United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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 Peter Jaklevic, Unknown Jaklevic, Scott P.
Hill-Kennedy, Unknown Hill-Kennedy, Terri L. Pontz, Unknown
Pontz, Sherry Earnest, Unknown Earnest, Kathleen Olson,
Unknown Olson, Heidi Washington, Unknown Washington, Marcee
Purcell, and Todd Purcell for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at Richard A. Handlon Correctional
Facility (MTU) in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan. The events
about which he complains, however, occurred prior to his
incarceration and in the Chippewa Correctional Facility
(URF). Plaintiff sues Prosecuting Attorney Peter Jaklevic and
his spouse Unknown Jaklevic, State Court Judge Scott P.
Hill-Kennedy and his spouse Unknown Hill-Kennedy, Court
Administrator Terri L. Pontz and her spouse Unknown Pontz,
County Treasurer Sherry Earnest and her spouse Unknown
Earnest, Warden Kathleen Olson and her spouse Unknown Olson,
MDOC Director Heidi Washington and her spouse Unknown
Washington, Clerk of Court Marcee Purcell and her spouse Todd
alleges that he served Defendants with a “Complaint
& Affidavit of Obligation for Claim, ” asserting
human rights violations committed by Defendants in regard to
state court Case Number 07-005951-FH-K. Plaintiff attaches a
copy of his Judgment of Sentence, which shows that Plaintiff
received two sentences of 8 to 50 years imprisonment for
operating a vehicle while under the influence and fleeing
from police. Plaintiff also received a sentence of 365 days
for operating a vehicle with a suspended license.
See ECF No. 1-6. Plaintiff states that Defendants
failed to respond to his “Complaint and
Affidavit.” Plaintiff now seeks an order entering a
default judgment against Defendants, which would entitle
Plaintiff to damages and equitable relief.
Failure to state a claim
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)).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating
federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself,
the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify
the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
“Complaint & Affidavit of Obligation for Claim,
” is clearly an attempt to indirectly challenge his
state court criminal convictions. Therefore, the instant
lawsuit, in which Plaintiff seeks to enforce his
“Complaint & Affidavit of Obligation for Claim,
” is also an attempt to challenge those convictions.
The federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and
Plaintiff has the burden of proving the Court's
jurisdiction. United States v. Horizon Healthcare,
160 F.3d 326, 329 (6th Cir. 1998). Even where subject matter
jurisdiction is not raised by the parties, the Court must
consider the issue sua sponte. See City of
Kenosha v. Bruno, 412 U.S. 507, 511 (1973); Norris
v. Schotten, 146 F.3d 314, 324 (6th Cir. 1998);
Mickler v. Nimishillen & Tuscarawas Ry. Co., 13
F.3d 184, 189 (6th Cir. 1993).
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
claims. A federal district court has no authority to review
final judgments of state-court judicial proceedings.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman,
460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust
Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415B16 (1923). A loser in the state
court may not be heard in the federal district court on
complaints of injuries by a state-court judgment rendered
before the federal proceeding commenced. Exxon Mobil
Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 283-84
(2005). “The pertinent question in determining whether
a federal district court is precluded under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine from exercising
subject-matter jurisdiction over a claim is whether the
‘source of the injury' upon which plaintiff bases
his federal claim is the state court judgment.” In
re Cook, 551 F.3d at 548. In this case, the source of
Plaintiff's injury is his state court convictions.
Therefore, Plaintiff's claims are barred.
to the extent Plaintiff seeks monetary relief for alleged
violations of Constitutional rights that occurred during his
state criminal trial, his claim is barred by Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994), which held that
“in order to recover damages for allegedly
unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other
harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a
conviction or sentence invalid, a Section 1983 plaintiff
must prove that the conviction or sentence has been
[overturned].” See Edwards v. Balisok, 520
U.S. 641, 646 (1997) (emphasis in original). In
Heck, the Supreme Court held that a state prisoner
cannot make a cognizable claim under Section 1983 for an
allegedly unconstitutional conviction or for “harm
caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a
conviction or sentence invalid” unless a prisoner shows
that the conviction or sentence has been “reversed on
direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid
by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or
called into question by a federal court's issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus.” Id. at 486-87
(footnote omitted). The holding in Heck has been
extended to actions seeking injunctive or declaratory relief.
See Edwards, 520 U.S. at 646-48 (declaratory
relief); Clarke v. Stalder, 154 F.3d 186, 189-90
(5th Cir. 1998) (claim for injunctive relief intertwined with
request for damages); Wilson v. Kinkela, No.
97-4035, 1998 WL 246401, at *1 (6th Cir. May 5, 1998)
(injunctive relief). Plaintiff's allegations clearly call
into question the validity of his conviction. Therefore, his
action is barred under Heck until his criminal
convictions have been invalidated.
addition, Scott P. Hill-Kennedy is a state court judge.
Generally, a judge is absolutely immune from a suit for
monetary damages. Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 9-10
(1991) (“[I]t is a general principle of the highest
importance to the proper administration of justice that a
judicial officer, in exercising the authority vested in him,
shall be free to act upon his own convictions, without
apprehension of personal consequences to himself.”)
(internal quotations omitted); Barrett v.
Harrington, 130 F.3d 246, 254 (6th Cir. 1997);
Barnes v. Winchell, 105 F.3d 1111, 1115 (6th Cir.
1997). Absolute judicial immunity may be overcome in only two
instances. First, a judge is not immune from liability for
non-judicial actions, i.e., actions not taken in the
judge's judicial capacity. Mireles, 502 U.S. at
11; see Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 229 (1988)
(noting that immunity is grounded in “the nature of the
function performed, not the identity of the actor who
performed it”). Second, a judge is not immune for
actions, though judicial in nature, taken in complete absence
of all jurisdiction. Id. at 12.
allegations do not appear to implicate either of the
exceptions to judicial immunity. Actions taken during the
trial and sentencing of a criminal defendant are a judicial
act. Accordingly, Judge Scott P. Hill-Kennedy is absolutely
immune from liability. Consequently, Plaintiff may not