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Bogard v. County of Allegan

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division

October 18, 2017

COUNTY OF ALLEGAN et al., Defendants.



         This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law 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. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). 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, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint against Defendants Allegan County, Watts, Cronin, Kengis, State of Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Corrections for failure to state a claim.


         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the County of Allegan, Allegan County Clerk Joyce A. Watts, Attorney Kevin W. Cronin, Attorney Roberts A. Kengis, the State of Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).

         Plaintiff states that he is filing a “CRIMINAL COMPLAINT / SETTOFF AND COUNTERCLAIM / WITHIN THE ADMIRALTY” (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges that he is currently being detained in a quasi-military foreign penal colony known as the Chippewa Correctional Facility. Plaintiff states that he sent a commercial letter of credit / tender of payment to Defendants on February 16, 2017. Plaintiff claims that by failing to respond, Defendants are in breach of their fiduciary duty and are liable for “the penal sum, with respect to a negotiable instrument.” Plaintiff alleges:

This action is against the Respondents/Defendants for unlawful taking of Plaintiff's life, liberty, and property. Acts that [have] caused an injury to the reputation of the plaintiff; in fact; which state law and federal laws give a remedy to any man pursuant and under United States Title 18 U.S.C. 241, 242; which states in part . . . under Michigan Constitution, Art. I, Sect. 13 “A suitor in any court of this state has the right to prosecute or defend his suit, either in his own proper person or by an attorney.”

See ECF No. 1, PageID.3.

         As noted above, Plaintiff states that Defendants' conduct violated his rights under federal and state law. Plaintiff seeks damages and equitable relief.

         II. Failure to state a claim

         A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it fails “‘to give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations must include more than labels and conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). The court must determine whether the complaint contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “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 679. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent to a “‘probability requirement, ' . . . it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).

         Initially, the Court notes that Plaintiff's assertion that the Court has admiralty jurisdiction over this case has no merit.

Whether this dispute falls within the scope of our jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1333(1) depends upon whether the underlying claims arise under a “maritime contract, ” which in turn “depends upon the nature and character of the contract, and the true criterion is whether [the contract] has reference to maritime service or maritime transactions.” Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Kirby, 543 U.S. 14, 24, 125 S.Ct. 385, 160 L.Ed.2d 283 (2004) (quotation marks, citations, and editorial marks omitted).

New Hampshire Ins. Co. v. Home Sav. & Loan Co. of Youngstown, Ohio, 581 F.3d 420, 423 (6th Cir. 2009). Plaintiff has not alleged any facts showing that his claims ...

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