United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Anthony P. Patti Mag. Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER CONSTRUING THE PLEADING AS A BIVENS
ACTION AND DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT
E. LEVY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
17, 2017, Michael Charles Pilot (“Pilot”), a
private citizen from Warren, Michigan, filed a pro
se pleading in the United States District Court for the
District of Columbia. He labeled his pleading an application
for the writ of habeas corpus, but he also requested
declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. And even though the filing fee for a habeas
petition is $5.00, Pilot paid the $400.00 filing fee for a
civil complaint. Pilot named the following parties as
defendants or respondents: United States District Judge Mark
A. Goldsmith; the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Michigan; Donald J. Trump; United States
Attorney General Jeff Sessions; United States Attorney
Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia; and United
States Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall.
23, 2017, United States District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
of the District of Columbia denied the habeas petition
because Pilot had not satisfied the custody requirement for
obtaining habeas relief. Judge Kollar-Kotelly then
transferred the remainder of the case to this District. On
June 12, 2017, the case was received in this Court and
treated by the Clerk's Office as a habeas petition.
noted in the previous paragraph, Judge Kollar-Kotelly
dismissed the habeas portion of Pilot's pleading, and
because all the individuals being sued here are federal
officials, the Court construes Pilot's pleading as a
civil rights complaint under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named
Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388
(1971). Bivens “is the ‘federal analog
to suits brought against state officials under Rev. Stat.
§ 1979, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 675-76 (2009) (quoting Hartman
v. Moore, 547 U.S. 250, 254 n.2 (2006)). The same legal
principles apply to cases brought under Bivens and
under § 1983,
except for the requirement of federal action under
Bivens and state action under § 1983. A
plaintiff must prove two elements to prevail on either type
of claim: (1) that he or she was deprived of a right secured
by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2)
that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under
color of law. Bivens, 403 U.S. at 392, 91 S.Ct.
1999; Marcilis v. Twp. of Redford, 693 F.3d 589, 595
(6th Cir. 2012); Redding v. St. Eward, 241 F.3d 530,
532 (6th Cir. 2001).
Robertson v. Lucas, 753 F.3d 606, 614 (6th Cir.
complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations,
” the “[f]actual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal and end
citations and footnote omitted). In other words, “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting 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.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556).
Judge Goldsmith's Rulings
basis for Pilot's complaint is Judge Goldsmith's
rulings in two prior cases that Pilot filed. See
Compl., Exs. A-H. In the first case, Pilot attempted to
remove a case from state court to federal court. The state
court case was an action brought by the City of Hazel Park,
Michigan against Pilot for an alleged violation of a
municipal ordinance. Judge Goldsmith remanded the case to the
state court because Pilot had failed to establish that the
federal district court had subject-matter jurisdiction over
the matter. See 43rd Judicial District Court, et al. v.
Michael C. Pilot, No. 16-cv-13682 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 12,
2017). Pilot appealed Judge Goldsmith's ruling, but the
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
dismissed the appeal because a remand order based on lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction is immune from review. See
43rd District Court for the State of Michigan, et al. v.
Pilot, No. 17-1164 (6th Cir. Mar. 21, 2017).
second case, Pilot filed what appeared to be a civil
complaint as a habeas corpus petition. Judge Goldsmith
initially directed the Clerk's Office to change the
nature of the suit to a civil rights action and to change the
parties' designations because Pilot was not in custody.
See Pilot v. 43rd Judicial District Court, et al.,
No. 16-cv-14382 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 13, 2017). Judge Goldsmith
subsequently ordered Pilot to pay the filing fee for his
complaint or to submit an application to proceed in forma
pauperis. Pilot then paid the ...