September 5, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:16-CV-7478 -
Marvin E. Aspen, Judge.
Easterbrook, Hamilton, and Scudder, Circuit Judges.
Hamilton, Circuit Judge.
George Kiebala appeals from the dismissal of his complaint
against defendant-appellee Derek Boris. Kiebala contends the
district court abused its discretion in failing to suggest
how Kiebala, who represented himself in the district court,
could amend his complaint to avoid dismissal. He also argues
that the district court erred in holding that his libel claim
is barred by the statute of limitations.
affirm. District judges do not have an affirmative duty to
coach or second-guess the choices that parties, even pro
se parties, make about how to litigate their cases. We
also agree with the district court that the applicable
Illinois statute of limitations bars Kiebala's libel
Factual and Procedural Background
reviewing a dismissal for failure to state a claim, we accept
the facts as alleged by the plaintiff without vouching for
their objective truth. Goldberg v. United States,
881 F.3d 529, 531 (7th Cir. 2018). Kiebala owns a luxury car
share service called Curvy Road Holdings, LLC. It allows
customers to purchase time-ownership rights to high-end
automobiles that are owned by "investors." In
September 2009, Derek Boris became a Curvy Road
"investor" and received a share of the rental
revenue when customers drove his Lamborghini Gallardo. All
was well for the first few months as Kiebala made payments to
Boris in late 2009 and March 2010.
2010, however, Boris withdrew his car from the program, and
Kiebala's check for his final payment to Boris did not
clear. Kiebala emailed Boris on July 16, 20, 22, and August
6, 2010, to explain that various medical and business
difficulties were preventing payment. Boris never received
his final payment, and communications between the two seemed
to come to an end.
period of quiet, though, Boris posted angry and derogatory
statements on various websites about Kiebala and Curvy Road.
He did this on at least eight occasions from December 2010
through July 2011. Sharing his thoughts on customer review
sites such as Scamexposure.com, Private-complaints, com, and
Ripoffreport.com, Boris allegedly revealed (we must assume)
Curvy Road's confidential business information and opined
that "it is a FRAUD company" whose "owner
simply cannot be trusted [because] [h]e has lied repeatedly
and he will steal your money."
final posting from this period, central to the statute of
limitations issue here, was made to RipoffReport.com on July
20, 2011. The subject heading asserted that Kiebala was a
"SCAM and FRAUD!" and "Stole Money!" The
The company rents some of its exotic cars from individual
owners such as myself, and pays out a commission based off of
actual customer use. However, their excuse for not paying
THOUSANDS of owed commissions to me is that "my wife
took my money"! This from a supposed
'professional' company, makes it clear that lying and
stealing are part of George Kiebala [and] Curvy Road['s]
... daily management! I would advise EVERYONE, customers and
potential partners, to STAY AWAY from this thief, or you risk
losing everything. This company, and the owners, simply
cannot be trusted!!
with that, the dispute went dormant for several years.
fall of 2014, Boris again turned his sights on Kiebala. On
October 22, 2014, Boris emailed Kiebala that he wanted to
give him "a chance to make good on our agreement before
I put my review of your company on various websites."
The parties did not reach a settlement agreement, and Boris
launched a new round of internet postings.
21, 2015, on a new website called scamorg.com, Boris posted a
statement almost identical to his RipoffReport post of July
20, 2011. And on July 22, 2015, Boris returned to
RipoffReport.com and "updated" his original July
20, 2011 post. According to Kiebala, "No additional
information appears to have been provided when the post was
updated." Kiebala claims, and we assume for purposes of
the appeal, that by indicating that his 2011 negative review
was "updated," Boris caused ...