United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
[DOC. # 15]
Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge.
Doe (“Doe”) brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Arseniy Bakhsehtsyan
(“Bakhsehtsyan”). Doe alleges that Bakhsehtsyan
stalked and threatened her. She reported his behavior to the
police and to the University of Michigan
(“University”), where they were both students.
Bakhsehtsyan faces criminal charges. The University found by
a preponderance of the evidence that Bakhsehtsyan stalked
Doe. Additionally, Doe obtained a Personal Protective Order
(“PPO”) against Bakhsehtsyan.
complaint (“Complaint”) Doe alleges that in
retaliation, Bakhsehtsyan: 1) filed a civil suit against her
for, inter alia, defamation; 2) filed a motion to
dissolve the PPO; and 3) sued the University. Doe alleges
that by bringing these retaliatory suits, Bakhsehtsyan
violated her right to free speech under the First Amendment,
and her right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Specifically, Doe claims that Bakhsehtsyan has
“utilized the Michigan courts to act under color of
law” in an effort to chill her speech and invade her
privacy. [Complaint, Par. 47, 52].
filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Oral argument was scheduled for
and heard on November 17, 2017. Counsel for Bakhsehtsyan
failed to appear.
Doe fails to establish a factual basis that Bakhsehtsyan was
transformed into a state actor and acting under color of law
for purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when he employed his
“litigation abuse and strategic lawsuits, ”
Bakhsehtsyan's Motion to Dismiss is
Past Relationship Between Parties
Bakhsehtsyan were students at the University's Ross
School of Business. The two became romantically involved.
Between August 2015 and July 2016, Doe and Bakhsehtsyan
traveled together and spent significant time together.
to Doe, their relationship was “tested” during
this period. After taking a trip to Lake Tahoe in July 2016,
Doe decided that their relationship could not be reconciled,
partially because Bakhsehtsyan threatened that he would end
her career and ruin her reputation if she broke up with him.
In mid-July 2016, Doe tried to end the relationship, sending
Bakhsehtsyan over a dozen messages asking him not to contact
her again. Doe then blocked Bakhsehtsyan from her phone.
[Complaint, Par. 8-11].
alleges that her requests did not deter Bakhsehtsyan. He flew
to Portland and showed up unannounced at her apartment,
although she had asked him not to. Over the next month,
Bakhsehtsyan sent messages over various internet
applications, demanding to see Doe. Bakhsehtsyan did this
even though Doe had blocked his calls; and she tried to block
the various assumed names he used in attempts to contact her.
Doe sent Bakhsehtsyan a final email saying if he did not stop
messaging her, she would seek legal action against him.
Bakhsehtsyan still sent emails to Doe threatening to end her
career if she did not talk to him. [Complaint, Par. 11-13].
allegedly began receiving sexually vulgar and threatening
text messages from unknown numbers. The texts indicated that
the sender knew where Doe was. The sender also mentioned
Doe's sexual behavior, called her degrading names, and
threatened to “kick her ass” or “break her
fingers one by one.” Doe received these messages for
months. She could not be sure they came from Bakhsehtsyan,
but given the timing, Doe suspected that he might be
involved. She discussed the matter with friends and
relatives, who believed Bakhsehtsyan was the source of the
messages, and advised her to do what she needed to do to stay
safe. Doe also says that over several months, she received a
constant barrage of calls from unknown numbers, sometimes
coming in batches of 100 per hour. [Complaint, Par. 14-16].
when Doe returned to campus in Fall 2016 to start her second
year, Bakhsehtsyan repeatedly arrived at the inside door of
the apartment where Doe lived alone. To get to the inside
door, Bakhsehtsyan waited by the locked outside doors for
someone to enter or exit. Doe did not answer her door when
Bakhsehtsyan arrived in this fashion. [Complaint, Par. 17].
History Of Doe's Legal Action Against
September 1, 2016, Doe reported Bakhsehtsyan's behavior
to the University. After receiving witness accounts, and
reviewing texts messages between the parties, the
University's Office of Institutional Equity issued a
report. This report said Doe alleged that between May and
September 2016, Bakhsehtsyan engaged in harassing and
unwanted contact constituting stalking behavior, including
texts, emails, phone calls, social media messages, and in
person contact. The report concluded by a preponderance of
the evidence, that Bakhsehtsyan had stalked Doe. Bakhsehtsyan
appealed the decision. Judge Barbara S. Jones, United States
District Judge for the Southern District of New York,
reviewed and returned the report with no changes.
also filed a police report regarding Bakhsehtsyan's
stalking behavior. This sparked a criminal investigation. Doe
shared the text messages she received with detectives at the
Ann Arbor Police Department. The investigation led a
detective to file a criminal complaint against Bakhsehtsyan .
He was arraigned on March 9, 2017 on several counts,
including Aggravated Stalking, and Malicious Use of
Telecommunications Services. Doe testified during
Bakhsehtsyan's preliminary hearing. Bakhsehtsyan was
bound over to face felony charges in the Washtenaw County
Circuit Court. Trial is scheduled to begin December 11, 2017.
also obtained an ex parte PPO against Bakhsehtsyan
on April 21, 2017.
History Of Bakhsehtsyan's Legal Action Against
March 7, 2017, Bakhsehtsyan filed a case against Doe for
Defamation, False Light, Intentional Infliction of Emotional
Distress, and Intentional Interference with Business
Relations, in Washtenaw County Circuit Court. According to
Doe, Bakhsehtsyan filed this suit because of her allegations
against him. Doe alleges that after Bakhsehtsyan filed suit,
he immediately sought private information about Doe using the
state court discovery process. Specifically, Bakhsehtsyan
subpoenaed the University for Doe's grades. Doe filed a
protective order in an attempt to quash the subpoena. The
court denied it and ordered the University to comply with
Bakhsehtsyan's request. Doe alleges that Bakhsehtsyan
seeks to depose her, and declined to handle discovery through
also sued the University on May 16, 2017 in the Michigan
Court of Claims. His claims against the University rise out
of its findings that Bakhsehtsyan stalked Doe. Bakhsehtsyan
alleges the University violated Title IX of the Education
Amendments Act and his due process rights. Doe alleges that
this suit is a continuation of Bakhsehtsyan's
multi-pronged strategy to retaliate against her for seeking
Bakhsehtsyan filed a motion to dissolve Doe's PPO on June
7, 2017. The PPO rules afforded Bakhsehtsyan a hearing, and
Doe traveled across the country to be questioned by
Bakhsehtsyan's attorney. Bakhsehtsyan watched.
filed her two-count Complaint on July 7, 2017, claiming a
violation of her First Amendment rights, and a violation of
her Fourteenth Amendment Rights, both pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
broad strokes, Doe describes how litigation abuses and
strategic lawsuits allow others to use the courts to chill
free speech and invade privacy. According to Doe, when
victims obtain PPOs, stalkers resort to lawsuits to continue
harassing and abusing their victims. Specifically, Doe
alleges that if Bakhsehtsyan is allowed to continue his
litigation “war” against her, future stalking
victims would be deterred from reporting stalking, an already
underreported crime. She claims that her case is one of an
increasing number of strategic lawsuits which seek to target
victims who report stalking and domestic ...