United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Jeffrey J. Helmick United States District Judge.
se Plaintiff Lester Williams filed this action against
Sandusky Police Chief John Orzech, Sandusky Police Detective
Ronald Brotherton, Sandusky Police Detective A. West, and
Parole Officer Catherine Hasting. In the Complaint, Plaintiff
alleges Defendants reneged on a plea deal after he performed
his part of the agreement. He does not specify a legal cause
of action. He seeks monetary relief.
contends that, in November 2017, Detectives Brotherton and
West approach him and his co-defendant and indicated to them
that the charges in a pending case would be dismissed if they
agreed to work with them in a narcotics investigation. He
indicates they were unaware that on the day they were
approached by detectives, Brotherton had posted video of a
raid on the internet, placing them in danger without their
knowledge. He states Brotherton told him to be around a
particular drug dealer and relay information about the
dealer's activities to the detectives.
alleges Brotherton contacted him on November 27, 2017, and
told him if he did not make a buy in a few hours, he would go
back to jail. Plaintiff indicates he told Brotherton that the
dealer did not trust him and believe him to be a police
officer. Plaintiff contends Brotherton was unsympathetic and
wanted Plaintiff to arrange to buy drugs. Plaintiff indicates
he contacted Brotherton on November 28, 2017 and arranged to
meet him. He claims Brotherton reiterated his threat that
Plaintiff would be arrested by the end of the day if he did
not arrange to buy drugs from the dealer.
contends Brotherton told him to meet him after the
transaction was complete at the dealer's house on Finch
Street. Plaintiff states that when he arrived, Brotherton was
with Plaintiff's parole officer, Catherine Hasting.
Plaintiff alleges Brotherton attempted to arrest him for the
drugs Brotherton had pressured him to buy. When they did not
find any drugs on Plaintiff, they arrested him for having a
gun in his possession. He claims he later discovered that
neither Brotherton nor his attorney informed the prosecutor
of the deal. He does not indicate the outcome of any criminal
case against him.
does not identify any legal claims he is attempting to
assert. He provides a narrative of facts and indicates he is
seeking monetary damages.
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), I am
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).
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. Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S.
at 555. The Plaintiff is not required to include detailed
factual allegations, but must provide more than “an
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, I
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).
fails to identify any particular cause of action he intends
to pursue, and none is apparent on the face of the Complaint.
Principles requiring generous construction of pro se
pleadings are not without limits. See Wells v.
Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989); Beaudett
v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985).
To meet the minimum basic pleading requirements, the
Complaint must give the Defendants fair notice of what the
Plaintiff's legal claims are and the factual grounds upon
which they rest. Bassett v. National Collegiate Athletic
Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 437 (6th Cir. 2008).
as a pro se litigant he is not required to cite
chapter and verse of a particular statute, he must provide me
and the Defendants with some indication of what legal claims
he is attempting to assert. I cannot read through his
assertions to explore exhaustively all potential claims he
may have and seek out the strongest arguments for him. This
is not the role of the federal courts. My role is to
adjudicate disputes, not to assist in asserting them.
Beaudett, 775 F.2d at 1278. If I were to do so, it
would “transform the district court from its legitimate
advisory role to the improper role of an advocate.”
Id. at 1278. Moreover, Plaintiff's failure to
identify a particular legal theory in his Complaint places an
unfair burden on the Defendants to speculate on the potential
claims that Plaintiff may be raising against them and ...