Prosecutor's Office, through the “various attorneys who work for the office” are “conspiring” to “undermine, sabotage or otherwise leave defenseless the rights of all who are charged with criminal offenses in Summit County” and have “traded cases in an effort to gain leverage to negotiate plea agreements.” (Id. at 12.)

         In Count Three, he alleges that the Summit County Court of Common Please Clerk Sandra Kurt is liable for “tampering with evidence” and refusing to ensure that her office properly handles document filings and court notifications. (Id. at 13.)

         In Count Four, he alleges that the Summit County Jail has “conspired” with the Prosecutor's Office to hold “those charged with offenses” in the County “for exorbitant bond amounts which are not proportional to any flight risk.” (Id. at 14.)

         The Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. No. 2), which has been granted by separate order. He has also filed a Motion to Certify a Class. (Doc. No. 3.)

         Standard of Review

         Although filings by pro se litigants are liberally construed, Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011), federal district courts are required, under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B) to screen all in forma pauperis actions brought in Federal Court, and to dismiss before service any such action that the Court determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief from defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B); Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). In order to state a claim on which relief may be granted, a complaint must set forth sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state claim to relief that is plausible on its face. See Hill, 630 F.3d at 471 (holding that the dismissal standard articulated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)).

         Discussion

         The Court finds the Plaintiff's Complaint fails to allege any plausible claim under § 1983 and must be dismissed pursuant to §1915(e)(2)(B).

In Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the Supreme Court held that in order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under § 1983. Thus, when a state prisoner seeks damages in a § 1983 suit, the district court must consider whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence; if it would, the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been invalidated.

Id. at 486-87.

         A favorable judgment on the Plaintiff's constitutional claims in this case, whatever they are against each Defendant, would necessarily impugn the validity of his outstanding criminal conviction for which he is presently incarcerated. The Plaintiff himself expressly states that the Defendants' alleged conduct “resulted in [his] incarceration.” Accordingly, in order for the Plaintiff to pursue a damages action under § 1983 based on the conduct he alleges and which resulted in his conviction, the Plaintiff must demonstrate that his conviction has been called into question or rendered invalid in one of the ways articulated in Heck. Nothing in the Plaintiff's Complaint suggests that his conviction has been so invalidated. Accordingly, the Plaintiff's constitutional claims in this case are all barred by Heck and must be dismissed ...


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