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Oats v. Hamilton County C.S.E.A.

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

July 11, 2019

TRACY OATS, Plaintiff,
HAMILTON COUNTY C.S.E.A., et al., Defendants.

          Black, Judge


          Stephanie K. Bowman United States Magistrate Judge

         On June 24, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in the United States District Court. (Doc. 1). Attached to Plaintiff's motion/application is a copy of the proposed complaint. (Doc. 1-1). In that complaint, Plaintiff identifies five Defendants: the Hamilton County C.S.E.A.; Hamilton County Domestic Relations; Kristie L. Davis, Chief Deputy Clerk; Moira Weir, Director; and Magistrate Nicole Sanders.[1]

         I. General Screening Authority

         By 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).

         Congress 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.

         Congress 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)).

         “A 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 unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me 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.

         II. Analysis

         A. Plaintiff's Assertion of Claims

          Plaintiff bears the burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction. Walburn v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 431 F.3d 966, 970 (6th Cir. 2006) (citing United States ex rel. McKenzie v. BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., 123 F.3d 935, 938 (6th Cir. 1997)). On the form used for his complaint, Plaintiff has checked a box asserting the existence of jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §1343(3) (a civil rights lawsuit alleging that Defendants acted under color of State law and deprived Plaintiff of a right secured by federal law or the Constitution). The civil cover sheet attached to his complaint similarly invokes this Court's “federal question” jurisdiction, citing 42 U.S.C. §1983 as well as a federal criminal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 241.

         All of Plaintiff's claims clearly arise out of proceedings in state court in which Plaintiff was adjudged liable for child support. Plaintiff alleges that he was put “in jail for a dept [sic] I didn't create, ” and that Defendants “took a loan for me in my name.” (Doc. 1-2 at 1). Plaintiff accuses the Hamilton County Domestic Relations court of forcing him “to consent to D.N.A. to incriminate myself” and of using “illegal methods” including misspelled names and incorrect addresses. (Id. at 3). He argues that Hamilton County C.S.E.A. threatened him “with all these statutes that they call legal” and told him they would issues a warrant for his arrest and/or suspend his license if he failed to show up for court. Plaintiff alleges that “Magistrate Nicole Sanders put me in jail multiple times acting as Judge she denied every motion I tried to put in wouldn't let me speak to defend myself.” (Id.) Defendant Davis allegedly falsified documents to build a case against Plaintiff and “didn't care if the address was wrong or mis-spelled names she just went along with the wrong doing.” Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Weir “knowingly conspired” with other Defendants. (Id.)

         Attached as an exhibit to the complaint is a Summons issued by the Hamilton County Juvenile Court to Tracy M. Oats (allegedly mailed to a wrong address) dated November 28, 2017. The summons is captioned “In Re: Keshia R Grant v. Tracey L Oats” (emphasis added, denoting person Plaintiff alleges he does not know), and appears to direct Plaintiff to appear on January 22, 2018 to show cause why he should not be held in Contempt of Court for his failure to comply with a child support order. (Doc. 1-2 at 7). Also attached to Plaintiff's complaint is a Notice from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, which indicates that Plaintiff's payment from the Internal Revenue Service, issued on March 20, 2019, was reduced by $2908 based upon a child support debt owed by Plaintiff. (Doc. 1-2 at 6).

         B. Lack of Federal Jurisdiction and Other ...

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