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Olivares v. Michigan Workers' Compensation Agency

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

September 26, 2019

Joseph F. Olivares, Plaintiff,
v.
Michigan Workers' Compensation Agency, et al., Defendants.

          ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS [38 & 49]

          Arthur J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Joseph Olivares filed a pro se Complaint on July 26, 2018 [Dkt. #1]. In its August 29, 2018 Order [7], the Court granted Plaintiff’s request to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissed his complaint as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). Plaintiff appealed this decision, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed this Court’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings [15]. On May 21, 2019, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint [22] under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights.

         Factual and Procedural History

         The Court will adopt the Sixth Circuit’s recitation of the facts:

Olivares filed for workers’ compensation benefits, claiming that he sustained a work-related injury after falling from a ladder on May 5, 1998. In December 2000, a magistrate with the Michigan Bureau of Workers’ Disability Compensation (“Bureau”) found that Olivares “suffered an injury which arose out of and in the course of his employment, ” but that he was not entitled to wage-loss benefits beyond August 1, 1998 because he unreasonably refused favored work and “voluntarily removed himself from the work force.” Olivares subsequently filed an application for additional benefits. In 2005, a magistrate issued an order concluding that Olivares was entitled to additional benefits from September 1, 2003, until May 20, 2005, but that he was not entitled to any benefits beyond that date because he “was no longer suffering from the effects of the work injury which disabled him in the first place.” The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (“MCAC”) affirmed the Bureau’s decision.
Olivares has since filed “multiple applications, appeals, motions, and pleadings” with the Bureau and the MCAC in an effort to secure additional workers’ compensation benefits for his 1998 injury. As pertinent to this appeal, Olivares filed an application with the Bureau in December 2017, in which he alleged that he had recently discovered a hernia that was attributable to his 1998 work-related injury. Magistrate William Housefield dismissed the application after determining that Olivares’s hernia claim was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. MCAC Commissioners Gary Goolsby, Kevin L. Weise, and Jack F. Wheatley affirmed the Bureau’s dismissal of Olivares’s application.

Dkt. 7-2, pg. 1-2.

         This recitation does not mention Mr. Olivares’s previous state and federal suits, because Mr. Olivares did not mention them. Indeed, Mr. Olivares has filed at least four federal lawsuits before this one challenging the above-described decisions by the Bureau and the MCAC.

         On November 18, 2002, Mr. Olivares filed suit against Illinois National Insurance Company, AIG Claims Services, and Performance Contracting, Inc. alleging that he was not paid his lawfully-owed disability benefi t s f o ll o w i ng h i s 1 9 9 8 injury. Olivares v. Performance Contracting Group, et al., 2:02-cv-74585-NGE. On January 16, 2003, The district court sua sponte dismissed the action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), finding that the Rooker-Feldman precluded the collateral attack of adverse state court proceedings in Indiana and Michigan. Dkt. 4 (Edmunds, J.). On August 5, 2013, the Sixth Circuit affirmed this decision. Olivares v. Performance Contracting Group, et al., 76 F.App'x 603, 2003 WL 21805273 (6th Cir. 2003).

         On March 17, 2015, Mr. Olivares filed suit against the Michigan Worker’s Disability Compensation Agency (“MWDCA”) and individual defendants “Elsenheimer, Campbell, and Mark Long.” Olivares v. Michigan Worker’s Compensation Agency, et al., Case No. 15-cv-11004-AC-RSW, Dkt. 1. The district court dismissed his case as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), citing the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Michigan’s three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, and the complaint’s general unintelligibility. Olivares v. Michigan Worker’s Compensation Agency, 2015 WL 1530759 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 2, 2015) (Cohn, J.). On August 18, 2015, the Sixth Circuit denied Mr. Olivares the right to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis, finding the appeal “lack[ed] arguable basis in law.” Case No. 15-1439; Dkt. 9. After Mr. Olivares failed to pay the filing fee within the allotted time, his appeal was dismissed. Case No. 15-1439; Dkt. 10.

         On February 22, 2017, Mr. Olivares filed another federal lawsuit challenging decisions by the MWDCA and MCAC. This suit named several more defendants, including the Michigan Board of Magistrates, Robert Tjapkes, “Collette, ” and the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission. Olivares v. Michigan Compensation Agency et al, Case No. 2:17-cv-10594-AC-RSW. The district again dismissed the case as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Id., Dkt. 4 (Cohn, J.). Plaintiff did not appeal.

         On December 12, 2017, Mr. Olivares filed yet another complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan challenging the results of his Worker’s Compensation cases. This suit named several more defendants, including Christopher Ambrose, James Kent, and John Doe. See Olivares v. Michigan Worker’s Compensation Agency, et al., Case No. 2:17-cv-13994-AC-EAS. Judge Cohn again dismissed the case sua sponte as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).[1] He found that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine deprived the court of jurisdiction and that Michigan’s three-year statute of limitations for § 1983 claims otherwise barred Plaintiff’s claims. See Dkt. # 5; Olivares v. Michigan Compensation Agency, 2017 WL 8792723 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 27, 2017) (Cohn, J.). Mr. Olivares appealed, and his appeal was this time denied on the merits after he paid his filing fee. See Olivares v. Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency, et al, Case No. 18-1048 Dkt. 24 (6th Cir. Nov. 15, 2018). The Sixth Circuit held that the district court misapplied the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, which did not operate to deprive district courts of jurisdiction over state agency adjudications, but that the three-year statute of limitations barred Mr. Olivares’s cause of action. The decision was affirmed. Id. On April 14, 2019, the United States Supreme Court denied Mr. Olivares’s petition for a writ of certiorari. Olivares v. Michigan Worker’s Compensation Agency, 139 S.Ct. 1552 (2019).

         Mr. Olivares brought suit in this Court on July 26, 2018. [Dkt. 1]. On August 29, 2018, the Court dismissed his action as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). It denied his Motion for Reconsideration on November 15, 2018. [Dkt. 12]. Mr. Olivares appealed this Court’s ruling against him on November 26, 2018, 11 days after losing his prior appeal at the Sixth Circuit. [Dkt. 13]. This appeal was successful, and the Sixth Circuit vacated this Court’s judgment on April 16, 2019. See Olivares v. Michigan Worker’s Compensation Agency, et al., Case No. 18-2369, 2019 WL 2299250 (6th Cir. 2019). The Mandate [18] from the Sixth Circuit issued in this case on May 9, 2019. On May 16, 2019, the Court entered an Order [19] reopening the case. On May 21, 2019, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint [22].

         The State of Michigan Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss [38] on August 6, 2019. Plaintiff filed a Response [46] to that motion on August 14, 2019. On August 22, 2019 Performance Contracting Group filed an Answer and Brief [49] that asked for dismissal on res judicata and jurisdictional grounds. The Court construes that filing as a Motion to Dismiss and notes that Plaintiff filed a Response [58] on September 3, 2019. The Court now finds both motions suitable for determination without a hearing in accord with Local Rule 7.1(f)(2).

         Standards of Review

         Defendants moves to dismiss for lack of subject matters pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). A challenge to subject matter jurisdiction takes the form of a facial attack or a factual attack. Defendants make a factual attack, which means that it challenges “the factual existence of subject matter jurisdiction.” Cartwright v. Garner, 751 F.3d 752, 759-60 (6th Cir. 2014). Accordingly, Plaintiff’s factual allegations do not get the benefit of the presumption of truthfulness, and the Court may “weigh the ...


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