United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
REBECCA R. PALLMEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
John G. Curry has been embroiled in litigation with his
ex-wife, Defendant Constance V. Curry, concerning custody and
support for the couple's two children. The litigation is
pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Curry has now
turned to this court, alleging that his former wife, her
attorney, and two state court judges have violated
Plaintiff's rights under state and federal statutes and
the United States Constitution. Defendants Constance Curry
and her attorney, Jane F. Fields, have moved to dismiss the
case, as have Defendants Mark J. Lopez and Gregory E. Ahern,
both Associate Judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Plaintiff moves for certain miscellaneous relief, as well,
including an order requiring Defendants to reimburse him for
the costs of service of process in this litigation. For
numerous reasons, this case must be dismissed. The motions to
dismiss [17, 22] are granted, and Plaintiff's motion 
is granted with respect to cost of service and otherwise
allegations are presumed true for purposes of this motion.
Berger v. Nat'l Coll. Athletic Ass'n, 843
F.3d 285, 298 (7th Cir. 2016). Plaintiff alleges that until
2015, he was employed with the Chicago Fire Department.
(Compl. ¶ 4.) He and Defendant Constance V. Curry, the
parents of two children, have been divorced since 2007.
(Id. ¶¶ 10-17.) In 2006 and 2007, the
Currys entered into a series of custody agreements providing
that Ms. Curry had sole custody of the children, Mr.
Curry's income from the Chicago Fire Department would be
garnished by $1, 070 per month to provide financial support,
and Mr. Curry would inform Ms. Curry within thirty days of
any changes to his income. (Id. ¶¶ 15-17.)
next several years, the Currys resolved disagreements
concerning their children and finances informally. The accord
broke down, however, in late 2014, when text messages from
Plaintiff's son generated concerns about Ms. Curry's
behavior, and Plaintiff petitioned the Circuit Court of Cook
County to award him custody of both children. (Id.
¶¶ 18, 19, 21.) The case was assigned to Defendant
Lopez. (Id. ¶ 22.)
Lopez ordered the Currys to participate in mediation.
(Id. ¶ 25) Shortly thereafter, Ms. Curry,
through her attorney, Defendant Jane Fields, requested that
Mr. Curry make certain financial disclosures. (Id.
¶ 30.) On June 16, 2015, Judge Lopez found Mr. Curry to
be in indirect civil contempt, citing his “contumacious
willful failure” to inform Ms. Curry of increases to
his income. (Id. ¶ 35.) The following month,
the judge modified the child support obligation, increasing
Mr. Curry's monthly payment to $1, 825. (Id.
¶ 39.) Judge Lopez also ordered Mr. Curry to pay an
additional $365 per month in “retroactive child support
and interest.” (Id.)
August 16, 2015, Mr. Curry retired from the Chicago Fire
Department. (Id. ¶ 40.) He notified the Circuit
Court and his ex-wife that he would not have any income for
up to two months following his retirement, at which point he
would begin receiving pension benefits. (Id. ¶
41.) Mr. Curry moved for a reduction in his support
obligation in light of his reduced income, but Judge Lopez
denied the motion on the ground that Plaintiff had left his
job voluntarily. (Id. ¶¶ 43, 47.) The
court also ordered Mr. Curry to pay $4, 200 in attorney fees
at a rate of $500 per month. (Id. ¶ 103.) On
Ms. Curry's motion, the court also ordered Plaintiff to
execute a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order
(QILDRO) and consent to a monthly garnishment of $2, 190 from
his pension income. (Id. ¶ 44.) Mr. Curry
executed the QILDRO on a court form that included information
concerning state and federal limits on withholding.
(Id. ¶ 45.)
he executed the QILDRO, Curry challenged the validity of this
arrangement by filing a new action in the Circuit Court of
Cook County. (Id. ¶¶ 45, 46.) Judge Thomas
R. Allen, who is not a party here, dismissed this new action,
pointing out that the proper “procedural avenue was to
appeal Judge Lopez's order.” (Id. ¶
46.) Then on December 17, 2015, Judge Lopez again found Mr.
Curry in indirect civil contempt, this time due to Mr.
