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Messiah v. Hamilton County Child Support Enforcement Agency

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

July 17, 2019


          Dlott, J.



         This civil action is now before the Court on Defendants' motions to dismiss (Docs. 8, 12) and the parties' responsive memoranda (Docs. 16, 18, 19). Also before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order. (Doc. 4). The motions will be addressed in turn.

         I. Background and Facts

         Plaintiff filed the instant action against the Hamilton County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the State of Ohio. (Doc. 1 at 1). It appears that Plaintiff is complaining about a child support order and a paternity determination. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims CSEA violated his due process and equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges CSEA violated his due process under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 and also appears to be bringing his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. at 3. Plaintiff's Civil Cover Sheet states that he is also relying on 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242 (Doc. 1- 1). Plaintiff seeks to have this Court dismiss the child support order that has been issued against him.

         II. Analysis

         A. Motions to Dismiss

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) operates to test the sufficiency of the claims. The court is required to construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, and accept all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974) and Lewis v. ACB Business Services, 135 F.3d 389, 405 (6th Cir. 1998). A court, however, will not accept conclusions of law or unwarranted inferences which are presented as factual allegations. Blackburn v. Fisk University, 443 F.2d 121, 124 (6th Cir. 1974). A complaint must contain either direct or reasonable inferential allegations that support all material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory. Lewis v. ACB, 135 F.3d at 405 (internal citations omitted). “While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (citations omitted); Association of Cleveland Fire Fighters v. City of Cleveland, Ohio, 502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th Cir. 2007). Even though a complaint need not contain “detailed” factual allegations, its “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. (citations omitted).

         1. State of Ohio

         The State of Ohio seeks dismissal of Plaintiff's claims based upon lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The State contends that it is absolutely immune from this suit, and therefore Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief. The undersigned agrees.

         The Eleventh Amendment “bars all suits, whether for injunctive, declaratory or monetary relief” brought by individuals against a State. McCormick v. Miami Univ., 693 F.3d 654, 661 (6th Cir. 2012) (quotations omitted). Such immunity applies unless a state has consented to suit or Congress has clearly expressed its intent to abrogate immunity. Latham v. Office of Atty. Gen. of State of Ohio, 395 F.3d 261, 270 (6th Cir. 2005).

         Here, the State has not consented to suit in this case, and Plaintiff fails to identify any way in which Congress has abrogated sovereign immunity relevant to his claims. See Cartwright v. Garner, 751 F.3d 752, 760 (6th Cir. 2014) (placing the burden on Plaintiff to prove jurisdiction). Indeed, the Supreme Court has explicitly stated that there is no exception to Eleventh Immunity for claims brought under § 1983. Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989) (“Section 1983 provides a federal forum to remedy many deprivations of civil liberties, but it does not provide a federal forum for litigants who seek a remedy against a State for alleged deprivations of civil liberties.”).

         In the alternative, even if this Court had jurisdiction (which it does not), Plaintiff's complaint also fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted against the State of Ohio. (Doc. 9). In this regard, the State of Ohio argues that a State is not a “person, ” and therefore, cannot be subject to liability under § 1983 and cannot be charged with a criminal offense under §§ 241 or 242. See, e.g., McKenna v. Bowling Green State Univ., 568 Fed.Appx. 450, 456 (6th Cir. 2014) (noting that a State is not a “‘person' subject to suit under § 1983” (citing Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64 (1989))). Additionally, Section 242 involves a deprivation of rights based on someone's race or ethnicity, but Plaintiff makes no such allegations in his complaint. With regard to the “Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, ” Plaintiff has not identified any provision of that bill that the State has allegedly violated. Id.

         In light of the foregoing, Plaintiff's claims against the State of Ohio are properly dismissed pursuant to Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Accordingly, Defendant's ...

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