Hieshetter v. Amann

Decision Date22 January 2020
Docket NumberCase No. 1:19-cv-725
PartiesMARTA JO HIESHETTER, Plaintiff, v. BRITTIAN AMANN, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of Michigan

Hon. Paul L. Maloney


This is an action brought by pro se plaintiff Marta Jo Hieshetter. See Compl. (ECF No. 1). In her present lawsuit,1 plaintiff has filed a 20-page complaint with 63 pages of attachments. Plaintiff's complaint names 17 defendants: Brittan Amann (plaintiff's daughter) (sometimes referred to as "Brittian Amann"); Benjamin Amann (Brittan's husband)2 and CEO of Grand Rapids Foam Technologies ("GRFT")); GRFT; Jordan Kramer (plaintiff's daughter); Attorney Pamela J. Cross (named as the "corporate attorney" for GRFT) (sometimes referred to as "Pamel" J. Cross); "Court Administrator" Michael Tomich; Allie C. Sawyer (friend of plaintiff's daughter); Kent County Probate Judge David M. Murkowski; Attorney Charles Clapp (plaintiff's attorney); Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer; Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud; the State of Michigan; Robert Cahill (CEO of "Hospice"); "Hospice"; Chris Winkle (CEO ofSunrise Senior Living, Inc.("Sunrise")); Sunrise; and, Deborah Rost (a person connected with Sunrise). Id. For the reasons discussed below, this matter will be dismissed.

I. Plaintiff's complaint

Plaintiff is a 65-year-old Michigan resident who alleged that she is "enslaved, detained, prisoned, kept against her will and suffering abuse in Sunrise Senior Living [Center]". Id. at PageID.2. Plaintiff submitted documents which indicate that her daughter, Brittan Amann, filed a petition to be appointed guardian in the Kent County Probate Court, that defendant Judge Murkowski appointed Attorney Charles Clapp to represent plaintiff on the petition, that plaintiff wrote letters to Judge Murkowski contesting the appointment, and that non-party Judge Terrence J. Ackert appointed Brittan Amann as temporary guardian after the hearing. See Exhibits (ECF Nos. 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, and, 1-7). On August 29, 2019, plaintiff's fiancé Fred Stampone sent a certified letter to Judge Murkowski with a rent agreement and receipt in response to the Judge's order, and advised the Judge (among other things): that plaintiff wants him to be her guardian; that he has lived with plaintiff for over 10 years; and that she "needs another cancer Treatment or she will die." Stampone Letter (ECF No. 1-12).3

Among plaintiff's allegations are the following: she needs a second medical opinion and cancer treatment; she contests state court proceedings with respect to her competency (plaintiff signed a Power of Attorney on June 24, 2019, "the very same day that she was declared incapacitated and incompetent"); she disputes the validity of the Power of Attorney; she wants a different "Conservator guardian"; she found out on July 5, 2019, that her daughter, defendantBrittan Amann, "had stolen all of my life savings"; she has disputes with a defendant state judge and a defendant state court administrator; she wrote letters to a number state officials asking them to investigate her family members, the probate judge, Sunrise and others "for criminal activities or unethical practices"; and, she alleges that personnel at Sunrise are abusing her by "putting Gravy on my food when I have a Heart Condition". Id. at PageID.4-7.

Plaintiff contends that defendants are violating her federal constitutional rights as follows: 4th Amendment (unreasonable searches); 5th Amendment (depriving her of property without due process of law); 8th Amendment (cruel and unusual punishment); 13th Amendment (slavery or involuntary servitude); and 14th Amendment (due process, equal protection under the law, deprivation of property). Id. at PageID.7-8. Plaintiff's claims also include: denial of medical treatment; mental anguish; abuse of power; invasion of privacy; "criminal and unethical practice"; harassment; a pre-emptive wrongful death suit "in case she dies during these proceedings"; conspiracy; "Failure to Assist"; and violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. at PageID.2-3. In addition, plaintiff's complaint refers to the Court's jurisdiction "under Civil Rights, 440 Other Civil Rights, and 446 Americans with Disabilities - Other", apparently referencing "Nature of suit" categories from the Civil Cover Sheet (Compl. at PageID.3, Civil Cover Sheet (ECF No. 1-1)).

