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Eastern Division andre Manly v. Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

December 14, 2010

EASTERN DIVISION ANDRE MANLY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTHCARE AND FAMILY SERVICES., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Defendants' motions to dismiss. For the reasons stated below, we grant the motions to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Andre Manly (Manly) alleges that he is a citizen of the "State of the Moorish People Republic" (Moorish People Republic), which is allegedly a sovereign and tribal government, and that he is under the jurisdiction of the Moorish People Republic. Manly also alleges that he has made voluntary contributions to Medicare and social security and that he provided child support for his child for fifteen years under the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois (Circuit Court). On January 12, 2009, a judge in the Circuit Court allegedly indicated that the judge did not have jurisdiction over Manly. After that date, Manly allegedly continued to pay child support "in accordance with the constitutional tribal guidelines of the Moorish People Republic and under the jurisdiction of its Department of Healthcare and Family Services." (Compl. 2). Manly alleges that such facts indicate that Defendant Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHFS) and Defendant Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) lack jurisdiction over him.

Manly also alleges that IDHFS and Defendant Illinois Department of IDES have taken action against him in spite of being notified that they do not have jurisdiction over Manly. Specifically, Manly alleges that on October 22, 2009, he received a letter from Defendant IDHFS, Licensing Project Office (IDHFS Licensing Project Office), dated October 10, 2009 and postmarked October 19, 2009, indicating that Manly's personal and professional licenses might be revoked due to Manly's failure to pay child support. Manly allege that the letter required him to respond within ten days of receiving notice, and that such a ten-day requirement intentionally did not allow Manly sufficient time to respond to the letter or participate in the review of the matter with the IDHFS Licensing Project Office.

Manly alleges that he sent the IDHFS Licensing Project Office, Defendant Drake Sisti (Sisti), and Defendant Rosie Henry (Henry) a jurisdictional affidavit and tribal order on September 1, 2009, October 6, 2009, and October 7, 2009. Manly also alleges that on October 23, 2009, officials at the IDHFS Licensing Project Office refused to provide Manly with a review over the telephone until he disclosed his date of birth and social security number and refused to disclose their identities to Manly or acknowledge that they had received the jurisdictional affidavit and tribal order Manly sent. Defendant Robert Bell (Bell) allegedly acted as the agent for Sisti with respect to "mail delivery restricted for [] Sisti exclusively." (Compl. 3). In addition, Manly alleges that officials at the IDHFS Licensing Project Office offered no review or remedy and improperly characterized him as "uncooperative" in order to justify revoking his professional and personal licenses. (Compl. 5). According to Manly, the Licencing Project proceeded against him unreasonably in light of the notice he provided to it of his race and citizenship in the Moorish People Republic.

In addition, Manly alleges that he receives unemployment benefits (Benefits) from IDES and that his total weekly unemployment benefit is $244.00 per week. On October 29, 2009, Manly alleges he received a letter from Defendant Director of IDES (IDES Director) informing him that IDES planned to withhold $118 of his Benefits each week for child support. Manly allegedly appealed the garnishment with the Appeals Offset Unit. When Manly appealed, IDES allegedly informed Manly that, as of August 2004, Manly also owed $1,832 in overpaid Benefits to IDES. According to Manly, he received no notice of any overpayment of Benefits until October 29, 2009, and he allegedly appealed IDES's determination related to the overpayment of Benefits immediately in letters to the IDES dated October 29, 2009 and November 3, 2009.

Manly alleges that on November 4, 2009, he was interviewed by Defendant Robert Acosta (Acosta), a Service Representative for IDES, regarding his eligibility to collect unemployment Benefits. Manly also alleges that, in spite of the notice stating that the purpose of the interview was to protect Manly's rights, Acosta admitted that the interview was actually "an interrogation" and made reference to the warnings required under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) (Compl. 9). Manly allegedly protested the interview process as unlawful and a violation of his due process rights, but Acosta allegedly offered no remedy. Manly includes in his complaint claims for violations of the Law of Nations or customary international law brought pursuant to the Alien Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, claims alleging violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq., common law fraud claims, identity theft claims, civil conspiracy claims, intentional infliction of emotional distress claims, due process and equal protection claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Section 1983), and claims alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims (FDCPA),

15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. Manly seeks $2,000,000.00 in compensatory damages and injunctive relief. IDHFS and the individually-named IDHFS employees have moved to dismiss all claims. IDES, IDES Director, and Acosta have also filed a motion to dismiss all claims.

LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) (Rule 12(b)(1)) requires a court to dismiss an action when it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. United Phosphorus, Ltd. v. Angus Chemical Co., 322 F.3d 942, 946 (7th Cir. 2003). If the concern of the court or party challenging subject matter jurisdiction is that "subject matter jurisdiction is not evident on the face of the complaint, the motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) would be analyzed as any other motion to dismiss, by assuming for purposes of the motion that the allegations in the complaint are true." Id.; see also Ezekiel v. Michel, 66 F.3d 894, 897 (7th Cir. 1995)(stating that when reviewing a motion to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(1), this court "must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations, and draw reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff"). However, if the complaint appears on its face to indicate that the court has subject matter jurisdiction, "but the contention is that there is in fact no subject matter jurisdiction, the movant may use affidavits and other material to support the motion." United Phosphorus, Ltd., 322 F.3d at 946 (emphasis in original). For the purpose of determining subject matter jurisdiction, this court "may properly look beyond the jurisdictional allegations of the complaint and view whatever evidence has been submitted on the issue to determine whether in fact subject matter jurisdiction exists." Ezekiel, 66 F.3d at 897 (quoting Capitol Leasing Co. v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., 999 F.2d 188, 191 (7th Cir. 1993)). The burden of proof in a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is "on the party asserting jurisdiction." United Phosphorus, Ltd., 322 F.3d at 946.

In ruling on a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Rule 12(b)(6)), a court must "accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint" and make reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(stating that the tenet is "inapplicable to legal conclusions"); Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). To defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (internal quotations omitted)(quoting in part Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint that contains factual allegations that are "merely consistent with a defendant's liability . . . stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (internal quotations omitted).

DISCUSSION

Since Manly is proceeding pro se, we have liberally construed his complaint in assessing the claims that he seeks to bring in the instant action. See McCormick v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 325 (7th Cir. 2000)(stating that "pro se complaints are to be liberally construed and not held to the stringent standards expected of pleadings drafted by lawyers"). Defendants argue that Manly's claims should be dismissed based on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the Eleventh Amendment, and Manly's failure to state any claims upon which relief can be granted.

I. Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

IDES, IDES Director, and Acosta argue that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies to Manly's claims. Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, a "party 'complaining of an injury caused by [a] state-court judgment'" is not permitted to "seek[] redress in a [] federal [district] court." Golden v. Helen Sigman & Associates, Ltd., 611 F.3d 356, 362 (7th Cir. 2010)(quoting Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 291-92 (2005)); see also Gilbert v. Illinois State Bd. of Educ., 591 F.3d 896, 900 (7th Cir. 2010)(stating that "the Rooker-Feldman principle prevents a state-court loser from bringing suit in federal court in order effectively to set aside the state-court judgment and applies even if the state court judgment is erroneous or unconstitutional"). The Rooker-Feldman doctrine does not prevent a federal court from reviewing "claims that are independent of any state court proceedings" or "executive action, including decisions made by state administrative agencies." Gilbert, 591 F.3d at 900. However, if a plaintiff's "allegations cannot be separated from [a] ...


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