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Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) authorizes the district courts to dismiss any complaint which fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. This rule allows a defendant to test whether, as a matter of law, the plaintiff is entitled to legal relief even if every allegation in the complaint is true. Under this standard, a complaint should be dismissed only where it appears that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. To apply this standard, the reviewing court must presume all factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. The reviewing court need not, however, accord the presumption of truthfulness to any legal conclusions, opinions, or deductions, even if they are couched as factual allegations. Accordingly, to determine whether a complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), the reviewing court must examine the applicable substantive law and the facts alleged in the plaintiff's complaint.
Plaintiff ex-husband, Brad A. Tidik brought an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 and the United States Constitution against defendants, Lisa Tidik represented defendant Paul A. Longton and defendant Judge Kaufman who presided over the trial and issued a final Judgment of Divorce. As part of the divorce decree, defendant Judge included a provision that required plaintiff to post a bond with each motion filed with the court as security against costs or sanctions potentially awardable under Michigan Court Rule 2.114(E). This was because of the numerous motions filed by plaintiff during the course of his divorce proceedings. For his part, plaintiff alleged that he had a constitutional right to visit his children and that right has been consistently violated by all the defendants. These violations allegedly began when defendant wife did not allow him to see the children during an alleged planned association. Plaintiff claimed that similar incidents occurred and that during several of these incidents, he was told to leave defendant wife’s residence under threat of arrest by police officers. Plaintiff argued that the police officers refused to arrest defendants, or recognize his right to visit, and did not willingly release information to the plaintiff. Defendants George, Theadora, and Amy Smith, were allegedly involved in hiding the children from the plaintiff and interfering with his right to visitation. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) or dismissal pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), and some filed a motion to enjoin the plaintiff from filing any further actions relating to the disposition or enforcement of his divorce. Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint.
Should the motions filed by defendants be granted?
The court granted defendants' motions for dismissal and motions for injunctive relief, and denied plaintiff’s motion to amend his complaint. The court ruled that dismissal was proper because the complaint failed to state a claim. The court found that several of defendants had absolute immunity because their duties were essentially adjudicative or prosecutorial in nature. The court held that in order for the plaintiff to demonstrate that some defendants, who worked for the state, violated a constitutional right, he had to challenge the constitutionality of the state court divorce ruling. However, the court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider his attack upon the state court's judgment and that his proper remedy would have been to appeal to the state appellate court. On the other, the court ruled that with regard to the non-state employee defendants, plaintiff failed to demonstrate how any of them acted under the color of state authority and thereby did not satisfy the elements of § 1983. Lastly, the court granted the injunction because the complaint was duplicative, vexations, caused needless expense and burdened the system with litigation that was solely intended to intimidate and harass.