Amponsah v. Federal Court of United States et al
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING 4 MOTION to Set Aside 1 Complaint filed by Mabel Amponsah,GRANTING 2 Application to Proceed Without Prepaying Fees or Costs filed by Mabel Amponsah AND DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT. Signed by District Judge Paul D. Borman. (DTof)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 17-13643
Paul D. Borman
United States District Judge
FEDERAL COURT OF THE
UNITED STATES, et al.,
Elizabeth A. Stafford
United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER:
(1) GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN
DISTRICT COURT WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS;
(2) GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO SET ASIDE
(3) SUMMARILY DISMISSING PLAINTIFF’S AMENDED COMPLAINT
PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
Now before the Court is Plaintiff Mabel Amponsah’s Application to Proceed
in District Court without Prepaying Fees or Costs, as well as Plaintiff’s Motion to
Set Aside Complaint. For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Plaintiff’s
Application to Proceed in District Court without Prepaying Fees or Costs, and will
also grant Plaintiff’s Motion to Set Aside Complaint, but will dismiss Plaintiff’s
Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) because it fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
Plaintiff, who proceeds in this matter pro se, filed the Application to Proceed
in District Court without Prepaying Fees or Costs (ECF No. 2), along with the initial
Complaint in this matter (ECF No. 1), on November 8, 2017. A court may allow
commencement of a civil action without the prepayment of fees or costs if the
applicant submits an affidavit demonstrating that he or she is “unable to pay such
fees or give security therefor.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). In this case, Plaintiff has
supplied an affidavit regarding her financial obligations and income. (ECF No. 2.)
Based on this information, the Court will grant Plaintiff’s Application to Proceed in
District Court without Prepaying Fees or Costs.
On November 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Set Aside Complaint. (ECF
No. 4.) In that Motion, Plaintiff appears to request that this Court set aside the initial
Complaint in favor of an Amended Complaint that was filed on the same day as the
Motion. (ECF No. 5, Am. Compl.) Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) provides
that a court should freely grant a party leave to amend a pleading “when justice so
requires.” On the basis of that Rule, and construing Plaintiff’s Motion to Set Aside
Complaint as a motion for leave to amend the initial Complaint, the Court will grant
Plaintiff’s Motion to Set Aside Complaint as well.
At the same time, this Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed without
prepayment of fees if the complaint “is frivolous or malicious,” if it “fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted,” or if it “seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). To avoid
dismissal for failure to state a claim, 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) (internal citations and quotation marks
omitted). “[A] plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment] to
relief’ requires more than labels and conclusions . . . . Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . .” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
The Court is aware that a pro se litigant’s complaint must be liberally
construed and held to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); see also Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). Still, the plaintiff must provide more than just
“bare assertions of legal conclusions.” Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 577 (6th Cir.
2008) (quoting Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th
Liberally construed, the Amended Complaint asserts claims under the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
to the United States Constitution, as well as common-law tort claims including
breach of contract and gross negligence. The action is brought against two Michigan
state-court judges: Judge Joseph Toia of the Macomb County Circuit Court, and
Chief Judge Carrie Lynn Fuca of the 41B District Court.1 Plaintiff’s factual
allegations regarding Judge Toia appear to be that he wrongfully dismissed either or
both of two lawsuits filed by Plaintiff over which he presided. (See Am. Compl. at
Pg ID 42-43.) Plaintiff’s factual allegations regarding Chief Judge Fuca are less
clear, but they seem to concern Chief Judge Fuca’s filing an affidavit in one of
Plaintiff’s two lawsuits before Judge Toia. In that action, Plaintiff asserted (inter
alia) claims for breach of contract and civil rights violations against one or more
staff members of the 41B District Court for alleged misconduct involving the
photocopying of Plaintiff’s records at Plaintiff’s request; in the affidavit, Chief Judge
Fuca averred that Plaintiff had neither contracted with nor worked for the 41B
District Court or any of its employees.2 (See id. at Pg ID 44, 94-95.) Plaintiff seeks
$4.9 million in compensatory damages, as well as various forms of injunctive relief
The action is also brought against “Federal Court of United States.” This
presumably refers to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Michigan, but Plaintiff has not identified any acts, omissions, or other conduct on
the part of this Court, or any agents or employees of this Court, in the Amended
Complaint. This Court will therefore interpret the Amended Complaint as being pled
against the two named individual defendants only.
Plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit in this District apparently based on the same
allegations on October 30, 2017, and that lawsuit was summarily dismissed as
frivolous on November 21, 2017. Amponsah v. 41B District Court (Staff Lydia), No.
17-13533, ECF No. 4 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 21, 2017) (Cleland, J.). As the court noted
in dismissing that case, two other lawsuits filed by Plaintiff this year in this District
have been summarily dismissed either as frivolous or for failure to state a claim. See
Amponsah v. Randall, No. 17-13531, ECF No. 5 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 13, 2017)
(Leitman, J.); Amponsah v. Trump, No. 17-11515, ECF No. 5 (E.D. Mich. May 31,
2017) (Battani, J.).
pertaining to law school administration and regulation of the legal profession. (See
id. at Pg ID 44-45.)
The Court must dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint for failure to state a
claim on which relief may be granted. However much Plaintiff may disagree with
Judge Toia’s rulings in her lawsuits or take issue with Chief Judge Fuca’s signing
an affidavit in connection with one of those lawsuits, Plaintiff has not alleged
conduct by either Defendant that is legally actionable under the Civil Rights Act of
1964 or the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, nor has she
alleged acts or omissions by either Defendant that constitute any of the state-law
torts that she alleges were committed.
For these reasons, the Court hereby GRANTS Plaintiff’s Application to
Proceed in District Court without Prepaying Fees or Costs (ECF No. 2), GRANTS
Plaintiff’s Motion to Set Aside Complaint (ECF No. 4), and DISMISSES Plaintiff’s
Amended Complaint (ECF No. 5) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Paul D. Borman
Paul D. Borman
United States District Judge
Dated: January 8, 2018
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that a copy of the foregoing order was served upon
each attorney or party of record herein by electronic means or first class U.S. mail
on January 8, 2018.
Deborah Tofil, Case Manager
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