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James Neuman v. State of Illinois

July 12, 2011

JAMES NEUMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF ILLINOIS,ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge:

ORDER

Now before this Court are the motion to dismiss (Docs. 11 & 12) by defendants State of Illinois, Judge Leslie Graves, Illinois Attorney General Office, Lisa Madigan, and Karen McNaught, a motion joined by defendant Terrance Corrigan (Docs. 13& 14) and Suzanne Ushman (Docs. 36& 37); and the motion to dismiss (Docs. 29 & 30) by defendants Sangamon County Courthouse and the Clerk Office of the Sangamon County Courthouse, a motion joined by defendant Ushman (Docs. 36& 37). In response to these motions to dismiss, plaintiff James Neuman filed a memorandum in opposition (Doc. 70).

Also pending are a motion for sanctions (Docs. 62 & 63) by defendants State of Illinois, Judge Leslie Graves, Illinois Attorney General Office, Madigan, and McNaught; plaintiff's motion to change venue (Doc. 71); and plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint (Doc. 72). Defendants State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General, Madigan, McNaught, Judge Graves, Office of the Circuit Clerk of Sangamon County, and Sangamon County Courthouse object to the motion to change venue (Doc. 75) and the motion to amend the complaint (Doc. 73), objections which defendant Ushman has adopted (Docs. 76 &77).

The motions to dismiss argue improper venue; judicial immunity; failure to state a cause of action; bars against suits against the State of Illinois, the Office of the Attorney General, and defendants in official capacities as assistant attorneys general or courthouse clerks; the inability to sue buildings; improper service; and violations of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10.

For the following reasons, defendants' motions to dismiss are GRANTED. This case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as to all defendants.Defendants' motion for sanctions is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, and plaintiff Neuman is ORDERED to pay a penalty of three thousand dollars ($3,000.00) to this Court. Plaintiff Neuman is further PROHIBITED from instigating further litigation in federal court until the penalty is paid in full. Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint is DENIED. Plaintiff's motion to change venue is DENIED as moot.

Introduction and Background

Plaintiff Neuman filed a fifty-five page complaint against sixteen defendants on August 9, 2010 (Doc. 1) in this matter, alleging thirty "claims for relief," ranging from "intentional infliction of financial loss" to "perjury" to constitutional violations. Neuman's complaint is essentially one long rant against every entity, person, and building he perceives conspired against him or treated him wrongly in connection with state court proceedings.

The sixteen named defendants are: the State of Illinois; the Illinois Attorney General Office; Sangamon County Courthouse; Greene County Circuit Courthouse; Jersey County Circuit Courthouse; Macoupin County Circuit Courthouse; Morgan County Circuit Courthouse; Scott County Circuit Courthouse; Judge Leslie Graves, in her official and individual capacity asJudge of the Sangamon County Courthouse; Lisa Madigan, in her official and individual capacity as Attorney General for the State of Illinois; Terrance Corrigan and Karen McNaught, in their official and individual capacities as Attorneys in the Illinois Attorney General Office; the Clerk Office of the Sangamon County Courthouse; and Suzanne Ushman, Daisy Doe, and Andy Doe, in their official and individual capacities as Clerks of the Sangamon County Courthouse. Although several defendants are named in individual and official capacities, the complaint implicates only their official capacities.

Neuman has a long history of filing frivolous lawsuits, for having them dismissed, and for receiving sanctions because of them. See defendants' motion for sanctions, Doc. 63, for details.

To explain the instant litigation, it is necessary to review a suit previously filed by Neumanin the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, which was removed to the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Neuman v. State of Illinois, et al., 2008 WL 2364283 (C.D. Ill. June 6, 2008). In that case, Neuman alleged conspiracy to deny him of a variety of rights and violate numerous different statutes. Id. at *1.Central to his claim was his alleged receipt of a suspicious package in December 2005 and brake trouble with his car in January 2006, which he attributed to the named defendants, some of whom are defendants here: State of Illinois, Illinois State Attorney General Office, and Karen McNaught. Id. In dismissing that case with prejudice for failure to comply with court orders, failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, and for frivolity, the Central District Court stated Neuman's pattern of behavior was "intended either to vent his anger and frustrations on the Court or to engage in vexatious behavior intended to consume the resources of the parties and the Court." Id. at *3. During this suit, Assistant Attorney General Terence Corrigan sent Neuman a letter informing him his suit was frivolous and supplying Neuman with a motion to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit.

Because of that letter, Neuman filed suit in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court of Sangamon County, Illinois, no. 09-L-88, styled Neuman v. Illinois, et al. The thirty-five page complaint in that case had thirty-seven causes of action and mirrored the instant complaint in that it was a long, rambling rant about the harms supposedly perpetuated against Neuman. All of the defendants in that case, with the exception of Brian Nemenoff, are also named defendants in this case. During the course of the Sangamon County case, certain defendants filed a motion to dismiss and a request for sanctions to prevent Neuman from further litigation without court order. Judge Leslie Graves granted the motion to dismiss, granted the motion for sanctions, and asked defense counsel to submit a draft order, which she signed. Neuman claims no one in the Circuit Clerk's office mailed him a copy of the final judgment until he asked for a copy. Judge Graves similarly granted the motion for sanctions, restricting Neuman's filing of future lawsuits in the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Illinois. This order has inspired the instant suit, where Neuman has named every person, office, building and judge that he associates with the Sangamon County case.

Law and Application

1. Venue is proper.

Venue for civil actions where jurisdiction is not founded solely on diversity of citizenship may only be brought in (1) a judicial district where any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in the same state, (2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated, or (3) a judicial district in which any defendant may be found, if there is no district in which the action may otherwise be brought.

28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

This case presents a unique situation where every single named defendant is either immune from suit or lacks the capacity to be sued, discussed in more detail later. The inevitable end result is dismissal of all the claims, no matter which district this suit proceeds in. Of course, venue must still be proper. The residency of the named defendants lacking the capacity to be sued-the courthouses-will not be considered. A reasonable argument could be made that the residencies of the immune defendants should not be considered, either, but that would leave zero defendants' residencies to consider for venue purposes. In that case, venue would be proper under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1391(b)(3). If the residencies of the defendants with the capacity to be sued are considered, venue is proper pursuant to ...


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