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Al'Shahid v. Hudson

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

June 21, 2019

CURTIS AL'SHAHID, Plaintiff,
v.
STUART HUDSON, et al., Defendants.

          Michael H. Watson Judge

          ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Curtis Al'Shahid, a state inmate who is proceeding without the assistance of counsel, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Stuart Hudson, the Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (“ODRC”), and Trayce Thalheimer, the Chairperson of the Ohio Board Authority. This matter is before the Court upon consideration of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 16), Plaintiff's Response in Opposition (ECF No. 21), Defendants' Reply in Support (ECF No. 22), and Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendants' Reply (ECF No. 23). For the following reasons, it is RECOMMENDED that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 16) be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Furthermore, Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendants' Reply (ECF No. 23) is DENIED.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         At the outset of this action, Plaintiff requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 1.) The Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis on April 4, 2018. (ECF No. 5.) On the same date, the Undersigned performed an initial screen and recommended that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on April 5, 2018 (ECF No. 7) and an Objection to the Report and Recommendation on April 16, 2018 (ECF No. 8). On November 20, 2018, upon review of the Amended Complaint and Plaintiff's Objection, the Undersigned withdrew the Report and Recommendation and permitted Plaintiff to proceed with his claims against Defendants regarding alleged procedural deficiencies in his parole proceedings. (ECF No. 10.)

         On December 26, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 16.) On January 10, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion. (ECF No. 21.) Defendants filed a Reply in support of their Motion on January 17, 2019. (ECF No. 22.) On January 24, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike Defendants' Reply. (ECF No. 23.) As an initial matter, the Undersigned takes up the Motion to Strike.

         MOTION TO STRIKE

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) permits a court to strike from a pleading “an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Notably, “[t]he striking of a portion of a pleading is a drastic remedy which is seldom granted absent a showing of real prejudice to the moving party.” Hughes v. Lavender, No. 2:10-CV-674, 2011 WL 2945843, at *2 (S.D. Ohio July 20, 2011) (citing Armstrong v. Snyder, 103 F.R.D. 96, 100 (E.D. Wis. 1984)).

         Plaintiff moves to strike Defendants' Reply on the grounds that “[t]he allegations are unrelated to Plaintiff's ‘Legal Claims' that [were] raised in his Amended Complaint.” (ECF No. 23, at pg. 1.) Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that “[t]he ‘Due Process' claim raised by Defendants by and through counsel for the first time is not only inaccurate [and] misleading but contrary to [Plaintiff's] due process claim raised [in an earlier filing].” (Id.) Plaintiff fails in his Motion to demonstrate why the drastic remedy of striking Defendants' Reply is warranted. Plaintiff first argues that “the due process claim has already been raised by the Plaintiff, presented, reviewed and ruled on by this court.” (Id. at pg. 3.)

         Plaintiff cites to his Objection to the Report and Recommendation recommending that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's claims upon an initial screen pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (ECF No. 8), and the Court's Order withdrawing the Report and Recommendation and permitting Plaintiff's claims to proceed (ECF No. 10). Although the Court withdrew the Report and Recommendation and permitted Plaintiff to proceed, it did not analyze or otherwise rule on the merits of Plaintiff's due process claims, as Plaintiff appears to assert. Rather, the Court's Order withdrawing the Report and Recommendation permitted Plaintiff to proceed with his claims against Defendants regarding alleged procedural deficiencies in his parole hearings. (Id.) The Court's Order does not prohibit Defendants from making arguments regarding Plaintiff's due process claims. Nor does it prohibit Defendants from making Eleventh Amendment arguments, as Plaintiff also appears to suggest. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion to Strike (ECF No. 23) is DENIED.

         MOTION TO DISMISS STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Defendants bring their motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, alleging that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must satisfy the basic federal pleading requirements set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Thus, Rule 8(a) “imposes legal and factual demands on the authors of complaints.” 16630 Southfield Ltd., P'ship v. Flagstar Bank, F.S.B., 727 F.3d 502, 503 (6th Cir. 2013) (emphasis in original).

         Although this pleading standard does not require “‘detailed factual allegations,' . . . [a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, '” is insufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A complaint will not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Instead, to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter . . . to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Facial plausibility is established “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “The plausibility of an inference depends on a host of considerations, including common sense and the strength of competing explanations for the defendant's conduct.” Flagstar Bank, 727 F.3d at 504 (citations omitted).

         In considering whether a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept its allegations as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund v. Standard & Poor's Fin. Servs. LLC, 700 F.3d 829, 835 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007)). However, “the tenet that a court must accept a complaint's allegations as true is inapplicable to threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663. Thus, while a court is to afford plaintiff every inference, the pleading must still contain facts sufficient to “provide a plausible basis for the claims in the complaint”; a recitation of facts intimating the “mere possibility of misconduct” will not suffice. Flex Homes, Inc. v. Ritz-Craft Corp of Mich., Inc., 491 Fed.Appx. 628, 632 (6th Cir. 2012); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         In addition, the Court holds pro se complaints “‘to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Garrett v. Belmont Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't., No. 08-3978, 2010 WL 1252923, at *2 (6th Cir. April 1, 2010) (quoting Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). This lenient treatment, however, has limits; “‘courts should not have to guess at the nature of the claim asserted.'” Frengler v. Gen. Motors, 482 Fed.Appx. 975, 976-77 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989)).

         MOTION TO ...


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