United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable Sean F. Cox, Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMONDATION TO GRANT DEFENDANTS'
MOTIONS TO DISMISS [16, 18, 20]
R. Grand, United States Magistrate Judge.
October 22, 2018, pro se Plaintiff Christopher
Bernard Robinson (“Robinson”), filed his
complaint against Defendants Pittsfield Charter Township,
Pittsfield Township Police Department, Washtenaw County
Prosecutor's Office, Stephan Andrews, Jim Maudlin, Henry
Fusik, Shawn Booth, Sean McCormick, Gordon Schick, Matthew
Harshberger, Karen Field, Nimish Ganatra, Eric Gutenberg
(Field, Ganatra, and Gutenberg collectively referred to as
the “Prosecutorial Defendants”), Judge Allan
Truesdell, and Judge Joseph Burke (Truesdell and Burke
together referred to as the “Judicial
Defendants”) (all defendants collectively referred to
as “Defendants”), alleging multiple violations of
his constitutional rights and seeking five million dollars in
damages. (Doc. #1). On December 14, 2018, this case was
referred to the undersigned for all pretrial purposes
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). (Doc. #12).
before the Court are three Motions to Dismiss: the first
filed by the Prosecutorial Defendants and Judge Truesdell
filed on January 8, 2019, the second filed by Judge Burke on
January 14, 2019, and the third filed by Defendants
Pittsfield Township, the Pittsfield Township Police
Department, Andrews, Maudlin, Booth, Schick, and Harshberger
on January 16, 2019. (Docs. #16, #18, and #20, respectively).
On March 1, 2019, Robinson filed a response to these motions.
(Doc. #25). Defendants filed timely replies. (Docs. #26, #27,
#28). Having reviewed the pleadings and other papers on file,
the Court finds that the facts and legal issues are
adequately presented in the parties' briefs and on the
record, and it declines to order a hearing at this time.
reasons set forth below, IT IS RECOMMENDED
that Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (Docs. #16,
#18, #20) be GRANTED, and
Robinson's case be dismissed with prejudice.
The Allegations in Robinson's Complaint
who is currently released on parole, sues Defendants arising
out of an incident that occurred in April 2013. (Doc. #1).
Although portions of Robinson's complaint are difficult
to comprehend, he alleges approximately nineteen violations
of his rights, including violations of the First, Fourth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States
Constitution, as well as multiple federal statutory
violations, including 42 U.S.C. §§1982, 1983, 1985,
and 1986. (Doc. #1 at 4-7). He seeks five million dollars in
relief. (Id. at 11). He sets forth his factual
allegations in his Complaint. (Id. at 12-36).
Defendants have provided Statements of Material Facts Not in
Dispute, which are helpful in understanding Robinson's
claims. (Docs. #17, #19, #21).
following facts underlie Robinson's complaint
(collectively referred to as the “April 2013
Incident”). While on parole on April 23, 2013, Robinson
and his parole officers engaged in a verbal confrontation at
his parole officer's office, which led to the Pittsfield
Township Police responding. (Doc. #1 at 12-13). Defendant
Andrews took Robinson to the floor while handcuffed, which
gave Robinson a cut on his chin requiring stitches.
(Id. at 13-14.) After this incident, Robinson was
charged with resisting arrest and obstructing a police
officer under Michigan law. (Doc. #17 at 2). Defendant Judge
Burke found probable cause for the charge, and bound Robinson
over to the circuit court. (Doc. #19 at 3). Robinson
represented himself at the bench trial, was convicted and
sentenced. (Doc. #17 at 3). Robinson appealed his conviction
to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which vacated
Robinson's conviction on the basis that he had not
properly, knowingly, and voluntarily waived his right to an
attorney. (Doc. #16-3). Robinson was tried again on remand
and convicted on June 23, 2016. (Doc. #17 at 4). Robinson did
not appeal that conviction. (Doc. #16-6).
filed his instant complaint on October 22, 2018. (Doc. #1).
