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WINGATE v. BIRKETT

March 31, 2004.

TIMOTHY WINGATE, et al., Plaintiff's, -v- JOSEPH E. BIRKETT, et al., Defendant


The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID COAR, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This is a multi-defendant case originally brought by three Plaintiff's: Timothy Wesley Wingate ("Wingate"), Mark Sato ("Sato"), and Mark Enoch Sate ("Enoch Sato"). Wingate, Sato, and Enoch Sato filed their Complaint in November 2002 against several Illinois municipalities and officers of the State of Illinois. On June 5, 2003, the Court dismissed Plaintiff Sato from the Complaint and struck all allegations therein that were specific to him in keeping with prior litigation sanctions. See Skolnick. Sato & Andreuccetti v. Doria, No. 94-3238, Order of April 4, 1997 (7th Cir. 1997); Sato v. Plunkett. 94 C 60, Order of May 2, 1994 (N.D. Ill. 1994) (Easterbrook, J.); id., Order of March 15, 1994 (N.D. Ill. 1994); Sato v. Kwasny, 1993 U.S. District Lexis 15693 (N.D. Ill., Nov. 5, 1993).

The case comes now before the Court on several Motions filed by the Defendants. Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim have been filed by the Defendant City of Elgin; Defendant Village of Hanover Park; and Defendant City of Elmhurst. Defendant City of Elmhurst has also moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint for Page 2 failure to provide effective service of process. Defendant Joseph Birkett has filed a Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Complaint under Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and a Motion for Sanctions under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff's received permission from the Court to file a consolidated response to these motions. The motions are all fully briefed and ripe for decision.

  I. MOTIONS TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM

  In ruling on a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court "must accept all well pleaded allegations 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). A party's claim should only be dismissed if it is clear that no set of facts in support of the claim would entitle the party to relief. Ledford v. Sullivan, 105 F.3d 354, 356 (7th Cir. 1997) (quoting Hishon v. King & Spaulding. 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)).

  Plaintiffs' Complaint is inscrutable. The Complaint first alleges that this Court is not organized under Article III of the Constitution. (Pl. Comp, at 6-8). It asserts that the District Court "is a political and constitutional oxymoron." (Pl, Comp, at 14). It goes on to blankly assert violations of the following of Plaintiffs' rights: Plaintiffs' right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment (Pl. Comp, at 9); Plaintiffs' "innumerable rights under the 9th and 10th Amendments dependent upon the right to travel" (id.); Plaintiffs' "4th Amendment right of sanctity of home and/or person against unwarranted search and/or seizure "(id.); Plaintiffs' "common law right to pursuit of happiness free from unlawful interference" (id.); Plaintiffs' "common law right to due process" (id.); Plaintiffs'" right to have public servants Page 3 obey public policy constraints" (Id. at 9-10); Plaintiffs' "right to the protections of the separation of powers doctrine" (Id. at 10); and Plaintiffs' right to religious liberty (id.). Few, if Any, of these allegations are supported with any specific factual allegation in the Complaint.

  The Court can find (with some difficulty) the following factual allegations in Plaintiffs' Complaint. Wingate is a founding participant of an organization known as the American Rights Movement, or ARM. Wingate organized ARM in January or February 2001 "for the purpose of articulating [Wingate's] political vies and to exercise his right of association with like-minded persons." (Pl. Comp, at 19). Wingate, through ARM, became involved in efforts to expose alleged political corruption in the State's Attorneys Office in early 2002. In July 2002, Elmhurst Police "trumped up a charge" against Wingate's daughter Anne. (Pl. Comp, at 22).

  Several years earlier, in 1996, Wingate was issued a traffic citation for driving while his driver's license was suspended. The case number assigned to the incident was 96 TR 148974. When Wingate refused to identify himself to the Court, a bench warrant issued for his arrest. The Complaint alleges that this bench warrant imposed "the artificial status of `driver'" upon Wingate and justified "restraint of his liberty," (Pl. Comp, at 22).

  As regards Enoch Sato, the Complaint alleges that Defendants have all been using Enoch Sato "as a means of applying extortionate leverage" against Sato to "cease and desist in his campaign to expose the criminality" in the State's Attorneys Office. (PL Comp, at 23). The Defendants allegedly conspired to "inveigle Enoch Sato in the Traffic Court Enterprise." (Id.) Defendants have also "falsely imposed upon EnochSato the status of `driver' . . . as a means of blackmailing his father [Sato]."(Id. at 24). Enoch Sato has apparently been twice issued traffic Page 4 citations by agents of the City of Elgin, and his cases have been assigned numbers 01 TR 41259 and 01 TR 7443.

  The Complaint proceeds to allege that the Illinois Traffic Courts provide support "for A specific religious sect, namely, the Masons." (Id. at 26). From there, the Complaint descends even deeper into a bizarre conspiracy theory that does not merit reproduction.

  One general background assumption of Plaintiffs' Complaint is that the traffic courts in Illinois operate illegally and are ultra vires. The Illinois Motor Vehicle Code authorizes municipal corporations to adopt and enforce any or all of the Motor Vehicle Code. 625 I.L.C.S. 5/20-204. Consequently, the traffic courts in Elgin, Elmhurst, and Hanover Park are all legitimate entities under state law.

  This Complaint does not state a claim upon which relief could be granted as to any of the Defendants it names. The most coherent theory that the Court could draw from this Complaint is that Wingate and Enoch Sato are being harrassed on the basis of the exercise of their First Amendment rights. As to Wingate, the right would be freedom of speech in association with his political activities in ARM. As to Enoch Sato (who is not alleged to be a participant in ARM), it is unclear what the unconstitutional basis for the harrassment would be.

  For either Plaintiff, the Complaint does not allege any specific relationship between their traffic arrests (or their daughter's traffic arrests, as in Wingate's case) and Wingate's political activities in ARM. Based on a fair and thorough reading of Plaintiffs' Complaint, it does not state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The conclusory allegations of conspiracy in this case are not sufficient to provide fair notice to any of the ...


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