United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING
PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT, DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO AMEND (DOCUMENT NO. 11), AND ENJOINING PLAINTIFF
FROM FURTHER FILINGS WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COURT
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
Maurice Christian filed a pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against the 43rd District Court, the City of
Hazel Park, and Judge Charles Goedert. Under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2), the Court has a duty to sua sponte dismiss a
frivolous or malicious in forma pauperis
complaint. The Court may dismiss "without permitting the
plaintiff to amend the complaint." Coleman v.
Tollefson, 733 F.3d 175, 177 (6th Cir. 2013), as
amended on denial of reh'g and reh'g en
banc, (Jan. 17, 2014), aff'd, 135 S.Ct.
1759 (2015). Even with the Court previously "granting
[a] liberal construction" to the pro se complaint,
plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. Jones v. Caruso, 569 F.3d 258, 263 (6th
Cir. 2009). Accordingly, the Court will dismiss the
complaint. Moreover, the Court will enjoin plaintiff from
further filings without permission of the Court.
complaint appears to challenge a March 4, 2014 state-court
order to pay court fees. Compl. 18, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff
makes three claims. First, he claims that Judge Goedert
violated his right to due process by refusing to answer a
motion to stay and enjoin the payment of court fees.
Id. at 8. Second, he argues that the 43rd District
Court lacked jurisdiction. Id. at 9. Finally, he
contends that Judge Goedert and the City of Hazel Park
unjustly enriched themselves by requiring him to pay the
court fee. Id. ¶ 56. In support, plaintiff
invokes the Alien Tort Claims Act, the United Nation's
1948 Declaration of Human Rights, and the United Nations
Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Id.
at 1-2, ECF No. 1.
Court must sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint that fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted, or a claim over which the court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A
complaint fails to state a claim if the allegations are not
"sufficient 'to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level, ' and to 'state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'" Hensley Mfg. v.
ProPride, Inc., 579 F.3d 603, 609 (6th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555, 570 (2007)). When evaluating the claims, the Court views
the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
presumes the truth of all well-pled factual assertions, and
draws every reasonable inference in favor of the non-moving
party. Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic
Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008).
"pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions'
or 'a formulaic recitation of the element of a cause of
action will not do.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555). The complaint must offer more than the "bare
assertion of legal conclusions, " Tackett v. M &
G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th
Cir. 2009), or a "formulaic recitation of the
elements." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Rather, a complaint must
provide sufficient facts to show a "plausibility of
entitlement to relief." Id. at 678 (quotations
Due Process Claim
claims Judge Goedert "violated the Plaintiff's Right
to Due Process by refusing to answer the Plaintiff's
Request For Stay and Injunction on Execution of the Due
Date of Court Fees and Clarity on the Itemization of the
Court Fees and Request to have Court Fees Due at the End of
Probation petition." Compl. ¶ 30, ECF No. 1.
As far as the Court can tell, Christian bases his claim on a
state-court judgment that required him to pay a court fee in
connection with a misdemeanor conviction. Id. ¶
federal courts lack jurisdiction to review state-court
criminal judgments. Carter v. Burns, 524 F.3d 796,
798 (6th Cir. 2008). "The Rooker-Feldman
doctrine denies federal jurisdiction to cases brought by
state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by
state-court judgments rendered before the district court
proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and
rejection of those judgments." Id. (quoting
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544
U.S. 280, 284 (2005)). The doctrine applies "when a
plaintiff complains of injury from the state-court judgment
itself." Id. But the doctrine "does not
prohibit federal district courts from exercising jurisdiction
where the plaintiff's claim is merely a general challenge
to the constitutionality of the state law applied in the
state action[.]" Id.
Christian seeks relief from a state-court judgment imposing a
fee. The Court does not have jurisdiction to serve as a
tribunal for Christian's direct appeal of a state-court
criminal judgment. As a result, the Court will dismiss Count
I with prejudice.
Christian contends that the 43rd Circuit Court lacked
subject-matter jurisdiction in his state-court criminal case.
But Christian must offer "more than the bare assertion
of legal conclusions" to state a viable claim for
relief. Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488. "[T]he tenet
that a court must accept as true all of the allegations
contained in a complaint is inapplicable" to
Christian's legal conclusion that the 43rd Circuit Court
lacked jurisdiction. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Since
those limited claims of Christian's that are intelligible
failed to ...