United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell, United States District Judge
case was transferred from the United States District Court
for the District of Columbia. Plaintiff has filed an
application to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 2), which will
be granted. The Court will screen Plaintiff's complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), and dismiss it with
respect to in forma pauperis cases, Congress has provided
that a district court “shall dismiss the case at any
time if the court determines” that the action is
“frivolous or malicious, ” “fails to state
a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
While much of § 1915 applies to prisoner litigation,
§ 1915(e) also applies to all in forma pauperis
proceedings. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127
(9th Cir. 2000). If a pleading can be cured by the
allegation of other facts, a pro se litigant is
entitled to an opportunity to amend before the final
dismissal of the action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203
F.3d 1122, 1127-29 (9th Cir. 2000).
caption of Plaintiff's complaint names Maricopa County,
the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and United States
House and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairmen Robert
Goodlatte and Charles Grassley. The body of the complaint
says nothing about the chairmen. It instead alleges that
judges and commissioners of the Maricopa County Superior
Court breached their duties in overseeing the estate of
Eleanor R. Ball (Plaintiff's mother), that Maricopa
County and the Board of Supervisors are responsible for
supervising the superior court judges and commissioners, and
that the County and Board of Supervisors are therefore liable
for breaches of their duties.
just the latest in a long string of cases Plaintiff has filed
in this Court, most of which arise out of the alleged
improper administration of his mother's estate. See
08-cv-00746-GMS, 09-cv-00065-GMS, 09-cv-00066-GMS,
09-cv-00083-JAT, 09-cv-00086-GMS, 09-cv-00085-GMS,
09-cv-00084-JAT, 09-cv-00123-GMS, 09-cv-00122-GMS,
09-cv-00635-LOA, 09-cv-00633-DKD, 10-cv-02107-ROS,
10-cv-02432-MHB, 11-cv-00655-MHB, 12-cv-00037-JAT,
12-cv-01574-BSB, 13-cv-01315-MHB, 14-cv-00248-GMS,
15-cv-01327-NVW. For several reasons, Plaintiff's
complaint must be dismissed.
Plaintiff identifies no basis for the Court's
jurisdiction. He alleges that jurisdiction is based on
“appointment of a special prosecutor.” Doc. 1,
¶ 3. This allegation does not identify a legitimate
basis for federal court jurisdiction.
Plaintiff fails state any legal theory under which he is
suing. He alleges simply that Defendants breached a duty of
public trust. Id. at 9, 11.
his allegation that Maricopa County and its Board of
Supervisors oversee the work of superior court judges and
commissioners is simply incorrect. As a matter of judicial
notice, the Court notes that superior court judges are
appointed by the governor, that commissioners are appointed
by the superior court's presiding judge, and that the
judges and commissioners serve in the Arizona judicial branch
of government, which is overseen by the Arizona Supreme
Court. The judges and commissioners are not supervised by the
County or the Board of Supervisors.
the gravamen of Plaintiffs complaint is that judges and
commissioners overseeing his mother's estate breached
public duties. But federal law grants absolute immunity to
judges acting in their judicial capacities. Stump v.
Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 355 (1978). Arizona common and
statutory law also grant immunity for judicial acts.
Acevedo v. Pima County Adult Prob. Dept., 690 P.2d
38, 40 (Ariz. 1984); Lavit v. Superior Court in and for
County of Maricopa, 839 P.2d 1141, 1144 (Ariz.Ct.App.
1992); A.R.S. § 12-820.02(A)(1).
Court concludes that Plaintiff could not amend his complaint
to state a cognizable claim for breaches of duty by judges
and commissioners of Maricopa County Superior Court arising
from their judicial actions. The Court notes that Plaintiff
has already failed in his attempts to sue the fiduciaries,
trustees, attorneys, and others involved in his mother's
estate, as reflected in the list of cases set forth above.
Attempting to base his recovery on the actions of judges and
commissioners fares no better.
Plaintiffs application to proceed in District Court without