United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
KINSLEY F. NYCE, Plaintiff,
STEPHEN D. JONES, et al., Defendants.
Kimberly A. Jolson Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER
A. SARGUS, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court for consideration of a Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Defendants:
Columbus Bar Association ("CBA"), A. Alysha Clous
("Clous"), Bruce A. Campbell
("Campbell"), and Lori Brown ("Brown").
(ECF No. 58). Plaintiff, a formerly licensed attorney living
in Columbus, Ohio, brings this action to challenge his
disbarment. (Compl. ¶ 1 & 3, ECF No. 1). Plaintiff
claims that Defendants Clous, Campbell, and Brown, among
others, were members of the Certified Grievance Committee
("Committee") which investigated his purported
misconduct. (Id.¶41). In Plaintiffs view, two
investigators on the Committee did not "receiv[e] [the]
required training [, ] education and development of requisite
skills adequate to properly perform the role that each
intentionally and maliciously undertook regarding Plaintiff
at the direction of Defendants Clous, Campbell, Brown, and
the CBA. (Id.¶ 49).
further alleges that Defendants Clous, Campbell, Brown, and
the CBA improperly failed to provide the Board with a
"three-ring binder .. . of documents including executed
forms demonstrating client knowledge and waiver of
professional insurance coverage." (Id. ¶
27). Additionally, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Clous,
Campbell, Brown, and the CBA: (1) engaged in ex parte
communications with the Board, (2) altered deposition
testimony, (3) altered State of Ohio records, (4) damaged
Plaintiff s deposition exhibits, (5) extended the
investigation process from 60-90 days to nearly three years,
and (6) received substantial business benefits from
investigating Plaintiff, a "conduit competitor."
(Id. ¶ 27-48).
proceeding pro se, filed his Complaint against thirty-one
named defendants on January 3, 2019. (See Compl.).
Plaintiff asserted claims for: (1) declaratory judgment, (2)
violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
("FDCPA"), (3) violations of the Ohio Consumer
Sales Practices Act ("OCSPA") (O.R.C. § 1345),
(4) aiding and abetting fraud, (5) joint venture, (6)
violations of the Sherman Act, (7) abuse of process, (8)
malicious prosecution, (9) civil conspiracy pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, and (10) business defamation.
(Id. ¶ 52-61). The Court previously ordered the
dismissal of Plaintiff s claims against twenty-four of the
thirty-one defendants (ECF No. 57). On June 12, 2019,
Defendants Clous, Campbell, Brown, and the CBA
("Defendants") filed a Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No.
58). Plaintiff did not respond. On July 9, 2019, the Court
directed Plaintiff to file his Response in Opposition on or
before July 12, 2019. (ECF No. 59). Once again, Plaintiff did
not respond. Accordingly, the Court considers Defendants'
their Motion, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs claims should
be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. (Mot. to Dismiss at 4, ECF No. 58). Citing the
Court's June 11, 2019 Opinion and Order (ECF No. 57),
Defendants contend they were in the same situation as
previous co-defendants Sherman and Nolder because they were
"acting on behalf of the Columbus Bar Association
Grievance Committee to investigate the professional conduct
of the Plaintiff." (Id.). Accordingly,
Defendants argue that Plaintiffs claims should be dismissed
for the reasons discussed in the Court's previous Opinion
and Order. (Id. at 4-6).
position is well taken. For the reasons stated in its June
11, 2019 Opinion and Order, Plaintiff failed to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. As the Court previously
noted, Plaintiff does not allege facts concerning debt
collection, consumer transactions, or trade. (Op. & Or.
at 14, ECF No. 57). Thus, "Plaintiff does not assert
sufficient facts to plausibly establish a claim under the
FDCPA, OCSPA, or the Sherman Act." (Id.).
Plaintiffs aiding and abetting fraud claim must be dismissed
because "Ohio law does not recognize a cause of action
for aiding and abetting fraud." (Id. at 15). In
addition, Plaintiff fails to present sufficient facts to
plausibly establish a business venture between Defendants-
precluding his joint venture claim. (Id. at 15-16).
as noted previously, Plaintiff does not sufficiently
establish the elements of abuse of process or malicious
prosecution under Ohio law. (Id. at 16-17). Finally,
Plaintiffs factual allegations regarding civil conspiracy are
"too nonspecific and conclusory to satisfy the
Iqbal/Twombly pleading standard," and his
business defamation claim is barred by absolute privilege.
(Id. at 19) (see Hecht v. Levin, 66 Ohio
St.3d 458, 465 (1993) ("a statement made in the course
of an attorney disciplinary proceeding enjoys an absolute
privilege against a civil action based thereon as long as the
statement bears some reasonable relation to the
the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No.
58). Plaintiffs claims against Defendants Clous, Campbell,