United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge
Safron Huot has filed a pro se Complaint, as well as
a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis [DE
3], Motion to Appoint Counsel [DE 4], and Motion to Set Aside
Adoption and Reinstate Full Parental Rights [DE 5]. Because
Plaintiff has submitted a Motion to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis, the Court must conduct an initial screening of
the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
of a complaint drafted by a pro se litigant are held
to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110
(6th Cir. 1991). But see Frengler v. Gen. Motors,
482 F. App'x 975, 976 (6th Cir. 2012) (observing that
“this lenient treatment has limits”). If the
Court determines that this matter is frivolous or malicious,
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from
such relief, dismissal is appropriate. See McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997),
overruled on other grounds by LaFountain v. Harry,
716 F.3d 944, 951 (6th Cir. 2013)). “[U]nder Rule 15(a)
a district court can allow a plaintiff to amend his complaint
even when the complaint is subject to dismissal under [28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)].” LaFountain, 716
F.3d at 951. However, such relief need not be granted when
“the claims are not remediable by amendment, ”
making it “futile to permit an amended
complaint.” See, e.g., Milstead v. Bedford Cty.
Sheriff's Dep't, No. 4:12-CV-52, 2014 WL 420395,
at *9 (E.D. Tenn. Feb. 4, 2014) (citing LaFountain,
716 F.3d at 944).
asserts that federal question jurisdiction is present in this
matter, characterizing it as a civil rights action arising
out of a judicial proceeding that terminated her parental
rights in 2012. [DE 1]. She seeks damages from the Montana
State Department of Child and Family Services, the Montana
Supreme Court, the Deer Lodge County District Court of
Montana, and Judge Ray Dayton, as well as attorneys,
guardians ad litem, psychologists, family members, and other
individuals involved in that proceeding. [Id.]. She
also asks the Court to grant her full custody of her
September 6, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint asserting the
same claims against these Defendants in the United States
District Court for the District of Oregon. See Huot v.
Montana St. Dep't of Child and Family Servs., No.
3:16-cv-1767-KI (D. Oregon Sept. 6, 2016), DE 1. She also
sought the same relief that she has requested in this case.
Id. On September 13, 2016, the Honorable Garr M.
King issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order dismissing
Plaintiff's Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Id. at DE
9. Plaintiff appealed the decision to the United States Court
of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Id. at DE 10. The
Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal for failure to perfect it
in a timely fashion and denied Plaintiff's subsequent
Motion to Reinstate the Appeal. Id. at DE 11, 12.
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has
A claim is barred by the res judicata effect of prior
litigation if all of the following elements are present:
“(1) a final decision on the merits by a court of
competent jurisdiction; (2) a subsequent action between the
same parties or their ‘privies'; (3) an issue in
the subsequent action which was litigated or which should
have been litigated in the prior action; and (4) an identity
of the causes of action.”
Browning v. Levy, 283 F.3d 761, 771-72 (6th Cir.
2002) (quoting Bittinger v. Tecumseh Prods. Co., 123
F.3d 877, 880 (6th Cir. 1997)).
Oregon case, Judge King concluded that “subject matter
jurisdiction is not apparent on the face of the
complaint” and dismissing the case without prejudice.
This qualifies as a final judgment on the merits. See
Hill v. Elting, 9 F. App'x 321, 322 (6th Cir. 2001)
(holding that dismissal of a complaint under § 1915(e)
had res judicata effect on a subsequent identical action).
Plaintiff subsequently filed the Complaint in this Court,
raising the same claims and issues discussed in the Oregon
case against the same Defendants named therein. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's claims are barred by res judicata. The Court
will not grant Plaintiff leave to amend her Complaint because
such an exercise would be futile in this
situation. See Winget v. JP Morgan Chase Bank,
N.A., 537 F.3d 565, 572-73 (6th Cir. 2008) (explaining
that leave to amend is futile if res judicata bars the
for the reasons stated herein, IT IS ORDERED that
Plaintiff's Complaint [DE 1] be, and is, hereby
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
Proceed In Forma Pauperis [DE 3], Motion to Appoint
Counsel [DE 4], and Motion to Set Aside Adoption and
Reinstate Full Parental Rights [DE 5] be, and are, hereby
DENIED AS MOOT.