Case No. 1:18-cv-620
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Plaintiff, a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, brings this pro se civil action against the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office, the Hamilton County Clerk of Court and Board of County Commissioners, the mayor of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Police Department, the Cincinnati City Solicitor, and others alleging violations of his constitutional rights. By separate Order, plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This matter is before the Court for a sua sponte review of plaintiff's complaint to determine whether the complaint, or any portion of it, should be dismissed because it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
In enacting the original in forma pauperis statute, Congress recognized that a "litigant whose filing fees and court costs are assumed by the public, unlike a paying litigant, lacks an economic incentive to refrain from filing frivolous, malicious, or repetitive lawsuits." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989)). To prevent such abusive litigation, Congress has authorized federal courts to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint if they are satisfied that the action is frivolous or malicious. Id.; see also 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). A complaint may be dismissed as frivolous when the plaintiff cannot make any claim with a rational or arguable basis in fact or law. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328-29 (1989); see also Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1198 (6th Cir. 1990). An action has no arguable legal basis when the defendant is immune from suit or when plaintiff claims a violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. An action has no arguable factual basis when the allegations are delusional or rise to the level of the irrational or "wholly incredible." Denton, 504 U.S. at 32; Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1199. The Court need not accept as true factual allegations that are "fantastic or delusional" in reviewing a complaint for frivolousness. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 471 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 328).
Congress also has authorized the sua sponte dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 (e)(2)(B)(ii). A complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff must be "liberally construed" and "held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). By the same token, however, the 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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Hill, 630 F.3d at 470-71 ("dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a claim" under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)).
"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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The Court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, but need not "accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). Although a complaint need not contain "detailed factual allegations," it must provide "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A pleading that offers "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders "naked assertion[s]" devoid of "further factual enhancement." Id. at 557. The complaint must "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (citations omitted).
Plaintiff's pro se complaint alleges that the defendants obstructed justice and violated his constitutional rights when they declined to file criminal charges against Dr. Mark Magner, who allegedly assaulted plaintiff in 2015. Plaintiff alleges that he was advised that the City Prosecutor would not be filing charges against Dr. Magner, and plaintiff alleges this decision was based on incomplete information. Plaintiff alleges he discovered a "fake warrant" and other documents indicating the City was going to prosecute Dr. Magner but then "abruptly stopped." (Doc. 1-1 at 9). Plaintiff seeks an order from this Court requiring the defendants to prosecute plaintiff's alleged assailant. Plaintiff also seeks an award of damages for his pain, suffering and mental distress.
Plaintiff's allegations are insufficient to state a claim with an arguable basis in law over which this federal Court has subject matter jurisdiction.
First, to the extent plaintiff may be invoking the diversity jurisdiction of the Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), the complaint reveals such jurisdiction is lacking. In order for diversity jurisdiction pursuant to § 1332(a) to lie, the citizenship of the plaintiff must be "diverse from the citizenship of each defendant" thereby ensuring "complete diversity." Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996) (citing State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Tashire, 386 U.S. 523,531 (1967)); see also Napletana v. Hillsdale College, 385 F.2d 871, 872 (6th Cir. 1967); Winningham v. North American Res. Corp., 809 F. Supp. 546, 551 (S.D. Ohio 1992). In this case, there is no complete diversity of citizenship as plaintiff and defendants are Ohio citizens. Therefore, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction on the basis of diversity of citizenship over any state law claims plaintiff may be alleging.
Second, the Court is without federal question jurisdiction over the complaint against defendants. District courts also have original federal question jurisdiction over cases "arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. In order to invoke the Court's federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, plaintiff must allege facts showing the cause of action involves an issue of federal law. See Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 63 (1987). The undersigned is unable to discern from the facts alleged in the complaint any federal statutory or constitutional provision that applies to give rise to an actionable claim for relief against these defendants.
Plaintiff does not have a constitutionally protected interest in the prosecution of others. Thus, the Court does not have the power to direct that criminal charges be filed against anyone. See Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973) (observing that "a private citizen lacks a judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or nonprosecution of another"). See also Johari v. Ohio State Univ., 166 F.3d 1214, 1998 WL 789388, at *1 (6th Cir. 1998) (unpublished) (plaintiff may not bring an action regarding the prosecution or non-prosecution of others). In addition, to the extent plaintiff brings this case pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242, he has no private right of action under these criminal statutes and lacks standing to bring such claims. Booth v. Henson, 290 F. App'x 919, 921 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing United States v. Oguaju, 76 F. App'x 579, 581 (6th Cir. 2003)).
IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED THAT:
1. Plaintiff's complaint be DISMISSED with prejudice.
2. The Court certify pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) that for the foregoing reasons an appeal of any Order adopting this Report and Recommendation would not be taken in good faith and therefore deny plaintiff leave to appeal in forma pauperis. Plaintiff remains free to apply to proceed in forma pauperis in the Court of Appeals. See Callihan v. Schneider, 178 F.3d 800, 803 (6th Cir. 1999), overruling in part Floyd v. United States Postal Serv., 105 F.3d 274, 277 (6th Cir. 1997). Date: 9/7/18
Karen L. Litkovitz
United States Magistrate Judge
Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), WITHIN 14 DAYS after being served with a copy of the recommended disposition, a party may serve and file specific written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations. This period may be extended further by the Court on timely motion for an extension. Such objections shall specify the portions of the Report objected to and shall be accompanied by a memorandum of law in support of the objections. If the Report and Recommendation is based in whole or in part upon matters occurring on the record at an oral hearing, the objecting party shall promptly arrange for the transcription of the record, or such portions of it as all parties may agree upon, or the Magistrate Judge deems sufficient, unless the assigned District Judge otherwise directs. A party may respond to another party's objections WITHIN 14 DAYS after being served with a copy thereof. Failure to make objections in accordance with this procedure may forfeit rights on appeal. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985); United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981).