United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
March 11, 2015
SUSAN WEIDMAN, Plaintiff,
BLACKSTONE GROUP et al., Defendants.
RICHARD W. STORY, District Judge.
Plaintiff is a state prisoner who was convicted in - of violating Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") in connection with a scheme to seize foreclosed homes from financial institutions. (Doc. 9-2.) After her convictions, Plaintiff, pro se, filed this action against two financial institutions that she blames, at least in part, for her imprisonment. (Doc. 1.)
Defendant American Homes 4 Rent ("AH4R") specially appeared and filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against it for failure to state a viable claim. (Doc. 9.) Magistrate Judge Walker issued a Report and Recommendation that AH4R's motion be granted. (Doc. 17 ("R&R").)
Judge Walker found that "[t]he only claim Plaintiff remotely connected to AH4R in her complaint is her conspiracy claim... [b]ut Plaintiff has not alleged facts supporting a plausible finding that AH4R conspired with anyone to harm her." ( Id. at 6.) The alleged conspiracy is that AH4R conspired with news media to create a national media campaign against "squatters" - which essentially is what Plaintiff was - leading to Plaintiff's arrest and convictions. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff filed objections to the R&R. (Doc. 23.)
A district judge must conduct a careful and complete review of a magistrate judge's R&R. Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982). The district judge must "make a de novo determination of those portions of the [R&R] to which objection is made, " 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), while those portions of the R&R for which there is no objection are reviewed only for clear error, Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 F.App'x 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006). See Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).
Plaintiff states in her objections that "[t]his is primarily a Federal RICO case per 18 USC 1962 and 1964" and that "[t]he 2 predicate acts are the 2 false arrests [of Plaintiff] in June and October of 2011." (Doc. 23 at 1.) Plaintiff contends "[t]here were never any affidavits of complaint to support these arrests" and she thus was subjected to "a week long show trial and conviction." ( Id. at 2.) There are no allegations in the complaint that AH4R, a corporation, arrested Plaintiff in connection with her state criminal case, and any such allegation would be frivolous. Plaintiff thus has not stated a plausible civil RICO claim against AH4R.
As for her conspiracy claim, Plaintiff points to no allegations in her complaint supporting a plausible claim against AH4R. The R&R correctly found that Plaintiff "alleged [a] conspiratorial scheme by banks and their shell companies to reap profits at the expense of distressed homeowners" without alleging that she was such a homeowner or alleging any harm to herself other than her criminal prosecution. ( See R&R at 17; Doc. 1.) Plaintiff's response is simply that because this is a civil case "the defendants are guilty until proven innocent" and that "the court cannot dismiss this case without a jury trial" because of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 38. (Doc. 23 at 2-3.) Plaintiff's contentions are erroneous as a matter of law.
Plaintiff has pled no facts supporting a finding that AH4R conspired with someone to harm Plaintiff in a manner for which relief may be granted under the law. ( See R&R at 6-8.) Plaintiff's complaint contains no other legally recognizable claim. Plaintiff's dissatisfaction with her judgment of conviction is the genesis of this suit, but she cannot cloak an attack on that judgment in a civil suit against private entities for "$6 Billion in damages." ( See Doc. 23 at 3.)
Accordingly, the Court OVERRULES Plaintiff's objections  and ADOPTS the R&R  as the opinion of the Court. Defendant AH4R's motion to dismiss  is GRANTED. Plaintiff's claims against AH4R are DISMISSED.