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Coger v. Patrick

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

June 4, 2018





         It is respectfully recommended that the Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendants Williams, Mullen, Templeton, Patrick, and Smylie be granted, Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment be denied, and the Complaint be dismissed in its entirety with prejudice.

         II. REPORT


         Plaintiff Frederick Coger commenced this action on November 1, 2017 against the following persons: Cynthia R. Johnson and Joanna Williams, both residents of the Washington state who were plaintiffs in child support actions against Mr. Coger, and various persons holding positions in Washington State (George H. Smylie, Conference Board Manager in the State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services in Olympia, Washington, and Barbara Miner, Director and Superior Court Clerk at the King County Courthouse in Seattle, Washington) and in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who are administrative functionaries of the courts (Robert Patrick, Jr. the Director of DHS Bureau of Child Support Enforcement), Kara N. Templeton, the administrator for the Bureau of Driver Licenses in Pennsylvania, and William P. Mullen, the Sheriff of Allegheny County).[1]

         Coger describes the nature of his claim as a “Tort of Deceit” (ECF No. 1 at 1). Coger alleges Joanna Williams and Cynthia R. Johnson forged his name onto documents in Washington State, in 1993 and 2000 respectively, without his assent, and that all the other Defendants are “...Wrongdoers who conspired with both woman [sic] to infringe upon my life and liberty under the U.S. Constitution.” (ECF No. 1 at 8). Plaintiff alleges Defendants have suspended his license, that he has been falsely imprisoned and has been blackmailed. Plaintiff alleges violations of: a) 8 U.S. Code 1324C- Penalties for Document Fraud; b) 14th Amendment and 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution; and c) the separations of powers doctrine. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Plaintiff seeks $15 million “for economic hardship/injury” and “punitive money damages for the physical hardship and psychological effects that the wrongdoers have caused by wrongfully incarcerating me.” (ECF No. 1 at 8, 9).

         Plaintiff's “Exhibits in Support of Complaint” (ECF No. 2), is a letter he wrote to Sheriff Mullen on November 21, 2017, weeks after filing this lawsuit, averring that Plaintiff “does not give permission to administrate my property (my body also). I demand also that this office vacate said fraudulent warrant, because there are not warrants for child support, only “writ of attachments” from business law issued by a family court clerks, which is civil. There is a federal lawsuit against you and said office at this time.” We construe this as a supplemental amendment to the Complaint.

         In addition to the complaint, the Court has considered matters of public record of which the court may properly take judicial notice. Thus, we note two cases in the Court of Common Pleas for Allegheny County, Family Division, filed by Defendants herein, Cynthia Johnson and Joanna Williams: 1) Johnson v. Coger, FD 02-2384, [2] in which Cynthia Johnson filed a Complaint in Support on September 26, 2002, and 2) Williams v. Coger, FD 98-3236, in which Joanna Williams filed a Complaint in Support on November 19, 1998.[3] From these limited records we glean the following. In the Williams matter, the docket sheet includes reference to an Order of Court dated 11/6/1998 wherein Judge K.R. Mulligan in King County, Washington ordered Coger to pay $314 per month “for support children in arrears set at $24, 566.00.” Coger's wages were later attached, he was found in civil contempt, and a bench warrant was issued on June 9, 2000. The last docket entry in both cases is dated June 29, 2015, a “praecipe for Appearance” wherein Coger is the filing party and the docket text indicates he is “self represented Party in Support.”

         In his Complaint herein, Coger alleges that the basis for federal court jurisdiction is both federal question, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (ECF No. 1 at 6).

         Presently pending are the following: 1) Motions to Dismiss filed by Williams (ECF Nos. 13, 27); 2) Motion to Dismiss filed by Sheriff Mullen (ECF No. 16); 3) Motion to Dismiss filed by Templeton (ECF No. 20); 4) Motion to Dismiss filed by Patrick (ECF No. 28); and 5) Motion to Dismiss filed by Smylie (ECF No. 34).


         Dismissal of a complaint or portion of a complaint is justified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) when a claimant fails to sufficiently state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Avoiding dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) requires a pleading party's complaint to provide “enough factual matter” to allow the case to move beyond the pleading stage of litigation; the pleader must “‘nudge his or her claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.'” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234-35 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atlantic Co. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556, 570 (2007)).

         In assessing the merits of a claim subject to a motion to dismiss, a court must engage in a two-part analysis. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). First, factual and legal elements of a claim must be distinguished. Id. Second, it must be determined whether the facts as alleged support a “plausible claim for relief.” Id. In making the latter determination, the court must be mindful that the matter pleaded need not include “detailed factual allegations, ” Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555), and the court must construe all alleged facts, and draw all inferences gleaned therefrom, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. at 228 (citing Worldcom, Inc. v. Graphnet, Inc., 343 F.3d 651, 653 (3d Cir. 2003)). Moreover, a pleading party need only “put forth allegations that ‘raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s].'” Fowler, 578 F.3d at 213 (quoting Graff v. Subbiah Cardiology Assoc., Ltd., 2008 WL 2312671 (W.D. Pa. June 4, 2008)). A well-pleaded complaint, even when “it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of…facts is improbable, ” will not be dismissed as long as the pleader demonstrates that his or her claim is plausible. Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56).

         Nevertheless, the facts provided do need to raise the expectation of relief above a purely speculative level, and must include more than “labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231 - 32 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 554-56). Rule 8(a)(2) “requires a ‘showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief.” Id. at 232. “[T]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, ...

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