United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. LITKOVITZ, MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a resident of Franklin Furnace, Ohio, brings this action
against the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and
its director, the Ohio Department of Medicaid and its
director, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
and its director, the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas and
Judge Howard H. Harcha, III, and the Ohio Fourth District
Court of Appeals and the judges thereof. (See Doc.
1, Complaint). By separate Order, plaintiff has been granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915. This matter is before the Court for a
sua sponte review of the complaint 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 Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 § 804,
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
enacting the original in forma pauperis statute,
Congress recognized that a "litigant whose filing fees
and court costs are assumed by the public, unlike a paying
litigant, lacks an economic incentive to refrain from filing
frivolous, malicious, or repetitive lawsuits."
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992) (quoting
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989)). To
prevent such abusive litigation, Congress has authorized
federal courts to dismiss an in forma
pauperis complaint if they are satisfied that the action
is frivolous or malicious. Id.; 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,
490 at 328-29; 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. An
action has no arguable factual basis when the allegations are
delusional or rise to the level of the irrational or
"wholly incredible." Denton, 504 U.S. at
32; Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1199. The Court need not
accept as true factual allegations that are "fantastic
or delusional" in reviewing a complaint for
frivolousness. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 471
(6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 328).
also has authorized the sua sponte dismissal of
complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2)(B)(ii). A complaint
filed by a pro se plaintiff must be "liberally
construed" and "held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). By the
same token, however, 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
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)); see also Hill, 630 F.3d at 470-71
("dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and
Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a
claim" under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and
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. Attain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)).
Although a complaint need not contain "detailed factual
allegations," it must provide "more than an
accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing
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. The complaint must
"give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests."
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (citations omitted).
pro se complaint alleges that he was denied and terminated
from the receipt of public assistance benefits. Plaintiff
In the course of events that followed, the plaintiff was, and
continues to be, repeatedly denied reasonable accommodation
under the ADA, denied his civil rights, including but not
limited to, due process rights, and denied the right to a
fair hearing, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United
States, and a contractual agreement between the Plaintiff and
the tortfeasor agencies Ohio Department of Job and Family
Services and Ohio Department of Medicaid and other does, and
has suffered other and seriously significant losses,
injuries, and permanent damages.
(Doc. 1, Complaint PAGEID#: 8). Plaintiff alleges that he
made "[r]epeated requests for clarifications from
ODJFS," which have been ignored, and all of the other
named defendants have aided and abetted in the obstruction of
his civil rights and the ADA, causing him injury. Plaintiff
further alleges that "[a]s much of the evidence is
already in the tortfeasors hands, there should be no question
in their mind concerning their culpability in this
matter," (Id. at PAGEID#: 10). Plaintiff seeks
monetary, declaratory, and injunctive relief.
complaint is subject to dismissal as the complaint fails to
state a claim for relief against the named defendants and
seeks relief from defendants who are immune from such relief.
plaintiffs allegations are insufficient to state a claim for
relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Scioto County
Court of Common Pleas and the Ohio Fourth District Court of
Appeals. A court is not a legal entity capable of being sued
in a 42 U.S.C, § 1983 action. Capacity to sue or be sued
in the United States District Courts is governed by
Fed.R.Civ.P. 17. Rule 17(b) provides, in pertinent part:
"In all other cases capacity to sue or be sued shall be
determined by the law of the state in which the district
court is held. . . .*' Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b). The Ohio
Supreme Court has concluded that Ohio courts are not sui
juris. "Absent express statutory authority, a court can
neither sue nor be sued in its own right." Malone v.
Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County, 344 N.E.2d
126, 128 (Ohio 1976) (quoting State exrel. Cleveland
Municipal Court v. Cleveland City Council, 296 N.E.2d
544, 546 (Ohio 1973)). See also Hawkins v. Youngstown
Mun. Court, No. 4:12-cv-1029, 2012 WL 4050167, at *2
(N.D. Ohio Sept. 13, 2012) (Youngstown Municipal Court is not
sui juris, meaning it is not a legal entity that can
sue or be sued; court is merely a subunit of the municipality
it serves); Harsh v. City of Franklin, Ohio, No.
1:07-cv-874, 2009 WL 806653, at *4-5 (S.D. Ohio March 26,
2009) (holding that the Warren County, Ohio Court of Common
Pleas and City of Franklin Municipal Court are not sui
juris); Burton v. Hamilton County Juvenile Court,
No. 1:04-cv-368, 2006 WL 91600, at *5 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 11,
2006) (holding that the Hamilton County Juvenile Court is not
a legal entity capable of being sued). Therefore, the
complaint fails to state a claim for relief against the
Scioto County Court of Common Pleas and the Ohio Fourth
District Court of Appeals.
plaintiffs claims against the individual judges who are named
as defendants are barred by judicial immunity. Judges are
afforded absolute immunity from § 1983 liability for
acts they commit while functioning within their judicial
capacity. "Like other forms of official immunity,
judicial immunity is an immunity from suit, not just from
ultimate assessment of damages." Mireles v.
Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991); Pierson v. Ray,
386 U.S. 547 (1967); Barrett v. Harrington, 130 F.3d
246, 255 (6th Cir. 1997). Judges retain absolute immunity
from liability even if they act maliciously or corruptly, as
long as they are performing judicial acts and have
jurisdiction over the subject matter giving rise to the suit
against them. Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349,
356-57 (1978). See also Brookings v. Clunk, 389 F.3d
614, 617 (6th Cir. 2004); Stern v. Mascio, 262 F.3d
600, 607 (6th Cir. 2001). Plaintiff has alleged no facts
indicating that the judges acted "in the complete
absence of all jurisdiction." Stern, 262 F.3d
at 607. Therefore, the individually named judges are
absolutely immune from civil liability in this matter.
plaintiff has failed to allege any facts showing how any the
named defendants participated in any alleged violation of his
constitutional or statutory rights. Plaintiffs complaint
provides no factual content or context from which the Court
may reasonably infer that the individual defendants violated
plaintiffs rights. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. With the
exception of listing the named defendants in the caption of
his complaint, plaintiff has failed to allege the specific
actions each defendant allegedly took to violate his rights.
Many of plaintiff s allegations amount to legal conclusions
that in themselves are insufficient to give the defendants or
the Court notice of the factual basis for plaintiffs claims.
Although the Court liberally construes pro se litigant
filings, dismissal of a complaint is appropriate when it
fails to "contain 'either direct or inferential
allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a
recovery under some viable legal theory.'"
Hendrock v. Gilbert, 68 Fed.Appx. 573, 574 (6th Cir.
2003) (quoting Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops,
Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988) (emphasis in
original) (internal citations omitted)). Plaintiff has not
alleged sufficient factual content to enable the Court to
conclude that the complaint states a plausible claim for
relief against defendants. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
The Court is unable to discern from plaintiffs conclusory
assertions what defendants specifically did, or failed to do,
that caused his injury and violated his rights under federal
law. The complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted and should be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §
IS THEREFORE ...