Curry's failure to submit payments for three months
following his retirement. (Id. ¶ 47.) Mr. Curry
sought a modification of that order, arguing that the
garnishment amount exceeded regulatory guidelines and his
personal finances, but Judge Lopez rejected the argument and
denied a subsequent motion for reconsideration. (Id.
¶¶ 51, 52.) The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed
the contempt child support order and the contempt finding.
See Curry v. Curry, No. 1-16-0965, 2016 WL 7208982,
at *4 (Ill.App.Ct. Dec. 9, 2016). The Appellate Court
concluded, however, that it lacked jurisdiction to review the
denial of Mr. Curry's petition for modification of the
child support obligation because it was not a final order.
Id. at *2. Plaintiff sought leave to appeal that
ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court (id. ¶
85); his petition was denied on May 24, 2017. (Pl.'s
Resp. in Opp. to Defs.' 12(b)(6) Mot. to Dismiss , at
Curry eventually withdrew his custody petition.
(Compl. ¶¶ 58-60.) For reasons not
revealed in the complaint, at a hearing on October 26, 2016,
Judge Lopez ordered Mr. Curry to be taken into custody. He
withdrew the order only after Plaintiff offered to pay
outstanding financial obligations with funds he expected to
recover from a settlement in an unrelated case. (Id.
¶ 62.) Judge Lopez agreed to this arrangement on the
condition that the settlement proceeds be tendered directly
to Defendant Fields and held in her Interest on Lawyer Trust
Account (IOLTA) “for further determination of
allocation by this Court.” (Id.) Mr. Curry
ultimately tendered $69, 000 from these funds at a hearing on
April 28, 2017. (Id. ¶¶ 91-92.)
meantime, Mr. Curry successfully sought substitution of Judge
Lopez, and the custody dispute was reassigned to Defendant
Ahern. (Id. ¶¶ 66, 70-72.) On February 6,
2017, Mr. Curry filed a “Petition for Punishment, For
Prosecution, and For Other Just and Proper Relief, ”
but Judge Ahern “refus[ed] to recognize” that
Petition and ordered Plaintiff to obtain leave of court
before filing any additional pleadings. (Id.
¶¶ 79, 150-57.) On April 28, 2017, Judge Ahern
ordered Mr. Curry to “maintain a job diary of at least
5 contacts per week.” (Id. ¶ 161.) Two
months later, Judge Ahern ordered that the funds being held
in Ms. Fields' IOLTA account be used to pay Ms.
Fields' attorney fees and some or all of Mr. Curry's
delinquent support obligations, and that Plaintiff's
monthly support obligation increase to $2, 489.52. (Pl.'s
Mot. for Miscellaneous Relief , at 3-5.)
Curry filed this case on May 16, 2017, alleging that
Defendants' conduct violates federal and state laws. He
seeks $500, 000 in compensatory damages as well as punitive
damages against the individual Defendants. (Compl. ¶
175.) He also requests that the funds held in Ms. Fields'
IOLTA account “be released/returned immediately,
” that Defendants be “punished as in cases of
contempt of court, ” and that this court order law
enforcement officials to initiate “criminal prosecution
of the Defendants . . . under 18 U.S.C. § 242.”
(Id.) In addition, in a Motion for Miscellaneous
Relief , Mr. Curry alleges that Defendants have continued
to violate his federal and state law rights by entering and
enforcing child support and income withholding orders and by
refusing to waive service of summons in this federal case. He
seeks removal of the state custody case to this court and an
order staying all of his payment obligations.
Defendants have moved to dismiss this case on various
grounds. Defendants Lopez and Ahern, both state court judges,
contend they are immune from civil liability. Ms. Curry and
her attorney, Defendant Fields, contend that Plaintiff has
not stated a claim that arises under the court's
jurisdiction, and that any valid challenge to the state court
proceedings would be subject to Younger abstention.
Regardless whether Younger abstention is appropriate
here, this court concludes it lacks jurisdiction to proceed.
Apart from his request for reimbursement of service costs
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(d)(2), Plaintiff's motion for
miscellaneous relief is denied.