As noted, it is somewhat difficult to comprehend the specific
claims Robinson is asserting, but he appears to be
challenging the actions of the police officers, prosecutors,
and judges involved in the April 2013 Incident and his prior
related criminal case, alleging, for instance:
“Defendant Andrews Fabricated a Police Report and
Criminal  Charges to cover up [the alleged assault against
Robinson”; Defendant Judge Truesdell “conspired
among defendants by Falsifying inter office court
documents”; “Defendant Matthew E. Hershberger
Public Safety Director made False Statements to defendant
Gordon  Schick, Deputy Chief of Police”;
“Plaintiff contends he had not broken any laws of this
state and that Defendants - Police Officers . . . never had
probable Cause to be at the said location outside of their
jurisdiction”; “Andrews (Police Officer),
Gutenberg (Prosecutor), and Judge Burke; Conspired to
Willfully violate Plaintiff's Civil Rights”;
“Defendant Andrews throughout his [preliminary exam]
testimony committed perjury . . . [and] defendant prosecutor
Eric M.  Gutenberg coerced defendant Andrews' false
testimony”; and “Defendant Judge Burke
intentionally made false statements to bind Plaintiff over
for Trial.” (Doc. #1 at ¶ 41-42, 50, 93, 115-16,
135, 138, 142-43, 157). Robinson sums up his claims as
essentially a challenge to the very fact of his conviction:
“The Justice System in this instance failed, and as a
result, [Robinson] suffered a Huge Injustice in this
conviction with a loss of Freedom for 5 and a half
years.” (Id. at 15). But this is far from
Robinson's first attempt to challenge the conduct of
those involved in the April 2013 Incident and Robinson's
conviction that followed. See Robinson v. Booth, et
al., No. 14-10201 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 13, 2014) (Steeh, J.)
(dismissing without prejudice to allow Robinson to reassert
his claims if his conviction or sentence were later
invalidated as to Defendants Booth and Andrews, the Judicial
Defendants, Defendants Gutenberg and Fields, and Defendant
Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office); Robinson v.
Andrews, et al., No. 14-11987 (E.D. Mich. May 19, 2014)
(Parker, J.) (dismissing with prejudice as to Defendants
Andrews, Booth, Maudlin and the Pittsfield Township, and the
Pittsfield Township Police Department); Robinson v.
Gutenberg, et al., No. 15-10481 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 5,
2015) (Cohn, J.) (dismissing with prejudice as to the
Prosecutorial Defendants and the Judicial Defendants);
Robinson v. Field, et al., No. 15-12821 (E.D. Mich.
Aug. 5, 2015) (Cox, J.) (dismissing without prejudice as to
Defendant Field and the Judicial Defendants after Robinson
voluntarily dismissed the case); Robinson v. Field, et.
al, No. 16-21244 (E.D. Mich. June 10, 2016) (Cox, J.)
(dismissing without prejudice as to the Judicial Defendants,
Prosecutorial Defendants, Pittsfield Township, and defendants
Andrews, Booth, McCormick, and Fusik after Robinson
voluntarily dismissed the case); Robinson v. Field, et.
al, No. 16-10207 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 19, 2016) (Steeh, J.)
(dismissing as frivolous as to the Prosecutorial Defendants
and Judicial Defendants); Robinson v. Schuette, No.
16-13632 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 12, 2016) (Cox, J.) (dismissing
with prejudice as to all Defendants); Robinson v.
Andrews, et al., No. 17-11557 (E.D. Mich. May 16, 2017)
(Ludington, J.) (dismissing without prejudice as to all
Defendants after finding that Robinson is prevented from
proceeding in forma pauperis under the so-called
“three strikes” rule).
now move to dismiss Robinson's complaint, arguing that he
has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
The reasons for granting Defendants' motions to dismiss
have already been aptly and abundantly stated in the previous
actions, but will be addressed for clarity as set forth
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests a complaint's legal sufficiency. Under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint must
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
“To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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). The plausibility
standard “does not impose a probability requirement at
the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to raise
a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence
of illegal [conduct].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556. Put another way, the complaint's allegations
“must do more than create speculation or suspicion of a
legally cognizable cause of action; they must show
entitlement to relief.” League of United
Latin Am. Citizens v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th
Cir. 2007) (emphasis in original) (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555-56).
deciding whether a plaintiff has set forth a
“plausible” claim, a reviewing court must accept
the factual allegations in the complaint as true. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). This tenet,
however, “is inapplicable to legal conclusions.
Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action,
supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice” to prevent a complaint from being dismissed on
grounds that it fails to sufficiently comport with basic
pleading requirements. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;
see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Howard v.
City of Girard, Ohio, 346 Fed.Appx. 49, 51 (6th Cir.
2009). Furthermore, a court is not required to “create
a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his
pleading[.]” Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins.
Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). Ultimately,
“[d]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim for relief will … be a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law
or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989); see also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32 (1992). “A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law
or fact if it ... is based on legal theories that are
indisputably meritless.” Brown v. Bargery, 207
F.3d 863, 866 (6th Cir. 2000) (citing Neitzke, 490
U.S. at 327- 28). While a self-represented litigant's
complaint is held to a “less stringent standard”
than those drafted by attorneys, Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), it must still plead facts