United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS AND SUMMARY
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
CARAM STEEH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is pro se plaintiff Timothy Jones'
motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Having shown
proof that he is indigent, the court shall grant Jones'
petition to proceed without paying the filing fee. Having
done so, the court is required to review his Complaint
pursuant to the screening procedures set forth at 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e) to determine whether the Complaint should be
dismissed because the action is frivolous or malicious, fails
to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from defendant who is immune from such
relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Hill
v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). For the
reasons set forth below, the Complaint shall be dismissed.
Complaint is not a model of clarity, and it is difficult to
discern the claims pled against the various defendants. The
court does its best to articulate those claims here. At
various places in the Complaint, Jones asserts that he is
pursuing claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985
and 1986, although it is unclear which civil rights claims
pertain to which of the named or unnamed defendants.
is an African-American who resides at a house on 14003
Puritan in Detroit, Michigan. The three named defendants are
(1) Robert Couvreur, alleged to be the Manager Real Estate
Services, Office of Land and Facilities of the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”), (2)
Bernard Youngblood, Wayne County Registrar of Deeds, and (3)
Benny Napoleon, Wayne County Sheriff. The four categories of
unnamed defendants are (1) unknown DNR clerks/employees, (2)
unknown registrar clerks/employees, (3) unknown Detroit Land
Bank Authority officials/employees, and (4) unknown Wayne
County deputies. It appears that Jones' claims arise out
of the sheriff's sale of his property, although it is
unclear when, or if, a sheriff's sale has taken place. He
seeks $1, 000, 000 in damages and injunctive relief to stop
the sale of his home.
court summarizes the allegations against the named defendants
alleges that Couvreur, acting in his official and individual
capacity, filed a fraudulent “Affidavit of
Forgery” with defendant Youngblood in the Wayne County
Register of Deeds on February 10, 2006 which allegedly
deprived him of his property and deed recorded on April 21,
2005 and “conveying title to the grantee, Michael
Williams.” (Complaint, ¶ 9). Jones alleges that
Couvreur is liable for “blatantly violating and/or
conspiring to violate clearly established Federal Civil
Rights, Federal Laws . . . and Federal Constitutional
Rights.” (Complaint ¶¶ 4, 8). Jones further
alleges that none of the defendants personally served him
with a copy of the “Affidavit of Forgery, ” and
that defendants are aware he has openly resided and paid
utilities for the home on Puritan since 2005. (Complaint,
¶¶ 9-10). Arguably, these general allegations
pertain to defendant Couvreur.
states that he is suing Youngblood in his official and
individual capacity, but does not make any specific
allegations that defendant Youngblood was personally involved
in the alleged deprivation of Jones' Constitutional
rights. It is possible that Jones' general allegations
that “defendants” are liable for failing to
personally serve him with a copy of the “Affidavit of
Forgery, ” and that “defendants” are aware
he has openly resided and paid utilities for the home on
Puritan since 2005, are meant to pertain to him. For purposes
of this order, the court shall assume that Jones so intends.
alleges that Sheriff Napoleon is liable in his official and
individual capacities for gross negligence and deliberate
indifference as a result of his alleged failure to hire,
train, and or to discipline unknown sheriff deputies
regarding the sheriff sale of Jones' property, and for
depriving Jones of his right to property and access to
courts, in violation of Jones' First and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. (Complaint, ¶¶ 7, 11).
Standard for Dismissal
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the district court is
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 may be granted, or if it lacks an arguable
basis in law or fact. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989). 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. Id. A cause of action fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted when it lacks
“plausibility in the complaint.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 564 (2007).
“‘[N]aked assertions' devoid of
‘further factual ...