Stephens v. Dickinson et al
Memorandum Opinion and Order granting Plaintiff's Motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. # 2 ). Plaintiff's complaint fails to state any plausible federal civil rights claim and is dismissed against all of the defendants. The Court further certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. Judge John R. Adams on 1/25/17. (K,C)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
JOHNSON STEPHENS, JR.,
MIKE DEWINE, et al.,
CASE NO. 5:16 CV 2162
JUDGE JOHN R. ADAMS
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
Along with a motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. No. 2), pro se plaintiff Johnson
Stephens, Jr., has filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Ohio Attorney
General Mike DeWine, Summit County Magistrate Judge Matthew Dickson, and Summit County
Judge Elinor Stormer. The plaintiff alleges the defendants violated his federal civil rights and caused
him to suffer damages when a civil protection order sought by Ashley Lawson was issued against
him in Summit County in 2012.
The plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted; therefore, the action is
now before the Court for initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e). That statute requires
federal district courts to screen all in forma pauperis actions and dismiss before service any such
action the Court determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e)(2)(B); Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).
The Court finds the plaintiff’s action must be dismissed pursuant to §1915(e)(2)(B). First,
the plaintiff’s §1983 claims are barred by the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations
applicable to civil rights claims under §1983 is two years. Browning v. Pendleton, 869 F.2d 989 (6th
Cir. 1989). It has clearly been more than two years since the events of which the plaintiff complains
occurred. The plaintiff alleges the civil protection order against him was issued in 2012.
Second, all of the defendants are immune from the plaintiff’s suit. The only acts the plaintiff
alleges against Magistrate Judge Dickson and Judge Stormer are acts taken in their judicial capacities
in adjudicating the civil protection order. Judges are absolutely immune from suit for their judicial
acts. See Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 (1967); Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978); Dixon v.
Clem, 492 F.3d 665, 674 (6th Cir. 2007) (judicial immunity “is shorthand for the doctrine of absolute
immunity that operates to protect judges and quasi-judicial officers alike from suit in both their
official and individual capacities”).
Since the plaintiff has not set forth allegations of specific conduct on the part of defendant
DeWine, his complaint is construed as brought against the Attorney General in his official capacity.
“[A]n official-capacity suit against a state official is deemed to be a suit against the state and is thus
barred by the Eleventh Amendment, absent a waiver. . . .” Cady v. Arenac County, 574 F.3d 334,
344 (6th Cir. 2009). The State has not waived its sovereign immunity with respect to §1983 suits.
Accordingly, for all of the reasons stated above, the plaintiff’s complaint fails to state any
plausible federal civil rights claim and is dismissed against all of the defendants pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §1915(e). The Court further 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/ John R. Adams
JOHN R. ADAMS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
January 25, 2017
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