Murphy v. Lenart et al
Memorandum of Opinion and Order. Even construing the Complaint liberally in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff, it does not contain allegations reasonably suggesting the Plaintiff might have a valid federal claim, or indeed that there is even an arguable basis for this Court's jurisdiction. This case is therefore appropriately subject to summary dismissal. Accordingly, this action is dismissed. Judge John R. Adams on 08/16/2017. (M,TL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
KEVIN LENART, et al.,
CASE NO. 5:17 CV 1560
JUDGE JOHN R. ADAMS
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
On July 26, 2017, Plaintiff pro se Steve Murphy filed this civil rights action against
Defendants Kevin Lenart, Gwendolyn Fletcher, Erica Carver, Wooster Community Hospital, Tiffany
Green, Wayne County Children Services Board, Michael Rickett, Wayne County Juvenile court,
Wayne County Prosecuting Attorneys Office, Wayne County, and Jane and John Does. While the
Complaint is unclear, Plaintiff appears to allege Defendants conspired to deprive him of custody of
his children after domestic difficulties in Plaintiff’s household. In particular, he alleges Defendants
were motivated by their disagreement with how Plaintiff was home-schooling the children.
A cause of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it lacks
“plausibility in the complaint.” Bell At. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 564 (2007). A pleading
must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). The factual allegations in the pleading must be
sufficient to raise the right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The plaintiff is not required to
include detailed factual allegations, but must provide more than “an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678 (2009). A pleading that
offers legal conclusions or a simple recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not meet this
pleading standard. Id.
Federal courts have traditionally deferred to the States in child custody matters. Elk Grove
Unified Sch. Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1, 12 (2004) (“[The] Court has customarily declined to
intervene [in] the realm of domestic relations. Long ago we observed that ‘[t]he whole subject of the
domestic relations of husband and wife, parent and child, belongs to the laws of the States and not
to the laws of the United States.’ ”)(citing In re Burrus, 136 U.S. 586, 593 (1890)); see also Drewes
v. Ilnicki, 863 F.2d 469, 471-72 (6th Cir.1988) (Court declined to hear plaintiff's case, stating his
complaint was a “mere pretense” for obtaining federal review of the underlying merits of a domestic
relations dispute); In re Chatman, 2007 WL 4365379 (S.D.Ohio Dec. 10, 2007) (“[C]hild custody
is a state law matter.”).
Even construing the Complaint liberally in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff, Brand v.
Motley, 526 F.3d 921, 924 (6th Cir. 2008), it does not contain allegations reasonably suggesting he
might have a valid federal claim, or indeed that there is even an arguable basis for this Court’s
jurisdiction. This case is therefore appropriately subject to summary dismissal. See, Apple v. Glenn,
183 F.3d 477, 479 (6th Cir. 1999).
Accordingly, this action is dismissed.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Date: August 16, 2017
/s/ John R. Adams
JOHN R. ADAMS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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