The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MORAN, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
PlaintiffIgor Vladimir Aslan filed a pro se complaint against
Rudolph Mayer, his former landlord; Karl Reschke, Mayer's
business partner; Michael Sheahan, Cook County Sheriff; Donald
Monica, Interim District Director of the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security; and several directors and officers of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Plaintiff's civil
cover sheet identifies his action as a contract claim for the
recovery of overpayment and enforcement of judgment. Along with
his complaint, plaintiff 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. In his financial affidavit,
plaintiff states that he is unemployed, has no income and no
assets, and sometimes receives $430 from a friend to pay his
monthly rent. Plaintiff has evidenced his financial need.
Our inquiry does not end there, however. As part of the initial
review of a petition to proceed in forma pauperis, we analyze
the claims and dismiss the complaint if we determine that the
action is frivolous or malicious, it fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); Alston v. Debruyn,
13 F.3d 1036, 1039 (7th Cir. 1994). For purposes of this decision, we
take plaintiff's allegations as true. See Zimmerman v.
Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). Much of
plaintiff's oft-confusing, 29-page complaint, seems more
appropriate for a political diatribe than a court filing.
However, since the complaint was filed pro se we do not hold it
to the same standards as those drafted by attorneys. See
McCormick v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 325 (7th Cir.
2000). Nonetheless, the complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted against any of the named defendants.
The complaint is divisible into two distinct parts: allegations
relating to plaintiff's eviction and loan to his former landlord,
and allegations concerning the INS and Department of Homeland
Security. The first part stems from events that occurred almost
ten years ago. Plaintiff alleges that on July 8, 1993, he paid
his landlord, Rudolph Mayer, $3,600 for one year of rent on his
apartment. That same year he also allegedly gave Mayer an
$180,000 loan and various valuables for safekeeping. In April
1994, the INS took plaintiff into custody and held him until May
24, 1994. While plaintiff was in custody, his apartment was
burglarized and Mayer commenced eviction proceedings against him.
Plaintiff suspected Mayer of the break-in. On May 27, 1994, Mayer
received an ex parte judgment against plaintiff, though the
eviction was stayed until June 3, 1994. After his release,
plaintiff learned of the eviction proceedings and appeared before
a judge on an emergency motion to stop the eviction. Plaintiff
alleges that the eviction was stayed until June 14, 1994, but
that sheriff's deputies nonetheless evicted him on June 13, 1994.
Plaintiff maintains that, as a result, he lost valuables worth
over $60,000. He also alleges that Mayer never repaid the
$180,000, as promised. Nor were plaintiff's valuables returned. Rather, they were given to Karl Reschke, Mayer's
business partner, who sold them to various European buyers
without plaintiff's consent.
The second part of the complaint contains seven pages of
"accusations" against Bryan Perryman, District Director of INS;
Donald Monica, Interim District Director of the U.S. Department
of Homeland Security; Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, former District
Counsel for the INS; and Peter George and Sylvia Mano, INS
officers. Much of this is nothing more than conclusory statements
that these individuals have not upheld the law. Plaintiff's
allegations against George and Mano provide the only context for
his claims. From those few details and a letter plaintiff wrote
in 2000, which was submitted with his complaint, we glean the
following allegations. In 1993, an immigration judge, James
Fujimoto, ordered plaintiff to be deported to his homeland,
Moldova. However, in April 1994, plaintiff was instead deported
to the Ukraine, where he was not accepted, and was sent back to
Chicago. Plaintiff alleges that George confiscated his jewelry,
money, and apartment keys during his deportation, and that while
he was away George entered his apartment and took more things.
Finally, plaintiff complains that over five years later, in
October 1999, Mano manipulated information during an
interrogation of plaintiff.
This court has no jurisdiction over plaintiff's claims against
Mayer or Reschke. In May 2004, plaintiff attempted to have his
1994 eviction case reopened in state court. When that attempt
seemingly failed, he submitted a request to the Illinois Judicial
Inquiry Board for an investigation into the willful misconduct of
the judge, and he then turned to the federal courts, filing this
action. However, the federal court has no basis for jurisdiction
over these defendants. Neither Mayer nor Reschke are state
actors, there is no diversity of citizenship as plaintiff, as well as defendants, reside in Illinois, and there
is no federal question.
The court does have jurisdiction over the claim against Michael
Sheahan, the Cook County Sheriff. Plaintiff appears to allege a §
1983 claim against Sheahan for the violation of his civil rights
resulting from the disregard of the court-ordered stay of his
eviction. This claim also fails. Under Monell v. Department of
Social Services of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1977),
plaintiff's damages must result from an official policy or custom
of the sheriff in order to state a claim against this defendant.
Nothing in the complaint indicates that the deputies' actions
were the result of a policy or custom of the sheriff's
department. An action against the individual deputies would not
require the same showing, but even if plaintiff had named them as
defendants, the claim would still be dismissed due to the statute
of limitations. This eviction took place almost ten years ago. In
Illinois, the two-year limitations period for personal injury
suits applies to § 1983 actions. Manley v. City of Chicago,
236 F.3d 392, 395 (7th Cir. 2001).
Plaintiff also fails to state a claim against the various
federal agents. Plaintiff does not describe actions or omissions
by Perryman or Der-Yeghiayan that damaged him. As with his claim
against Sheahan, plaintiff's claim against George dates back to
April 1994 and is time-barred. Plaintiff's claims that Monica,
the Interim Director of the Department of Homeland Security,
failed to respond to his requests for an investigation into his
detention and the alleged activities by George are not a basis
for a legal claim. Nor are his allegations against Mano. Though
plaintiff writes, "Through diabolic activity and distortion of
the truth, by presenting a lie as being the truth, officer Sylvia
Bonacorsi Mano has contributed to my unlimited imprisonment
. . .," the only activity he describes is her refusal to shut an
office door during her questioning.
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's petition to proceed in
forma pauperis and his motion for appointment of counsel are
denied. His complaint is dismissed.
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