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Dillard v. Wayne County District Court

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 4, 2019

EDDIE L. DILLARD, Plaintiff,
v.
WAYNE COUNTY DISTRICT COURT, et al., Defendant.

          Honorable David M. Lawson

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS [13] AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS, SUA SPONTE, PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT [1] UNDER 28 U.S.C. §1915(E)

          DAVID R. GRAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         This case has been referred to the undersigned for management, hearing, and determination of all pretrial matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(A), and for any reports and recommendations on dispositive matters that may be necessary pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B). (Doc. #5).

         On April 3, 2019, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause to Plaintiff Eddie L. Dillard (“Dillard”) because he had not paid the necessary filing fee to commence an action in this Court, nor filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). (Doc. #7). After filing a Motion for settlement on May 7, 2019, (Doc. #11), Dillard filed a response to the Order to Show Cause on May 10, 2019. (Doc. #12). On May 14, 2019, Dillard filed an application to proceed IFP. (Doc. #13). The Court having reviewed Dillard's contentions regarding his inability to pay the filing fee in this case, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that his request to proceed without prepayment of fees (Doc. #13) is GRANTED. See 28 U.S.C. §1915(a); Gibson v. R.G. Smith Co., 915 F.2d 260, 262 (6th Cir. 1990).

         However, for the reasons discussed below, IT IS RECOMMENDED that Dillard's complaint (Doc. #1) be DISMISSED sua sponte pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e).

         II. REPORT

         A. Background

         This case presents Dillard's latest attempt to challenge state criminal proceedings against him which took place in 1996 and 1997. On January 9, 2014, Dillard filed a civil complaint in this court, No. 14-cv-10198, naming as defendants the Wayne County District and Circuit Courts, as well as three Judges of those courts: Irma J. Chenevert; Nancy Blount; and Terrance K. Boyle. (No. 14-10198, Doc. #1). In short, Dillard alleged that the judges who presided over his criminal case were “un-registered judicial officers, ” and that the entire criminal proceedings against him were therefore conducted without “legal authority and jurisdiction.” (Id.). Dillard's federal court civil action was assigned to the Honorable Arthur J. Tarnow, and on January 31, 2014, Judge Tarnow issued an “Opinion and Order Summarily Dismissing [Dillard's] Complaint” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). (Id., Doc. Doc. #6). Judge Tarnow found that Dillard was improperly attempting to use a federal court lawsuit to challenge his state court criminal proceedings (in violation of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994)), and that the defendants were not persons who could be sued, or who were otherwise immune from suit . (Id.).

         On February 25, 2019, Dillard commenced the instant civil action in this court, purportedly pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, again naming as defendants the Wayne County District and Circuit Courts, and Judges Irma J. Chenevert, Nancy Blount, and Terrance K. Boyle. (Doc. #1). While Dillard's allegations are largely nonsensical, the clear intent of his instant complaint is to again challenge his state criminal proceedings, though this time he also alleges that “the City of Detroit[1]is liable under Monell v Department of Social Services [sic]” and for “violating [his] Fourteenth Amendment rights by enforcing Heck v Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 [sic].” (Id. at 1). Dillard's complaint is replete with legal jargon, but lacks any actionable allegation of wrongdoing by any of the five-named defendants. Instead, Dillard asserts generally, without articulating any facts of the case, that the “relationship between the City of Detroit” and the three judges “is sufficiently intertwined to create a triable issue of fact” and that “the specifics of the encounter at issue also provide evidence of substantial cooperation.” (Id. at 4). In short, Dillard's instant complaint is a complete re-hash of the case that Judge Tarnow dismissed some five years ago.

         B. Discussion

         Once a complaint is filed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. §1915(a), the court must test its sufficiency under §1915(e). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B), a court “shall dismiss” a case at any time if it: “(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.”

         The Court is required to construe Dillard's pro se complaint liberally and hold his complaint to a less stringent standard than one drafted by an attorney. See Spotts v. United States, 429 F.3d 248, 250 (6th Cir. 2005). Even applying this liberal standard, however, the Court concludes that Dillard's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and seeks monetary relief against defendants who are immune, and, thus, should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B).

         1. ...


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