United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff United States District Judge
some form of action by a state prisoner invoking the
Court's admiralty and maritime jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1333. It is difficult to pin down precisely what
sort of action Plaintiff intends to bring because his
complaint is nothing more than unintelligible legalistic
gobbledygook. Plaintiff is not bringing an action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Plaintiff clearly states that, under these statutes, no
remedy is available. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 7, PageID.82.)
Plaintiff is raising an admiralty or maritime claim, because
he is a prisoner and because he seeks relief from employees
or officers of governmental entities, the Court is required
to screen his action and dismiss it if the complaint is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se complaint
indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as
true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly
incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33
(1992). Applying these standards, Plaintiff's action will
be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
Edward James Cromer is presently incarcerated with the
Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Earnest C.
Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan.
Plaintiff is serving life sentences for armed robbery and
second-degree murder, consecutive to a two-year sentence for
felony firearm. Plaintiff sues Michigan Governor Rick Snyder,
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Michigan Parole
Board members Amy Bonito and Michael Eagen. Plaintiff sues
the Defendants in their individual capacities. (Am. Compl.
Supplement, ECF No. 8, PageID.118.)
has been in the custody of the MDOC since 1990. He has filed
many civil rights and habeas corpus suits in the Michigan
federal courts during his incarceration. When Plaintiff
alleges that there is no remedy available under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 or 28 U.S.C. § 2254, he speaks from
abandoned the federal question basis for jurisdiction,
Plaintiff has turned to admiralty. The nature and scope of
the Court's admiralty jurisdiction is not often
considered in actions brought by state prisoners. Admiralty
jurisprudence involves very specific rights and remedies,
rights and remedies that are, or perhaps more accurately
were, distinct from the “common law.” As the
Supreme Court stated in Manro v. Almeida, 23 U.S.
The jurisdiction of the admiralty rests upon the grant in the
constitution, and the terms in which that grant is extended
to the respective Courts of the United States. The forms and
modes of proceeding in causes of admiralty and maritime
jurisdiction, are prescribed to the Courts by the second
section of the Process Act of 1792. In the Process Act of
1789, the language made use of in prescribing those forms
implied a general reference to the practice of the civil law;
but in the act of 1792, the terms employed are,
‘according to the principles, rules, and usages, which
belong to Courts of admiralty, as contradistinguished from
Courts of common law.'
Manro, 23 U.S. at 488.
respects the distinct forms and modes of proceeding of the
18th and 19th century have fallen away. By way of example,
the distinction between courts of law and courts of equity
disappeared because of the adoption of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure in 1938. City of Morgantown v. Royal Ins.
Co., 337 U.S. 254, 257 (1949) (“The coalescing of
law and equity procedure was completed in 1938, with the
adoption of the Rules of Civil Procedure.”). But there
is still some life in the distinct “principles, rules
and usages which belong to Courts of admiralty. . .”
Id. Indeed, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals cited
the Manro decision and its approval of maritime
attachment just last year. See Malin Intern. Ship Repair
& Drydock, Inc. v. Oceanografia, S.A. de
C.V., 817 F.3d 241, 244 (5th Cir. 2016). And, the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure still include the
Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset
describes himself as a “Property-vessel.” (Am.
Compl., ECF No. 7, PageID.83.) Plaintiff sprinkles statutory
cites and terminology from Title 46 of the United States Code
regarding shipping and Michigan's version of the Uniform
Commercial Code throughout his factual allegations. It
appears that Plaintiff contends there was a flaw in his March
7, 1990 preliminary examination:
Stemming from a March 7, 1990 Contract, 27 year Cromer have
been falsely imprisoned and injured by Respondents under the
latent Admiralty in State Court Criminal Process. Cromer was
arrested by application of Title 46 USCS § 31-301 in
rem, violating exclusive Federal Jurisdiction pursuant to USC
§1333. Then Military Action was used to alter and
convert Plaintiff over into Attributed Defendant/Debtor, and
forced Cromer into standing trial as a created Legal Fiction
EDWARD JAMES CROMER WITHOUT EVER FACING AN INJURED PARTY IN
COMMON LAW, or without anyone alleging Cromer had committed a
tort or violated any of the constitutional rights into
Evidence of Record in court of Equity.
(Am. Compl., ECF No. 7, PageID.81-82.) Specifically,
Plaintiff objects to his counsel's preliminary
examination stipulation with regard to the content of the
medical examiner's report and the identification of the
victim. Using that “flaw” as a foundation,
Plaintiff adds layer upon layer of misconstrued legal jargon.
It is not possible to make any sense of the resulting
structure; however, Plaintiff does use some language that
describes recognizable causes of action.
liberally, Plaintiff claims that Defendants breached a
contract (maritime or otherwise), fraudulently concealed
something, committed fraud, and committed a tort denying
Plaintiff access to the courts by denying him usage of
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 and precluding him from
obtaining an intellectual and commercial interest in himself.
Plaintiff also states that on March 7, 1990, these Defendants
did something that was a “violation of the V. Amendment
to the U.S. Constitution, Due Process.” (Id.,
PageID.91.) Plaintiff also complains that committed a tort by
operating a parole board which violated the Michigan rules
and regulations as well as “V. Amendment of the U.S.
Const.” (Id., PageID.92.) Plaintiff further
contends that Defendants committed a tort when they created a
policy that prevents him access to uniform commercial code
documents which, in turn, denies him access to the courts
contrary to the First Amendment. (Id.) Plaintiff
seeks equitable and declaratory relief and $27, 000, 000 in
compensatory and punitive damages.