Plaintiff seeks $100 million of damages and relief including the following: a second medical opinion; more cancer treatments; emancipation from her daughter and guardian Brittan Amann and the State of Michigan; a court order to "investigate all defendants from criminal charges and being unethical"; "changing her Will"; a "protection order" against Brittan Amann "to stay away from plaintiff"; an order "for Brittan to return all of plaintiff's money", mail and papers taken from plaintiff's home; "an order for this case to go on in the event that I should die beforethe end of this case"; "an order changing [plaintiff's] Last Will and Testament to leaving Brittan Amann and Jordan Kramer only one dollar each and I plaintiff Marta Hieshetter leave all my remaining money (less of the two dollars for my daughters) and assets to Frederick Stampone"; "general and special damages"; and other relief. Compl. at PageID.2-3, 20. Based on these claims, plaintiff alleged that this Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question jurisdiction), 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (diversity jurisdiction), and §§ 1343(1), (3) and (4) [sic]. Id. at PageID.2, 4.4; Civil Cover Sheet (ECF No. 1-1, PageID.21).

II. Lack of diversity jurisdiction

As an initial matter, the Court does not have diversity jurisdiction in this case.

Title 28 U.S.C. § 1332 authorizes district courts to exercise diversity jurisdiction only when there is complete diversity of citizenship. Probus v. Charter Communications, LLC, 234 Fed. Appx. 404, 407 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 584, 119 S. Ct. 1563, 143 L.Ed.2d 760 (1999)). Complete diversity exists only when no plaintiff and no defendant are citizens of the same state. Curry v. U.S. Bulk Transport, Inc., 462 F.3d 536, 540 (6th Cir.2006) (citing Jerome-Duncan, Inc. v. Auto-by-Tel, LLC, 176 F.3d 904, 907 (6th Cir.1999)).
The general rule is that for the purpose of determining diversity jurisdiction and removability, a corporation is deemed to be a citizen both of any state where it is incorporated and the state where it maintains its principal place of business. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1)

Wolf v. Bankers Life & Casualty Co., 519 F. Supp. 2d 674, 678 (W.D. Mich. 2007).

Plaintiff is a citizen of Michigan. In her complaint, plaintiff lists the following defendants as residing in or having offices in Michigan: Brittan Amann; Benjamin Amann; Michael Tomich; Judge David Murkowski; Governor Whitmer; Solicitor General Hammoud; "CEO Robert Cahill and Hospice:"; Charles Clapp; Deborah Rost; Sunrise; GRFT; and, Allie C. Sawyer. Compl. at PageID.1-2. The only defendants who are listed as residing outside of Michigan are Jordan Kramer (California) and Chris Winkle (Virginia). Id. Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate complete diversity jurisdiction. Accordingly, this case will proceed under the Court's federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States").

III. Lack of subject matter jurisdiction

Plaintiff's claims against Charles Clapp, Chris Winkle, Sunrise, Deborah Rost, Robert Cahill, Hospice, GRFT, Pamela J. Cross, and Benjamin Amann will be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. "Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction" which "possess only that power authorized by Constitution and statute." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). "It is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction." Id. (internal citations omitted). Federal subject-matter jurisdiction "can never be waived or forfeited," Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 141 (2012), and "courts are obligated to consider sua sponte whether they have such jurisdiction." Vander Boegh v. EnergySolutions, Inc., 772 F.3d 1056, 1064 (6th Cir. 2014). See Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006) (Federal courts "have an independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even in the absence of a challenge from any party.").

"[A] district court may, at any time, sua sponte dismiss a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when the allegations of a complaint are totally implausible, attenuated, unsubstantial, frivolous, devoid of merit, or no longer open to discussion." Apple v. Glenn, 183 F.3d 477, 479 (6th Cir. 1999).). It is well-established that this Court has a duty to read a pro se plaintiff's complaint indulgently. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). However, while pro se pleadings are to be liberally construed, see Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011), "this court is not required to conjure up unpled allegations," Dietz v. Sanders, 100 Fed. Appx. 334, 338 (6th Cir. 2004).

A. Defendants Clapp, Winkle, Rost, Sunrise, Cahill, and Hospice

Plaintiff's complaint alleged that defendants Clapp, Winkle, and Cahill did not return telephone calls, respond to her certified letters, or talk to her fiancé (Fred Stampone). Specifically, plaintiff claims that Charles Clapp, her attorney in the probate proceedings, did not return her telephone calls and refused to talk to her fiancé (id. at PageID.60); that Sunrise CEO Chris Winkle did not respond to a certified letter that stating "I am a prisoner here and I am request [sic] from permission from you to leave this facility," requesting all papers "allowing you to keep me here against my will",...

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