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Gowdy v. Ohio Job and Family Services

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

July 16, 2019

JUANITA GOWDY, Plaintiff,
v.
OHIO JOBS AND FAMILY SERVICES, Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

          DONALD C. NUGENT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pro se Plaintiff Juanita L. Gowdy filed this action against Ohio Children and Family Services. Her Complaint, in its entirety, states:

From -2009-2018-1 what [sic] my name clear I do not have Abuse or Neglect case. So please remove abuse and neglect off of my good name Juanita Gowdy Cowen Bennett Baker I do not have any cases in my name with neglect or abuse because Judge Thomas F O' Malley put that on my name.

(Doc. No. 1 at 1). She does not specify the legal claims she is asserting in this action.

         Plaintiff also filed an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. # 2). That Application is granted.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         This is the eighth case Plaintiff has filed pertaining to a finding of abuse or neglect that lead to loss of her daycare license in 2007 and placement of her granddaughter with her biological father in 2010.[1] All of the prior cases were dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff continues to allege in this case that charges of abuse and neglect were not brought against her. She gives no explanation or context for the allegation. She does not assert a legal claim. She asks this Court to clear her name.

         Standard of Review

         Although pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the Court is required to dismiss an in forma pauperis action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989); Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th Cir. 1990); Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law or fact when it is premised on an indisputably meritless legal theory or when the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.

         A cause of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it lacks "plausibility in the Complaint." Bell Atl. Corp, v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 564 (2007). A pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). The factual allegations in the pleading must be sufficient to raise the right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the Complaint are true. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The Plaintiff is not required to include detailed factual allegations, but must provide more than "an unadorned, the Defendant unlawfully harmed me accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A pleading that offers legal conclusions or a simple recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not meet this pleading standard. Id. In reviewing a Complaint, the Court must construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff. Bibbo v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 151 F.3d 559, 561 (6th Cir. 1998)

         Discussion

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and, unlike state trial courts, they do not have general jurisdiction to review all questions of law. See Ohio ex rel Skaggs v. Brunner, 549 F.3d 468, 474 (6th Cir. 2008). Instead, they have only the authority to decide cases that the Constitution and Congress have empowered them to resolve. Id. Consequently, "[i]t is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377(1994) (internal citation omitted).

         Generally speaking, the Constitution and Congress have given federal courts authority to hear a case only when diversity of citizenship exists between the parties, or when the case raises a federal question. Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). The first type of federal jurisdiction, diversity of citizenship, is applicable to cases of sufficient value between "citizens of different states." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). To establish diversity of citizenship, the Plaintiff must establish that she is a citizen of one state and all of the Defendants are citizens of other states. The citizenship of a natural person equates to his domicile. Von Dunser v. Aronoff 915 F.2d 1071, 1072 (6th Cir.1990). The second type of federal jurisdiction relies on the presence of a federal question. This type of jurisdiction arises where a "well-pleaded complaint establishes either that federal law creates the cause of action or that the Plaintiffs right to relief necessarily depends on resolution of a substantial question of federal law." Franchise Tax Bd. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S.1, 27-28 (1983).

         Diversity of citizenship does not exist in this case. Plaintiff indicates she resides in East Cleveland, Ohio. The ...


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