Enyart v. O'Brien et al
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS: It is RECOMMENDED that the Court dismiss Plaintiffs claims pursuant to Section 1915A re 1 Complaint filed by Richard E Enyart, Jr Objections to R&R due by 11/27/2017. Signed by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Preston Deavers on November 13, 2017. (jlk) (This document has been sent by regular mail to the party(ies) listed in the NEF that did not receive electronic notification.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
RICHARD E. ENYART,
Civil Action 2:17-cv-877
Judge George C. Smith
Magistrate Judge Elizabeth P. Deavers
RON O’BRIEN, et al.,
INITIAL SCREEN REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Plaintiff, a state inmate under the supervision of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation
and correction, brings this prisoner civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF Nos. 1 &
16.) This matter is before the Court sua sponte for an initial screen of Plaintiff’s Complaint as
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A to identify cognizable claims and to recommend dismissal of
Plaintiff’s Complaint, or any portion of it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Having performed the initial screen, for the reasons
that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court DISMISS this Plaintiff’s claims against
Defendants for failure to assert any claim over which this Court has subject matter jurisdiction.
Congress has authorized the sua sponte dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim
upon which relief maybe granted. 2 8 U.S.C. §§ 1915 (e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1). A
complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff must be “liberally construed” and “held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)
(per curiam) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). By the same token, however,
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) (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th
Cir. 2010) (“dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for failure
to state a claim” under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)).
A federal court has limited subject matter jurisdiction. “The basic statutory grants of
federal court subject-matter jurisdiction are contained in 28 U.S.C. § 1331, which provides for
‘[f]ederal-question’ jurisdiction, and § 1332, which provides for ‘[d]iversity of citizenship’
jurisdiction.” Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 501 (2006). Federal-question jurisdiction is
invoked when a plaintiff pleads a claim “arising under” the federal laws, the Constitution, or
treaties of the United States. Id. (citation omitted). For a federal court to have diversity
jurisdiction pursuant to Section 1332(a), there must be complete diversity, which means that
each plaintiff must be a citizen of a different state than each defendant, and the amount in
controversy must exceed $75,000. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996).
According to the Complaint, Defendants were involved in various capacities with
searches of Plaintiff’s residence and Plaintiff’s subsequent arrest, police interrogation, and
prosectution in 2007. (ECF No. 1 at 4-.11) Plaintiff argues that Defendants’ actions violated his
rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S.
Constitution. (Id. at 12-21.) Plaintiff seeks various declaratory judgments; nominal,
compensatory, and punitive damages against all defendants; and, an award of costs and fees. (Id.
A. Statute of Limitations
Plaintiff purports to bring his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Id. at 2.) The statute of
limitations applicable to claims arising in Ohio under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is the two-year statute of
limitations found in Ohio Revised Code § 2305.10. Boddie v. Barstow, No. 2:14-CV-0106, 2014
WL 2611321, at *2 (S.D. Ohio May 2, 2014), report and recommendation adopted, No. 2:14CV-106, 2014 WL 2608123 (S.D. Ohio June 11, 2014) (citing Browning v. Pendleton, 869 F.2d
989 (6th Cir. 1989)).
“Although the statute of limitations is normally an affirmative defense that must be raised
by defendants in an answer, if the limitations bar appears on the face of the complaint, the Court
may apply it during the initial screening process.” Boddie, 2014 WL 2611321, at *3 (citing
Watson v. Wayne County, 90 F. App’x. 814, at *1 (6th Cir. January 26, 2004)) (“If a statute of
limitations defense clearly appears on the face of a pleading, the district court can raise the issue
sua sponte”). This Court has applied that rule in cases screened under § 1915A. Id. (citing
Smith v. Warren County Sherif’s Dept., 2010 WL 761894 (S.D. Ohio March 2, 2010)).
Accordingly, the Court must look to the allegations in the Complaint to determine whether the
action has been filed within the applicable two-year period.
