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Airrion Blake-Bey, et al v. Cook County

February 24, 2011

AIRRION BLAKE-BEY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COOK COUNTY DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Defendant's motion to dismiss. For the reasons stated below, the court grants the motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs allege that they are Moorish Americans and descendants from individuals who resided in the western part of Africa. Plaintiffs also allege that their "vessels were captured at birth" and that they were given slave titles and were treated as property. (A. Compl. 1). In addition, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant violated their constitutional rights by creating "certificates and records of the Plaintiffs' birth." (A. Compl. 1). According to Plaintiffs, Defendant's acts denationalized them, subjected them to slavery, inflicted cruel and unusual punishment upon them, and have hindered their "rights to travel, land, peace, commerce, government, and freedom." (A. Compl. 1-2). Plaintiffs also allege that Defendant's acts has left them stateless and prevented them from "developing according to [their] historical traditions." (A. Compl. 3). Plaintiffs have also filed an affidavit of fact declaring their Moorish American nationality and denouncing other titles given to them. (DE

38). Plaintiffs allege in their complaint claims for violations of the 13th Amendment prohibition on slavery, violations of the 8th Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, and violations of their constitutional right to travel brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Section 1983). Plaintiffs seek five billion dollars in damages, liquidation of all assets held under their social security and birth certificate numbers, a court order discharging all of their debts and rescinding all contractual obligations that they entered into during their lifetime, and punitive damages. (A. Compl. 3). Defendant has moved to dismiss the amended complaint.

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)).

DISCUSSION

Since Plaintiffs are proceeding pro se, we have liberally construed the amended complaint in assessing the claims that Plaintiffs seek 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"). Defendant argues that Plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and that Plaintiffs have not stated a case or controversy and lack standing.

I. Failure to State a Claim

To state a valid claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege "(1)

deprivation of a federal right (2) by a party acting under color of state law." Lehn v. Holmes,364 F.3d 862, 872 (7th Cir. 2004). Although Plaintiffs allege that many acts have been perpetrated against them, the only act that Plaintiffs specifically link to Defendant is the issuance of their birth certificates. Plaintiffs make conclusory allegations that the issuance of birth certificates to Plaintiffs has caused various constitutional deprivations. The court must "accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint" and make reasonable inferences in favor of the Plaintiffs; however, the court need not "accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(citation omitted)(internal quotation omitted). Plaintiffs have not alleged any facts to plausibly suggest that any act ...


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