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JOHNSON v. SHERIDAN BANK

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois


April 1, 2004.

RONALD JOHNSON #731065, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIDAN BANK, et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON SHADUR, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Ronald Johnson ("Johnson") has just submitted a self-prepared Complaint in which he sues the Sheridan Bank ("Bank") and its Chief Executive Officer Gregory Sheedy ("Sheedy"), having used for that purpose the printed form of Complaint under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 ("Section 1983") that is made available by this District Court's Clerk's Office for persons in custody.*fn1 Because Johnson (understandably for a nonlawyer) has mistakenly assumed that his claim comes within federal subject matter jurisdiction, this Court sua sponte dismisses both the Complaint and this action for lack of such jurisdiction.

According to Johnson's allegations (which are accepted as true for present purposes), a different Ronald Johnson looted his account at the Bank, fraudulently withdrawing more than $8,000 to empty out the account. It appears that the other Ronald Johnson, who was confined in the Lee County Jail (plaintiff Johnson was Page 2 then in the Will County Jail), used his own prison ID number and his County Jail ID number (both of course different from plaintiff Johnson's) to do so. And Johnson alleges that even though he furnished Sheedy with the necessary information to confirm his claim, he never received a response and is still out the money.

  Although that set of facts certainly states a viable claim, Johnson's problem is that it does not belong in the federal court system. Federal courts are authorized to entertain lawsuits only to the extent specified by Congress, and in this instance:

1. Section 1983 certainly does not apply, because neither Bank nor Sheedy is a "state actor" whose conduct triggers the possible applicability of that statute,
2. Even with the generous reading that must be given to pro se complaints under the teaching of Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972) (per curiam), there is no other source of federal-question jurisdiction that could embrace Johnson's claims.
3. Diversity of citizenship, the other alternative source of federal jurisdiction, is lacking (both Johnson and the two defendants are Illinois citizens).
  All of that being true, this Court is constrained to take the action identified at the outset, dismissing the Complaint and this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. This Page 3 dismissal is of course without prejudice to Johnson's assertion of his claim in a state court of competent jurisdiction, Finally, the dismissal moots Johnson's contemporaneously submitted In Forma Pauperis Application and request for appointment of counsel.


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