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MATTER v. WILLIAMS

September 28, 1993

DAVID C. MATTER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DENNIS R. WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:

OPINION

This is a trifling, paltry lawsuit — totally void of serious legal grounds.

This cause is before the Court on the Defendant's motion to dismiss the Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), (6), or (7) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, for failure to join a necessary party, or for failure to state a claim for relief, respectively.

I. BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff, a resident of St. Louis County, Missouri, is the natural son of Nellie Williams, an Alzheimer patient who resides in a nursing home in Adams County, Illinois. Nellie Williams' husband, Ray Williams, resides in the same nursing home. Ray Williams is the stepfather of the Plaintiff and the natural father of the Defendant. The Defendant — a stepbrother of Plaintiff — is a resident of Adams County, Illinois.

In January of 1992, Nellie Williams executed a power of attorney for health care and property in favor of the Plaintiff. At the same time, Ray Williams executed a similar power of attorney in favor of the Defendant. Also, the Defendant allegedly made an agreement with the Plaintiff, on behalf of Ray Williams, that Ray Williams would pay for all of the costs of care of Nellie Williams.

However, in December of 1992 the Defendant took Nellie Williams to an attorney, where she executed a revocation of the power of attorney in favor of the Plaintiff and executed a new power of attorney for health care and property in favor of the Defendant. The Plaintiff then filed a petition for guardianship of the person of Nellie Williams in Adams County Circuit Court and requested that the circuit court declare the revocation of the prior power of attorney and the creation of the new power of attorney to be null and void by reason of the exertion of fraud and undue influence by the Defendant. Plaintiff has since been named guardian of the person of Nellie Williams, but proceedings are ongoing in state court to determine the validity of the second power of attorney executed by Nellie Williams. Also, since May of 1993, the Defendant has refused to pay the expenses of upkeep of Nellie Williams.

The Plaintiff has filed suit in this Court seeking compensatory damages for the costs of having to bring proceedings in state court to regain control of his mother's person and property. The Plaintiff also seeks $500,000 in punitive damages for the conduct of the Defendant. The Defendant has responded arguing that the complaint should be dismissed because Nellie Williams is a necessary party to the suit, and that with her named as a party there is a lack of diversity jurisdiction. Alternatively, the Defendant argues that the case should be dismissed because the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) provides for dismissal of a cause of action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and Rule 12(b)(7) concerns dismissal for the failure of a plaintiff to join a person who is a necessary party to the prosecution of a lawsuit.

In ruling on a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court "must accept well pleaded allegations of the complaint as true. In addition, the Court must view these allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Gomez v. Illinois State Board of Education, 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir. 1987). Although a complaint is not required to contain a detailed outline of the claim's basis, it nevertheless "must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1054, 105 S.Ct. 1758, 84 L.Ed.2d 821 (1985). Mere conclusions, without supporting factual allegations, are insufficient to support a claim for relief. Cohen v. Illinois Institute of Technology, 581 F.2d 658, 663 (7th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 1135, 99 S.Ct. 1058, 59 L.Ed.2d 97 (1979). Dismissal is not granted "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957).

III. ANALYSIS

A. Standing


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