Bartlett v. Michigan, State of et al
OPINION; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 1:17-CV-565
STATE OF MICHIGAN, et al.,
HON. GORDON J. QUIST
Plaintiff, Angel Bartlett, proceeding pro se, has filed a complaint against the State of
Michigan, various state agencies and courts, the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital, and at least fifty
individuals. In addition, since filing her complaint, Plaintiff has filed at least once per week a socalled “Supplement to Complaint,” all of which appear to be unauthorized amendments adding new
parties and new allegations. (See, e.g., ECF Nos. 9-27.) Bartlett’s complaint is rambling, disjointed,
and, frankly, difficult to follow. It appears from Bartlett’s allegations that she suffers from mental
illness (or at least has been diagnosed with mental illness); has been placed in mental health
treatment; has received “medical procedures that were . . . life threatening”; and has been charged
with various crimes. (ECF No. 1 at PageID.2–3.) Plaintiff says that she “was wrongfully put in
mental health and put in so many places by Court order that it became a terrorist attack on
[Plaintiff].” (Id. at PageID.3.) She also claims that she was wrongfully accused of being a Muslim
and part of a terrorist system. (Id. at PageID.4.) Plaintiff claims that Borges “made up false drug
screens and called CPS [Child Protective Services] to get a case on me that was fake,” and that she
“called the police, FBI, CIA and further up and they gave me another drug screen and it was
NEGATIVE.” (Id. at Page ID.6.)
Plaintiff cites various state and federal statutes, many of which are criminal, but does not say
exactly who did what that might have resulted in a violation. For example, Plaintiff cites 18 U.S.C.
§ 1038 and states, “False information and Hoaxes they made up the entire case.” (Id. at PageID.7.)
Similarly, Plaintiff cites the federal anti-torture statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2340, and states, “I am certain
they have placed orders of homicide and suicide on me by manipulating my case to put me in a gang
system which I don’t belong when I have no criminal charges.” (Id.)
As far as relief, it is difficult to discern what Plaintiff seeks from this Court and against
whom she seeks it. The final paragraph of the complaint states:
The State of MI had jurisdiction of me illegally and held me since 2002 and that too
must be settled in court to allow me to be free from any State holds. I had signed a
piece of paper stating I was going to help my grandmother. This then put the State
at will to do what they wanted with me and that was real bad actions to keep me
down and keep me at Grandmother Shirley’s house for free.
(Id. at PageID.20.)
On June 23, 2017, the magistrate judge issued an order granting Plaintiff leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 4.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court is required to
dismiss any action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see also Benson v. O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014, 1016 (6th Cir.
1999) (holding that "§ 1915(e)(2) applies only to in forma pauperis proceedings"). The Court must
read a pro se plaintiff’s complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S. Ct.
594, 596 (1972), and accept her allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly
incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33, 112 S. Ct. 1728, 1733 (1992). The Court
concludes that Plaintiff’s complaint must be dismissed as required by § 1915(e)(2).
A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if “‘it fails to give the defendant
fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.’” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). While
a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff’s allegations must include more
than labels and conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949
(2009) (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.”). The court must determine whether the complaint contains “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “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.” Ashcroft, 129 S. Ct.
at 1949. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent to a “‘probability requirement,’ . . . it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Ashcroft, 129 S. Ct.
at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the
court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged – but it has
not ‘show[n]’ – that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft, 129 S. Ct. at 1950 (quoting FED. R.
CIV. P. 8(a)(2)).
Plaintiff fails to state a discernable claim. First, as noted, many of the statutes Plaintiff cites
are criminal statutes that do not provide a private right of action and may not be enforced by private
individuals. See Renkel v. United States, 456 F.3d 640, 644–45 (6th Cir. 2006) (noting that 18
U.S.C. §§ 2340 and 2340A “criminalize torture outside the United States; they do not provide civil
redress for torture within the United States,” and that a plaintiff must pursue such claims under
appropriate domestic law, such as the Eighth Amendment or the Federal Tort Claims Act); Benton
v. Kentucky-Jefferson Cnty. Attorney’s Office. No. 3:14CV-264-S, 2014 WL 3941571, at *2 (W.D.
Ky. Aug. 12, 2014) (noting that private citizens may not enforce the federal criminal code, including
18 U.S.C. § 1038). Second, although the Court has reviewed Plaintiff’s complaint in detail, the
Court finds no factual basis for a viable legal claim. Finally, the complaint is replete with references
to “people,” “they,” and “them,” but Plaintiff fails to identify any specific person who took an action
against her that allegedly violated her rights under the Constitution or a federal statute that provides
a private right of action. The Court notes that Plaintiff’s allegations in the instant case are similar
to those in a pro se lawsuit that Plaintiff filed in the Eastern District of Michigan. See Bartlett v.
Allegan Cnty. Courts, No. 15-13939 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 12, 2016). In that case, the court dismissed
Plaintiff’s complaint on screening because “[o]ther than a general desire to appeal, expunge, or
somehow wipe away some unspecified state court convictions, it is not clear what Plaintiff is
attempting to assert. She states no factual or legal basis on which this court could begin to find some
arguable basis for relief.” Id. at *2. The same is true here.
Finally, the Court notes that “[a] complaint may be dismissed sua sponte for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when the
allegations of a complaint are totally implausible, attenuated, unsubstantial, frivolous, devoid of
merit, or no longer open to discussion.” Clark v. United States, 74 F. App’x 561, 562 (6th Cir.
2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). For the reasons stated above, the Court also lacks subject
matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s complaint. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s complaint will be dismissed.
An Order consistent with this Opinion will be entered.
Dated: September 13, 2017
/s/ Gordon J. Quist
GORDON J. QUIST
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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