Page v. DTE Energy
OPINION AND ORDER Granting 19 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by District Judge Sean F. Cox. (JMcC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 17-10439
Honorable Sean F. Cox
OPINION & ORDER
Acting pro se, Plaintiff Farrand Page filed this action against Defendant DTE Energy,
asserting that this Court has federal-question jurisdiction over this matter. (See Docket Entry
No. 1 at Pg ID 26).1 Following the close of discovery, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss,
which Plaintiff responded to. The Court finds that oral argument would not aid the decisional
process. See Local Rule 7.1(f)(2), U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. The Court
therefore orders that the motion will be decided upon the briefs. For all of the reasons set forth
below, the Court shall DISMISS this action.
Acting pro se, Plaintiff Farrand Page filed this action against Defendant DTE Energy on
February 10, 2017. Plaintiff’s complaint contains the phrases “race discrimination,” “age
discrimination,” and “1983 violation.” (Docket Entry No. 1 at Pg ID 3). But the factual
allegations of the complaint all pertain to billing and service disputes that Plaintiff has had with
DTE and there are no factual allegations relating to race or age discrimination.
Plaintiff’s complaint further reflects that diversity jurisdiction does not exist. (Id.).
Pursuant to this Court’s March 20, 2017 Scheduling Order, the parties were required to
file witness lists on July 20, 2017. (D.E. No. 5). Defendant filed a timely witness list on July
18, 2017. Plaintiff has not filed a witness list and discovery has now closed.
On September 5, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss, asserting that Plaintiff’s
complaint fails to state a claim against it and that Plaintiff’s claim regarding disputes and service
issues he has had with DTE is barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel or res judicata.
Plaintiff filed a response to that motion on October 16, 2017. Plaintiff’s response does
not address the doctrine of collateral estoppel or respond to any of Defendant’s legal arguments.
Rather, the response states that Plaintiff has been attempting to hire an attorney to represent him
in this matter but has been unable to do so, and that various attorneys he has contacted have
stated that they would not represent Plaintiff due to his age. (Docket Entry No. 21).
Plaintiff’s Complaint Does Not State A Federal Claim Against Defendant.
Plaintiff’s Complaint uses the phrases “race discrimination,” “age discrimination,” and
references Section “1983 violation.” (Docket Entry No. 1 at Pg ID 3).
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss notes that Plaintiff’s complaint, however, fails to include
any factual allegations that would indicate that he has suffered race or age discrimination by
Defendant. (Def.’s Br. at 6).
Although the Court is mindful that pro se complaints must be liberally construed, the
Court agrees that even when so construed, Plaintiff’s complaint fails to state either a race
discrimination or age discrimination claim against DTE. And the complaint does not contain any
allegations as to how Defendant could be considered a “state actor” for purposing of maintaining
a § 1983 claim against Defendant. Thus, Plaintiff’s complaint fails to state a federal claim
against DTE and this Court lacks jurisdiction over this action.
It Also Appears That Plaintiff’s Actual Claim, A State-Law Claim Concerning
Billing Disputes With Defendant, Is Barred By The Doctrine Of Collateral Estoppel.
A review of Plaintiff’s complaint reveals that Plaintiff’s actual claim alleged is a state-
law claim concerning billing disputes with Defendant concerning a two-family residential
property that Plaintiff and his wife own on Hubbell Street in Detroit, Michigan.
Defendant’s pending Motion to Dismiss asserts that claim is barred by the doctrine of
collateral estoppel, as Plaintiff has raised these same disputes in two different actions before the
Michigan Public Service Commission. Defendant attached copies of decisions in those
proceedings and notes that Plaintiff’s claims were found to be without merit. The decisions
reflect that Plaintiff withdrew one of the complaints and that the other was decided on the merits,
addressing “a myriad of complaints regarding the provision of electric and gas service to his
residence.” Although the decision stated that Plaintiff could appeal (see Docket Entry No. 19 at
Pg ID 135), Defendant notes that Plaintiff did not appeal.
As such, it appears that the state-law claim that Plaintiff seeks to bring against Defendant
is barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel or res judicata.2
CONCLUSION & ORDER
For all of these reasons, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and this action is
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss also stresses that, in violation of this Court’s Scheduling
Order, Plaintiff did not file a witness list and discovery is now closed. Rule 41(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure provides that an action may be dismissed “[i]f the plaintiff fails to
prosecute or to comply with these rules or a court order.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(b). Accordingly,
dismissal of Plaintiff’s complaint would also be warranted for failure to prosecute and/or comply
with this Court’s scheduling order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: October 31, 2017
s/Sean F. Cox
Sean F. Cox
U. S. District Judge
I hereby certify that on October 31, 2017, the foregoing document was served on counsel of
record via electronic means and upon Farrand Page via First Class mail at the address below:
17168 Hubbell St.
Detroit, MI 48235
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