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Cohen v. U.S. Bancorp

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

December 26, 2019

ANDRE MARQUIS COHEN, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. BANCORP, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER

          DAN AARON POLSTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pro se Plaintiff Andre Marquis Cohen filed this action against U.S. Bancorp in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas seeking payment on documents he created authorizing the United States Treasury to “disburse public money for this public debt backed by payor's full faith and credit, and bonded by a certified promise as recognized by International Law.” (Doc No. 8-1 at 1-3). He seeks $ 1, 200, 000.00 from the Defendant claiming they took possession of his documents but did not provide him with consideration.

         Defendant removed the case to this federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, and filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc No. 8). They assert Plaintiff did not establish that they took possession of his documents or that the documents are worth the value Plaintiff places on them. In fact, they claim the documents are worthless and fraudulent, and assert they do not owe Plaintiff any money. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 8) is granted and this action is dismissed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff's Complaint provides very few factual allegations. He indicates Defendant took possession of four documents he created and titled as “certified promissory notes.” The documents purport to “Pay to the Order of [Andre' Marquis Cohen] Acct # (redacted)” ... “the sum of: Three Hundred Thousand in credits.” (Doc. No. 8-1 at 1-3). Inside a box to the right of that is listed “US$300, 000.00**.” (Doc. No. 8-1 at 1-3). The “drawee” is listed as “the United States Department of the Treasury 1789.” The memo of the documents indicates it is void after 21 days and states:

This certificate/voucher/certified coupon bond is a printed authorization to the United States Department of the Treasury 1789 to disburse public money for this public debt backed by Payor's full faith and credit, and bonded by a certified promise as recognized by International Law.

(Doc. 8-1 at 1-3). The document is signed by “Rabbi Kohon El Bey Ali” which appears to be an alias for Plaintiff. Plaintiff states the documents are his property because he attached them to UCC filings. These filings are composed entirely of meaningless rhetoric, and appear to be an attempt by Plaintiff to declare himself to be debtor and a secured party of himself. He claims the Defendant took possession of these documents on July 17, 2019 but did not give him consideration for them. He asserts claims for replevin and conversion and seeks payment of the purported value of the documents.

         The Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim. They contend that the documents are not promissory notes, checks, or legal tender. They are entirely worthless documents created by the Plaintiff for the sole purpose of defrauding financial institutions.

         Defendants also indicate that under Ohio law, promissory notes are not negotiable instruments. They contend Plaintiff is not entitled to replevin or damages for conversion. First, Defendant claims Plaintiff has not established that he had an ownership interest or a right to $ 1, 200, 000.00. If he has an interest in the documents, their value is solely the cost of the paper on which they are printed, not the value Plaintiff placed on them. Second, Defendant asserts that Plaintiff has not established that Defendant had possession of any of his property, as he was not entitled to $ 1, 200, 000.00. Defendant asks this Court to dismiss this action with prejudice.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When deciding a Motion to Dismiss under Federal Civil Rule 12(b)(6), the function of the Court is to test the legal sufficiency of the Complaint. See Mayer v. Mulod, 988 F.2d 635, 638 (6th Cir. 1993). The Supreme Court in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) and recently in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) clarified the law regarding what the Plaintiff must plead in order to survive a Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).

         In reviewing a Complaint, the Court generally must construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff and determine whether the Complaint contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The Court, however, is given discretion to refuse to accept without question the truth of Plaintiff's allegations when they are “clearly baseless, ” a term encompassing claims that may be fairly described as fanciful, fantastic, delusional, wholly incredible, or irrational. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992). The Plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds for relief “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. The Court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).

         The Court in Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-678, further explains the “plausibility” requirement, stating that “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. Furthermore, “the plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a Defendant acted unlawfully.” Id. This determination is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing Court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         Furthermore, while 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), this Court may dismiss an action sua sponte if the Complaint is so “implausible, attenuated, unsubstantial, frivolous, devoid of merit, or no longer open to discussion” as to deprive the Court of jurisdiction. Apple v. Glenn, 183 F.3d 477, 479 (6th Cir. 1999)(citin ...


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