United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
June 15, 2004.
LANCINE SACKO, Plaintiff,
STATE OF MICHIGAN, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MORAN, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Lancine Sacko filed a pro se complaint against the
State of Michigan. Plaintiff's civil cover sheet identifies his
action as a tort claim for medical malpractice. Along with his
complaint, Sacko filed a petition to proceed in forma pauperis
and a motion for appointment of counsel.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) we may authorize plaintiff to
proceed in forma pauperis if he demonstrates an inability to
pay the required costs and fees. Plaintiff's financial affidavit
is confusing and contradictory, apparently due to plaintiff's
difficulty with English. Plaintiff states that he is not
currently employed, but indicates that his monthly salary is
$1,400. It is unclear whether or not he is still receiving these
wages. Though plaintiff states that he is not married, he reports
that his spouse's monthly salary is also about $1,400. Other
documentation supplied with the complaint indicates that
plaintiff is married but does not confirm that his spouse is
employed. Though plaintiff identifies interest and unemployment
as other sources of his income, when asked to state how much
income he has earned from these sources, he writes "non." On
other lines of the affidavit plaintiff indicates that he received
$60,000 on March 28, 2004. Given that plaintiff and his spouse
may be receiving income of $2,800 a month, and that he may have received a sizable sum of
money a few months ago, we find that plaintiff has failed to
demonstrate an inability to pay. However, it is possible that a
revised financial affidavit would reveal that plaintiff has no
income and no assets, and that the current affidavit's
representations otherwise were the result of misunderstanding.
Thus, despite plaintiff's failure to establish financial
eligibility, we will address the merits of plaintiff's claim.
During the initial review of a petition to proceed in forma
pauperis, we analyze the claims and dismiss the petition if we
determine that the action is frivolous or malicious, or it fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); Alston v. Debruyn, 13 F.3d 1036, 1039
(7th Cir. 1994). Plaintiff's allegations are unclear, but he
appears to argue that the State of Michigan is liable for the
violation of his constitutional rights arising from the
suspension of his driver's license, his arrest without cause,
injury to his hand while in police custody, and a court's denial
of his personal protection order. Plaintiff also states on his
civil cover sheet that he has a tort claim for medical
malpractice, and he filed a form entitled "Complaint of
Employment Discrimination," identifying the State of Michigan as
the defendant, but JAC Products, Inc., as the employer.
Plaintiffs' claims against the State of Michigan are barred by
the Eleventh Amendment. A state cannot be sued in federal court
unless the state waives its sovereign immunity or consents to be
sued. Pennhurst State School & Hospital v. Halderman,
465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984). Michigan has not consented to civil rights suits
in the federal courts. Abick v. Michigan, 803 F.2d 874, 877
(6th Cir. 1986). Further, plaintiff has failed to state any
basis for his tort claim and employment discrimination claim
against the State.
Even if Michigan were not immune from this suit, the petition
to proceed in forma pauperis would be denied and the complaint dismissed because
the Northern District of Illinois is an improper venue.
Plaintiff, a resident of Michigan, erroneously claims that the
basis of federal jurisdiction is the U.S. Government's status as
defendant. The United States is not a named party in this suit,
and so plaintiff's only basis of jurisdiction would be a federal
question. When a federal court has jurisdiction for a reason
other than diversity of citizenship, the action may only be
brought in a judicial district where (1) a defendant resides, if
they all reside in the same state, (2) a substantial part of the
events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or (3) any
defendant may be found, if there is no district in which the
action may otherwise be brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). None of
these criteria applies the defendant is not a resident of this
district, the events did not take place here, nor can the
defendant be found here.
For the foregoing reasons plaintiff's petition to proceed in
forma pauperis and motion for appointment of counsel are denied
and his complaint is dismissed.  Jury Verdict. This action came before the Court for a trial
by jury. The issues have been tried and the jury rendered its
[x] Decision by Court. This action came to trial or hearing
before the Court. The issues have been tried or heard and a
decision has been rendered.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that plaintiff's petition to
proceed in forma pauperis and motion for appointment of counsel
are denied and his complaint is dismissed.
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