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Yahweh v. Shelby County Government

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

November 14, 2014

MINISTER I-RAGUEL HANANIAH: IBN YAHWEH a/k/a ANDRE DALE GRAHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
SHELBY COUNTY GOVERNMENT, et al., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

TU M. PHAM, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, who identifies himself as "Minister I-Raguel Hananiah: Ibn Yahweh Secured Party Creditor UCC 1/207-308 Ex. Rel. Andre Dale Graham" (hereinafter "Graham"). On December 13, 2012, Graham filed a pro se complaint alleging various causes of action against Shelby County Government, Shelby County Sheriff Deputies "Steele #3103" and "Thompson, " Shelby County Sheriff William Oldham, and Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.[1] On that same date, Graham filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. In an order issued on December 19, 2012, the court granted Graham leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 3). Pursuant to the Order Referring Cases, this case is before the undersigned for a sua sponte review of plaintiff's complaint to determine whether the complaint, or any portion thereof, should be dismissed because it is frivolous or 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.[2] 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

I. PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACTS

The following facts are taken from the allegations contained in the complaint. During the evening hours of October 24, 2012, Graham was sitting in his parked vehicle when Deputy Steele approached in his patrol car and activated his blue emergency lights. Deputy Steele asked Graham what he was doing in the vehicle, to which Graham replied that he was waiting to meet someone. Deputy Steele then asked Graham to step out of his vehicle, but Graham refused. Graham informed Deputy Steele that he (Graham) was "the executor and beneficiary of the estate" and that Deputy Steele was trespassing. Deputy Steele "then threatened [Graham] with attack and injury" by telling Graham that he could either exit his vehicle voluntarily, or he could be pulled out of the vehicle. A "Deputy Thompson" then arrived on the scene. Deputy Thompson told Graham that he would break Graham's car windows with his night stick and would use his pepper spray if Graham did not exit the vehicle. Graham finally relented, "under threat, duress, and coercion, " and began to get out of his vehicle. Once Graham opened the car door, however, Deputy Steele proceeded to pull him out of the vehicle by grabbing Graham's arm and neck. Deputy Steele threw Graham on the ground face down, placed his knee into Graham's lower back, and apparently handcuffed him. Graham stated that he had a history of lower back pain and told Deputy Steele that he wanted medical attention. Within fifteen minutes an ambulance arrived, and he was seen by an emergency medical technician ("EMT"). The EMT told Graham that there seemed to be nothing wrong with his back. Graham was released from the handcuffs and placed in the back of the ambulance. An unidentified deputy then informed Graham that the ambulance would take him to the hospital and from there he would be taken to jail because the deputies believed he was a "sovereign citizen." Graham denied he was a member of the sovereign citizen movement. After the ambulance transported Graham to the hospital, he was informed by an unidentified individual that he would be one of the last patients seen for that night and that he could either wait to be seen or go to jail to be processed and released. Graham claims that he "was then kidnapped and taken to Shelby County Jail against [his] will where [his] rights were further violated." Once at the jail, "the District Attorney General and her assignees further conspired to deprive [Graham] of [his] rights by falsely levying charges against [him]."

In his complaint, Graham brings several causes of action against Shelby County Government as well as Deputy Steele, Deputy Thompson, Sheriff Oldham, and District Attorney Weirich, in their official and individual capacity. Graham's complaint cites to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1988, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1602 et seq., and the Public Vessels Act, 46 U.S.C. § 31101 et seq. He seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney's fees.

II. PROPOSED CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

Pursuant to Local Rule 4.1(a), service will not issue in a pro se case where the pro se plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis until the complaint has been screened under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The Clerk is authorized to issue summonses to pro se litigants only after that review is complete and an order of the court issues. This report and recommendation will constitute the court's screening.

The court is required to screen in forma pauperis complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the action -

(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief maybe granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as stated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-679 (2009), and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007), are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). "Accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, the Court consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.'" Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). "[P]leadings that... are no more than conclusions[] are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 ("Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirement of providing not only fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also grounds' on which the claim rests.").

" Pro se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, and should therefore be liberally construed." Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (internal quotation marks omitted). Pro se litigants, however, are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 F.Appx. 608, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) ("[A] court cannot create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading") (internal quotation marks omitted); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73 F.Appx. 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and stating, "[n]either this court nor the district court is required to create Payne's claim for her"); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004) ("District judges have no obligation to act as counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants."); Young Bok Song v. Gipson, 423 F.Appx. 506, 510 (6th Cir. 2011) ("[W]e decline to affirmatively require courts to ferret out the strongest cause of action on behalf of pro se litigants. Not only would that duty be overly ...


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