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Hess v. Celebreeze

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

June 21, 2019

CASSANDRA HESS, Plaintiff,
v.
JUDGE LESLIE CELEBREEZE, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Christopher A. Boyko United States District Judge.

         Pro se Plaintiff Cassandra Hess filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Judge Leslie Celebreeze, Magistrate Scott Kitson and Magistrate Patrick Kelly (collectively, “Defendants”). In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated her constitutional rights under the Fourteenth and Sixth Amendments and to due process and equal protection of the law. (ECF DKT #1 at 3). Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF DKT #2), which is granted.

         For the reasons that follow, this action is dismissed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         According to the Complaint, Judge Leslie Celebreeze is a Domestic Relations judge in Cuyahoga County and Scott Kitson and Patrick Kelly are Domestic Relations magistrates in Cuyahoga County. (ECF DKT #1 at 2). In her brief Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants “are acting maliciously and corruptly, ” that she is being harassed and the Defendants are depriving her of due process, equal protection and civil rights. Plaintiff claims that Judge Celebreeze “is not being unbiase[d]” and made statements in pre-trial hearings that suggest the Judge had already made her decision as to the outcome of the proceedings and that Plaintiff's motions were not answered. Plaintiff also claims that Magistrate Scott Kitson “screams and yells” at her in an attempt to intimidate her and that the Defendants are committing judicial misconduct. (Id. at 4). Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, requesting that she be treated fairly, receive due process, her civil rights not be violated and that the Defendants be removed from “my case.” With respect to her daughter “Sernity Hess, ” Plaintiff asks “that its handled in [Juvenile] Court and that all parties involved be held accountable for [their] actions for violating my Civil Rights.” (Id. at 5).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         Although pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982), federal district courts are expressly required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen all in forma pauperis actions and to dismiss before service any such action that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. The standard for dismissal articulated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) with respect to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) also governs dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B)). Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Therefore, in order to survive scrutiny under § 1915(e)(2)(B), a pro se complaint must set forth sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a plausible claim for relief. Anson v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 529 Fed.Appx. 558, 559 (6th Cir. 2013) (“Section 1915(e)(2)(B) authorizes dismissal if the action fails to state a plausible claim for relief or is frivolous.”).

         While pro se pleadings are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, pro se plaintiffs must still satisfy basic pleading requirements and the Court is not required to conjure allegations on their behalf. See Erwin v. Edwards, 22 Fed.Appx. 579, 580 (6th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted). A pleading must contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and must provide more than “an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         B. Plaintiff's § 1983 Claim is Dismissed

         Judges and magistrates are absolutely immune from civil suits for money damages, except in limited circumstances not alleged here. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991); Barnes v. Winchell, 105 F.3d 1111, 1115-16 (6th Cir. 1997) (collecting cases). To the extent that Plaintiff seeks money damages, Defendants are absolutely immune from suit and this case is dismissed pursuant to § 1915(e) on that basis.

         To the extent that Plaintiff seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, Plaintiff fails to state a plausible claim upon which relief can be granted and, in any event, the Court may not interfere with state court proceedings or entertain an appeal of state court decisions.

         1. Plaintiff fails to state a plausible § 1983 claim against Defendants

         Plaintiff's claims against Defendants consist of the conclusory statements that they acted “maliciously and corruptly, ” are harassing Plaintiff, are biased and unethical, have deprived her of due process and equal protection and are committing judicial misconduct. (ECF DKT #1 at 4). Her only ...


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