Doremus v. Toledo Police Department et al
Memorandum Opinion and Order granting 2 Plaintiff's Motion to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissing 1 Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(d). The Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. Judge Jack Zouhary on 10/8/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Order dated 5/14/2014)(D,L)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Stanley B. Doremus,
Case No. 3:14 CV 1083
-vsJUDGE JACK ZOUHARY
Toledo Police Department, et al.,
Pro se Plaintiff Stanley Doremus filed this action against the Toledo Police Department, the
Lucas County Sheriff, the Toledo Municipal Court, and the Toledo Municipal Court Prosecutors and
Employees. Plaintiff’s pleading is unintelligible (Doc. 1). It appears he may be attempting to appeal
a judgment from the Ohio courts; however, he does not provide any information about these cases,
nor does he specify the relief he seeks. Of note, Plaintiff is a frequent filer in this Court and other
local courts. Earlier this year, Plaintiff’s behavior became so disruptive that this Court banned him
from setting foot on Courthouse property without prior Court approval. In re: Stanley Blane
Doremus, Order, filed May 14, 2014 (attached).
Plaintiff did not submit a document which can be determined with certainty to be his
Complaint. He submits two pages with this Court’s address. Those pages contain the case numbers
from the Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals and the Toledo Municipal Court. He captions those
documents as “Motion(s)/Action(s): Reconsideration Request, Notice of Appeal, Discovery
Blocked, Fraud, Complaint, et al.” (Doc. 1 at 1). He refers to himself as the “defendant” but lists
himself as “plaintiff.” In the case caption of both pages, he lists claims against an unnamed court
employee for inciting a riot, lying to the sheriff, defamation, slander, and libel. He lists causes of
action against an unnamed sheriff for felonious intimidation, retaliation, felonious assault, and false
arrest. He attaches twenty-two pages of similar documents addressed to the Ohio Sixth District
Court of Appeals and the Toledo Municipal Court. He does not allege facts and does not seek relief
from this Court.
STANDARD FOR DISMISSAL
Although pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365
(1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the district court is required to
dismiss an in forma pauperis action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if it fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319
(1989); Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th Cir. 1990); Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d
194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). An action has no arguable basis in law when a defendant is immune from
suit or when a 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 v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992);
Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1199.
When determining whether Plaintiff states a claim upon which relief can be granted, this
Court must construe the Complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, accept all factual
allegations as true, and determine whether this Complaint contains “enough fact to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Plaintiff’s
obligation to provide the grounds for relief “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. Although a complaint
need not contain detailed factual allegations, its “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the Complaint are
To the extent Plaintiff filed this action as an appeal of a state court judgment, his case must
be dismissed. Federal district courts do not have jurisdiction to overturn state court decisions, even
if the request to reverse the state court judgment is based on an allegation suggesting the state
court’s action was unconstitutional. Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280,
292 (2005). Federal appellate review of state court judgments can only occur in the U.S. Supreme
Court, by appeal or by writ of certiorari. Id. Under this principle, generally referred to as the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, a party losing his case in state court is barred from seeking what in
substance would be appellate review of the state judgment in a federal district court based on the
party’s claim that the state judgment itself violates his or her federal rights. Berry v. Schmitt, 688
F.3d 290, 298–99 (6th Cir. 2012).
The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is based on two U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting
28 U.S.C. § 1257(a). See Dist. of Columbia Ct. of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker
v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923). This statute was enacted to prevent “end-runs around
state court judgments” by requiring litigants seeking review of that judgment to file a writ of
certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. Kovacic v. Cuyahoga County Dep’t of Children & Family
Servs, 606 F.3d 301, 308 (6th Cir. 2010). The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is based on the negative
inference that, if appellate court review of state judgments is vested in the U.S. Supreme Court, then
such review may not occur in the lower federal courts. See Exxon Mobil Corp., 544 U.S. at 283–84;
Kovacic, 606 F.3d at 308–11; Lawrence v. Welch, 531 F.3d 364, 369 (6th Cir. 2008).
This doctrine has narrow application. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies only where a
party losing his or her case in state court initiates an action in federal district court complaining of
injury caused by a state court judgment itself, and seeks review and rejection of that judgment.
Berry, 688 F.3d at 298–99; In re Cook, 551 F.3d 542, 548 (6th Cir. 2009). To determine whether
Rooker–Feldman bars a claim, courts must look to the source of the injury a plaintiff alleges in the
complaint. McCormick v. Braverman, 451 F.3d 382, 393 (6th Cir. 2006); see Berry, 688 F.3d at
299; Kovacic, 606 F.3d at 310. If the source of a plaintiff’s injury is the state-court judgment itself,
then the Rooker–Feldman doctrine bars the federal claim. McCormick, 451 F.3d at 393. If there is
some other source of injury, such as a third party’s actions, then a plaintiff asserts an independent
claim. Id.; see Lawrence, 531 F.3d at 368–69. In conducting this inquiry, courts also consider a
plaintiff’s requested relief. Evans v. Cordray, 2011 WL 2149547, at *1 (6th Cir. 2011).
It is difficult in this case to determine the source of Plaintiff’s alleged injury. He titles his
documents as appeals and includes the case numbers from the Toledo Municipal Court and the Ohio
Sixth District Court of Appeals. He also includes in his case caption what appear to be civil claims.
To the extent Plaintiff is asking for appellate review of a state court decision, this Court is without
jurisdiction to grant his request.
To the extent Plaintiff is attempting to assert the civil claims listed in his case caption, he
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff does not allege any facts in his
pleading. A complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material
elements of some viable legal theory to satisfy federal notice pleading requirements. See Schied v.
Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 1988). The complaint must give
defendants fair notice of what plaintiff’s claims are and the grounds upon which each of those claims
rests. Bassett v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, 528 F.3d 426, 437 (6th Cir. 2008). Plaintiff has
failed to provide such basic notice in his Complaint. And, a complaint unsupported by facts and
based solely on legal conclusions does not meet the basic pleading standards. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Plaintiff’s Complaint likewise fails to allege sufficient facts forming the basis
of a legal claim.
This Court finds Plaintiff’s wholly meritless Complaint to be yet another effort to harass this
Court and abuse judicial process and resources. Continued filings of this nature from Plaintiff will
no longer be tolerated and will result in this Court banning him from making future filings without
prior Court approval.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2) is granted, and his
Complaint (Doc. 1) is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The Court certifies, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/ Jack Zouhary
U. S. DISTRICT JUDGE
October 8, 2014
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