United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge
Lamont Liggins filed a complaint against the Indiana Child
Support Bureau and the Marshall County Child Support Bureau.
Mr. Liggins also moves to proceed in forma pauperis against
both entities. Mr. Liggins qualifies for a filing fee waiver,
but his complaint doesn't state a claim on which relief
can be granted. Accordingly, Mr. Liggins' motion to
proceed in forma pauperis is denied and his case is
court “may screen the complaint prior to service on the
defendants, and must dismiss the complaint if it fails to
state a claim.” Rowe v. Shake, 196 F.3d 778,
783 (7th Cir. 1999). The court is also compelled to dismiss
an in forma pauperis complaint if it fails to state a claim
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
employ the same standard. Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1027 (7th Cir. 2013). To state a
claim on which relief can be granted, a complaint need only
contain a short and plain statement showing that the
plaintiff is entitled to relief. See EEOC v. Concentra
Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007).
court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in
the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of
Mr. Liggins. See Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d
575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009). A complaint must “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Adams v. City of
Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 728 (7th Cir. 2014).
“Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need
only give the defendant fair notice of what . . . the claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). The court will
interpret Mr. Liggins's complaint liberally because
he's litigating without counsel. See Ray v.
Clements, 700 F.3d 993, 1002 (7th Cir. 2012).
Liggins claims that Marshall County denied his modification
of child support after his wife fraudulently placed him on
child support. Mr. Liggins also contends that Marshall County
garnished his wages to pay for child support without first
properly serving him. Mr. Liggins asks the court to order the
defendants to “discharge the obligation” of child
support and “the debts associated with it, ” and
to award him $300, 000 in damages.
court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to hear this
case. Mr. Liggins asserts causes of action under
both 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Civil action for
deprivation of rights”) and 18 U.S.C. § 241
(“Conspiracy against rights”). 18 U.S.C. §
241 is a criminal provision and doesn't provide a basis
for civil liability. Lerch v. Boyer, 929 F.Supp.
319, 322 (N.D. Ind. March 25, 1996); Pawelek v. Paramount
Studios Corp., 571 F.Supp. 1082, 1803 (N.D. Ill. Sept.
27, 1983). Mr. Liggins's 18 U.S.C. § 241 claim must
U.S.C. § 1983 is the proper mechanism to bring a private
right of action against a municipal or state instrumentality,
but there are caveats to the types of lawsuits can be brought
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. One of these caveats are
domestic-relations lawsuits. The “domestic-relations
exception” discourages federal courts from hearing
cases - including both diversity and federal-question
lawsuits - that would traditionally fall within the ambit of
domestic-relations or family courts. Jones v.
Brennan, 465 F.3d 304, 306 (7th Cir. 2006); Marshall
v. Marshall, 547 U.S. 293, 305-306 (2006);
Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 703 (1992);
Friedlander v. Friedlander, 149 F.3d 739, 740 (7th
exception itself covers a “narrow range of domestic
relations issues involving the granting of divorce, decrees
of alimony, ” and child custody orders. Ankenbrandt
v. Richards, 504 U.S. at 701-702. It is
“materially identical” to the probate exception.
Struck v. Cook Cnty. Pub. Guardian, 508 F.3d 858,
859 (7th Cir. 2007); Jones v. Brennan, 465 F.3d at
306-307 (probate exception); Allen v. Allen, 48 F.3d
at 262 n.3 (7th Cir. 1995) (domestic relations exception).
Both are construed narrowly, with a focus on the need to
prevent federal courts from “disturb[ing] or
affect[ing] the possession of property in the custody of a
state court.” Marshall v. Marshall, 547 U.S.
at 311 (quoting Markham v. Allen, 326 U.S. 490, 494
(1946)). Mr. Liggins's claims against the Indiana Child
Support Bureau and the Marshall County Child Support Bureau
aren't claims over which the district court has
jurisdiction. Dawaji v. Askar, 618 Fed.Appx. 858,
860 (7th Cir. 2015) (no jurisdiction over child support
payments); Friedlander v. Friedlander, 149 F.3d 739,
740 (7th Cir.1998) (same). Mr. Liggins's 42 U.S.C. §
1983 must therefore be dismissed.
court DENIES Mr. Liggins' motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis [Doc. No. 2] and DISMISSES his complaint [Doc.
No. 1]. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment accordingly.
 While Mr. Liggins does not claim
subject-matter jurisdiction based on diversity, the court
notes that all parties are citizens of Indiana and so are not