United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
THEORDORE K. DAVIS, JR., Plaintiff,
BARBARA SCHNEIDER CARTER, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
STEPHANIE K. BOWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
31, 2019, Plaintiff Theodore K. Davis, Jr. filed a motion
seeking leave to file a complaint in this Court in forma
pauperis, or without payment of fees. (Doc. 1). Attached
to Plaintiff's motion/application is a copy of the
proposed complaint. (Doc. 1-1). The sole Defendant is
identified as Barbra Schneider-Carter. The undersigned takes
judicial notice of the fact that the Defendant is an Ohio
state court judge in the Domestic Relations Division of the
Butler County Court.
General Screening Authority
separate Order issued this date, Plaintiff has been granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915. Therefore, the complaint is now before
the Court for a sua sponte review to determine
whether the complaint, or any portion of it, should be
dismissed because it 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.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
has authorized federal courts to dismiss an in forma
pauperis complaint if satisfied that the action is
frivolous or malicious. Denton v. Hernandez, 504
U.S. 25, 31 (1992); see also 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i). A complaint may be dismissed as frivolous
when the plaintiff cannot make any claim with a rational or
arguable basis in fact or law. Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 328-29 (1989); see also Lawler v.
Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1198 (6th Cir. 1990). An action
has no arguable legal basis when the defendant is immune from
suit or when 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, 504 U.S. at 32; Lawler, 898 F.2d at
1199. The Court need not accept as true factual allegations
that are “fantastic or delusional" in reviewing a
complaint for frivolousness. Hill v. Lappin, 630
F.3d 468, 471 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Neitzke, 490
U.S. at 328).
has also authorized the sua sponte dismissal of
complaints which fail to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2)(B)(ii).
Although a plaintiff's pro se complaint must be
“liberally construed” and “held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
” the complaint must “give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007) (per curiam) (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976), and Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal
citation and quotation omitted)). 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 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570);
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 §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1)).
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 (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The Court must accept all
well-pleaded factual allegations as true, but need not
“accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)).
Although a complaint need not contain “detailed factual
allegations, ” it must provide “more than an
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A pleading that offers
“labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Nor does a
complaint suffice if it tenders “naked
assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual
enhancement.” Id. at 557.
Allegations Of Complaint
complaint was filed as a single document spanning 206 pages.
However, on closer review, the body of the complaint is
contained within the first 12 pages, and is followed by 194
pages of exhibits. The gist of Plaintiff's complaint
against Judge Schneider Carter is that she has issued
decisions against Plaintiff that exhibit bias against him and
that are in excess of what Plaintiff believes was limited
authority to alter a previously mediated Agreement between
Davis and his ex-wife. (See Doc. 1-1 at 3-5). Davis
complains specifically about multiple rulings from Judge
Schneider Carter that he alleges reflect bias and
discrimination, and preferential treatment toward opposing
counsel and/or his ex-wife, in violation of the 14th
Amendment of the Constitution, due process, 38 U.S.C. §
5301, 42 U.S.C. § 659, various state court laws, and the
Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct. (See Doc. 1-1 at 3,
5-11). He alleges, among other things, that Judge Schneider
Carter improperly interpreted the law concerning
Plaintiff's veteran and social security disability
income. (See Doc. 1-1 at 4). Plaintiff complains
that various rulings have left him “in bankrupt
status.” (Doc. 1-1 at 11).
seeks relief from the state court judgment entered by Judge
Schneider Carter, recusal of the Defendant in “any
cases where I am involved, ” an immediate “stay
of all payments to CSEA” and other alterations of prior
years' payments to CSEA,  relief from a “Mediated
Agreement” between Davis and his ex-wife, a declaratory
judgment that the Mediated Agreement was satisfied in 2015,
the removal of any “negative records” arising out
of state court proceedings relating to a motion to compel
and/or contempt charges, and punitive damages in excess of
$250, 000.00. To the extent that any new trial is ordered in
state court, Plaintiff also requests that this Court order
change of venue from Butler County to Hamilton County. (Doc.
1-1 at 12).
Analysis of Claims
relevant screening standards and federal law, Plaintiff's
complaint should be dismissed in its entirety. The complaint
lacks factual content or context from which the Court may
reasonably infer the basis for federal jurisdiction over any
claim that Plaintiff may have against the Defendant.
Plaintiff's cover sheet invokes federal question
jurisdiction, no such jurisdiction exists. (Doc. 1-2). For
this Court to have federal question jurisdiction pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1331, a plaintiff must allege facts showing
the cause of action involves an issue of federal law. See
Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 63 (1987).
Here, Plaintiff is challenging the outcome of a family law
dispute that arose in state court. 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.” In re
Burrus,136 U.S. 586 (1890). Thus, under the
Burrus abstention doctrine, federal courts have
universally declined to exercise jurisdiction in domestic
relations cases in which a complaint contains only conclusory
assertions that a plaintiff is ...