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McCuan v. Campanella

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 26, 2016

JOHN McCUAN, Plaintiff,
JUDGE CAMPANELLA, et al., Defendants.


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. District Judge

         On June 3, 2016, Plaintiff John McCuan filed an unsigned Complaint (Doc. 1) in this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In it, he named as defendants thirty-one known and numerous unknown public officials, local merchants, and individuals in Perry and Williamson Counties, Illinois (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claimed that these individuals forced him to live in “sexual servitude” for more than two decades and, in the process, infected him with syphilis. Following a real estate dispute with one or more of these defendants, Plaintiff was charged with several crimes that include threatening a public official. Plaintiff requested injunctive relief, including a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) compelling all courts to dismiss any pending criminal charges against Plaintiff (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         On June 10, 2016, this Court entered an Order denying Plaintiff's request for a TRO and directing him to submit a properly signed Complaint on or before July 15, 2016 (Doc. 6). Plaintiff filed a signed First Amended Complaint (Doc. 10) on August 15, 2016, after requesting and receiving an extension of the original deadline for doing so. The First Amended Complaint supersedes and replaces the original, rendering the original Complaint (Doc. 1) void. See Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass'n of Am., 354 F.3d 632, 638 n. 1 (7th Cir. 2004). The First Amended Complaint is now before this Court for preliminary review, along with Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (“IFP motion”) (Doc. 2).

         The Court will first address Plaintiff's request to proceed in this action without prepaying the $400.00 filing fee (see Doc. 2). At the time he filed his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff was not a “prisoner”[1] under the in forma pauperis statute. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h). A federal district court may nevertheless allow a civil case to proceed without prepayment of fees, if the movant “submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets [he] possesses [showing] that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Plaintiff has done so in the instant case (Doc. 2).

         Under § 1915(e)(2), a court can still deny a qualified plaintiff leave to proceed IFP or dismiss a case if the action is clearly frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim, or is a claim for money damages against an immune defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The test for determining if an action is frivolous or without merit is whether the plaintiff can make a rational argument on the law or facts in support of the claim. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Corgain v. Miller, 708 F.2d 1241, 1247 (7th Cir. 1983). An action fails to state a claim if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). When assessing an application to proceed IFP, a district court should inquire into the merits of the movant's claims, and if the court finds them to be frivolous, it should deny leave to proceed IFP. Lucien v. Roegner, 682 F.2d 625, 626 (7th Cir. 1982).

         First Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint is clearly frivolous (Doc. 1, 1-2). In it, he names fifty-three known defendants as well as an “undetermined number of John Doe and Jane Doe Defendants” (Doc. 10, pp. 1-3). The known defendants include an impressive list of Hollywood actors and actresses, [2] private citizens, state officials, and a satanic cult. He fails to mention most of them in the First Amended Complaint, often focusing instead on the conduct of individuals who are not named as defendants.

         Plaintiff describes events dating back to 1983, when he met Debbie Sharow in Long Island, New York. Sharow allegedly said that she wanted to “punk [him] out” (Doc. 10-2, p. 1). Plaintiff had no idea what this meant, until Sharow and other members of the Leviathan Church, a satanic cult, drugged and abused Plaintiff in numerous states that include Illinois. For more than thirty years, these cult members regularly drugged Plaintiff, forced him to sign contracts, sexually assaulted him, and took his money (id. at 4).

         Plaintiff claims that officials in Williamson and Perry Counties were involved in this conspiracy. To silence Plaintiff, they charged him with crimes that resulted in his incarceration at various times during the past thirty-three years. While incarcerated, Plaintiff alleges that he was repeatedly drugged, raped, and videotaped by officials who are not named as defendants in this action. These videotapes were released to undisclosed individuals. Plaintiff has viewed them on cable television (id).

         Plaintiff goes on to allege, tangentially, that Shannen Doherty, a star of the hit television series 90210, repeatedly visited his parents' home in 2003. Doherty demanded that Plaintiff assassinate President George W. Bush, Jr. because he would not legalize gay marriage. Plaintiff claims that Doherty made this demand of him on three separate occasions.

         In 2004, Plaintiff was taken into custody for an undisclosed period of time. He was allegedly drugged, assaulted, and subjected to threats on his life by officials at Williamson County Jail. Plaintiff does not identify these individuals (even in generic terms) or name them as defendants in this action.

         Following his release, Sharow again found Plaintiff and subjected him to another decade of involuntary sexual servitude. Beginning in 2013 or 2014, Plaintiff alleges that members of the Leviathan Church and local law enforcement officials began pressuring Plaintiff to “sign over deeds to [his] house and property” while also forcing him to make gay porn (id. at 11-12). When he refused, Plaintiff was charged with threatening a public official in Perry County, Illinois. The instant action followed.

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief against the defendants. He seeks an order dismissing all charges now pending against him and an order restraining defendants from ...

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