Here, it is clear that all of the conduct alleged in the Complaint occurred prior to the
applicable two-year period. The alleged actions took place ten years ago, between August and
January 2008. (ECF No. 1). The Undersigned, therefore, recommends that the Complaint be
dismissed for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
B. Habeas Corpus Claims
Plaintiff purports to bring this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To the extent that Plaintiff
seeks an order declaring that his state court conviction was obtained in violation of his rights
guaranteed under the United States Constitution, however, Plaintiff must proceed by filing a
petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.1 A civil rights action is not a
substitute for habeas corpus. When a prisoner challenges the fact or duration of his confinement,
his sole federal remedy is habeas corpus. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 787 (1994); Skinner
v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 525 (2011) (“Habeas is the exclusive remedy . . . for a prisoner who
seeks immediate or speedier release from confinement.”). A convicted criminal defendant
cannot bring a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if a judgment on the claim “would necessarily
imply the invalidity” of his criminal conviction and that conviction has not been set aside. Heck,
512 U.S. at 487. Here, Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgments that his Fourth, Sixth, and
Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated during evidentiary searches, his arrest, post-arrest
The Court notes that Plaintiff has already sought post-conviction relief, including habeas
corpus relief, in both the state and federal courts on grounds identical to those presented here.
Plaintiff was denied relief in both systems, and in both cases the U.S. Supreme Court declined to
issue a writ of certiorari. Enyart v. Coleman, 29 F. Supp. 3d 1059 (N.D. Ohio 2014), petition for
cert. denied sub nom. Enyart v. Erdos, 136 S. Ct. 339 (2015) (denying cert. for habeas corpus
review); State v. Enyart, Nos. 08AP-184, 08AP-318, 2010 WL 4681889 (Ohio App. 10th Nov.
18, 2010), petition for cert. denied sub nom. Enyart v. Ohio, 565 U.S. 862 (2011) (denying cert.
for direct review of his state court conviction).
searches, and post-arrest police interrogation, which would necessarily implicate the validity of
his conviction. A judgment for plaintiff, therefore, would necessarily undermine his criminal
conviction. Consequently, the Complaint fails to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
If, alternatively, the “due process” which Enyart seeks consists of monetary damages
from Defendants, he cannot recover damages in a § 1983 proceeding, based on the doctrine set
forth in Heck. Plaintiff’s allegations that Defendants violated his constitutional rights during
various stages of his state criminal case amount to no more than a collateral challenge of his
imprisonment. “[I]n order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or
imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a
conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has
been [overturned].” Heck, 512 U.S. at 486–87. In other words, before Plaintiff may seek money
damages in a federal civil rights proceeding in which he appears to claim that his conviction was
unlawfully obtained, he must first show that his conviction has been overturned or set aside.
For the reasons explained above, Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to assert any claim over
which this Court has subject matter jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Undersigned finds that
Plaintiff has not made out viable claims upon which relief may be granted against any of the
named defendants. It is therefore RECOMMENDED that the Court dismiss Plaintiff’s claims
pursuant to Section 1915A.
PROCEDURE ON OBJECTIONS
If any party seeks review by the District Judge of this Report and Recommendation, that
party may, within fourteen (14) days, file and serve on all parties objections to the Report and
Recommendation, specifically designating this Report and Recommendation, and the part in
question, as well as the basis for objection. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).
Response to objections must be filed within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).
The parties are specifically advised that the failure to object to the Report and
Recommendation will result in a waiver of the right to de novo review of by the District Judge
and waiver of the right to appeal the judgment of the District Court. See, e.g., Pfahler v. Nat’l
Latex Prod. Co., 517 F.3d 816, 829 (6th Cir. 2007) (holding that “failure to object to the
magistrate judge’s recommendations constituted a waiver of [th defendant’s] ability to appeal the
district court’s ruling”); United States v. Sullivan, 431 F.3d 976, 984 (6th Cir. 2005) (holding that
defendant waived appeal of district court’s denial of pretrial motion by failing to timely object to
magistrate judge’s report and recommendation). Even when timely objections are filed,
appellate review of issues not raised in those objections is waived. Robert v. Tesson, 507 F.3d
981, 994 (6th Cir. 2007) (“[A] general objection to a magistrate judge’s report, which fails to
specify the issues of contention, does not suffice to preserve an issue for appeal . . . .” (citation
Date: November 13, 2017
/s/ Elizabeth A. Preston Deavers
ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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