United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Rochelle Quilling filed this lawsuit asserting fraudulent
foreclosure claims against Defendants Deutsche Bank National
Trust Company, Jerry and Michelle Reed, Sharon Cross, Jon
Battani, Kathy Mordini, Steven Lindberg, Charles Woodworth,
Andrew Toennies, Joseph Reames, John Flood, and Carolyn
Grosboll (Doc. 2). Before the Court is Quilling's Motion
for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
("IFP") (Doc. 3). For the following reasons, the
motion is DENIED.
28 U.S.C. § 1915, an indigent party may commence a
federal court action without paying required costs and fees
upon submission of an affidavit asserting the inability
“to pay such fees or give security therefor” and
stating “the nature of the action, defense or appeal
and the affiant's belief that the person is entitled to
redress.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Section 1915 is
meant to ensure that indigent litigants have meaningful
access to the federal courts and applies to non-prisoner
plaintiffs and prisoners alike. Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).
has sufficiently demonstrated her indigence in this case. She
states in her motion and accompanying affidavit that her
gross wages are $1, 214 per month, and her monthly expenses
are greater than her monthly wages. She has no other income
and no savings. In addition, she supports her minor child.
Based upon this information, Quilling is unable to pay the
costs of commencing her lawsuit.
Court's inquiry does not end there, however, because
§ 1915(e)(2) requires careful threshold scrutiny of a
Complaint filed by a plaintiff seeking to proceed IFP. Thus,
the Court can dismiss a case if it determines 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); see also Hoskins v.
Poelstra, 320 F.3d 761, 763 (7th Cir. 2003)
(“District judges have ample authority to dismiss
frivolous or transparently defective suits spontaneously, and
thus save everyone time and legal expense”).
conducting the § 1915(e)(2) screening, the Court is
required to determine if the Complaint presents any
potentially meritorious factual and legal grounds. The
standards for deciding whether to dismiss a case for failure
to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) are the same
as those for reviewing claims under the Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Dewalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607,
611-12 (7th Cir. 2000). Specifically, the Complaint must
contain allegations that go beyond a merely speculative
level. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). While Pro se plaintiffs' allegations are
given particular lenience and need not be artfully pled so
long as they present a basic story that holds together, if
the lack of organization or coherence is too confusing to
determine which facts allegedly constitute wrongful conduct,
dismissal is appropriate. See e.g. Swanson v. Citibank,
N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010); Stanard v.
Nygren, 658 F.3d 792, 798 (7th Cir. 2011) (finding the
plaintiff's Complaint was too verbose and convoluted to
justify allowing it to proceed beyond screening even if it
did present potentially meritorious claims buried as a needle
amongst a haystack).
alleges she was unlawfully evicted from her home due to a
fraudulent foreclosure and that she lost wages because she
ran an in-home daycare from her home. She further alleges she
was harassed, bribed, lied to, and lied on by the defendants.
Because of her eviction, she received a lien against her from
the Village of Swansea Sewer District and the lien still
stands today. Quilling seeks injunctive relief.
cannot maintain her claims against the defendants in federal
court. She is essentially claiming that the state court erred
in allowing the foreclosure of her home. As such, her claim
should have been brought in state court or on appeal from the
state court's judgment. She cannot proceed in this Court
because, under the principles of abstention and what is
commonly referred to as the Rooker-Feldman doctrine,
the law does not allow federal district courts to review the
judgments of state courts. Under the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine, a federal district court may not grant relief from
a plaintiff's injury that “stems from the state
judgment- an erroneous judgment perhaps, entered after
procedures said to be unconstitutional, but a judgment
nonetheless.” Garry v. Geils, 82 F.3d 1362,
1366 (7th Cir. 1996). Therefore, this Court lacks
jurisdiction to entertain Quilling's claims.
Complaint also fails because she has not alleged a basis on
which this Court could exercise jurisdiction, even if her
case were not barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
Federal courts are limited to hearing cases in which the
plaintiff raises a federal question or where the
defendants' citizenship is diverse from that of the
plaintiff. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332. Here,
Quilling has not asserted claims based on federal law nor has
she alleged that each of the defendants is a citizen of a
state other than Illinois. Thus, dismissal is appropriate.
foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in
forma pauperis is DENIED and this
action is DISMISSED without prejudice
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff's
pending Motion for Recruitment of Counsel (Doc. 4) and Motion
for Service of Process at Government Expense (Doc. 5) are
DENIED as MOOT. The Clerk of Court is
DIRECTED to close this case.