United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable John J. Tuchi United States District Judge
issue is pro se Plaintiff Garland E Williams's
Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying
Fees or Costs (Doc. 2). Having determined that Plaintiff is
unable to pay the Court's fees, the Court would grant the
Application. However, as set forth below, upon screening
Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1, Compl.) pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court finds that the Plaintiff
fails to state a claim. Thus, the Court dismisses the
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)
cases in which a party is permitted to proceed in forma
pauperis-that is, the party lacks the means to pay court
fees-Congress provided that a district court “shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines”
that the “allegation of poverty is untrue” or
that the “action or appeal” 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). Section 1915(e)
applies to all in forma pauperis proceedings.
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000).
“It is also clear that section 1915(e) not only permits
but requires a district court to dismiss an in forma
pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim.”
Id. at 1127. “The standard for determining
whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the
same as the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard
for failure to state a claim.” Watison v.
Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012).
Sufficiency of a Claim
complaint must include “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must
contain “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim can be based on either (1) the lack
of a cognizable legal theory or (2) insufficient facts to
support a cognizable legal claim. Balistreri v. Pacifica
Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). The
Court is to construe a pro se plaintiff's
complaint “liberally” and afford the plaintiff
“the benefit of any doubt.” Watison, 668
F.3d at 1112 (citation omitted).
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that the Honorable Ivan L. R..
Lemelle, Senior District Court Judge in the Eastern District
of Louisiana, deprived Plaintiff's right to procedural
due process by “neglect[ing] . . . plaintiff's
submitted motions.” (Compl. at 5.) Plaintiff also names
the Clerk of Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana as a
Defendant. Although largely unintelligible, the acts alleged
in Plaintiff's Complaint appear to stem from a case
litigated before Judge Lamelle, Williams v. Department of
Children & Family Services, No. 16-cv-15866 (E.D.
enjoy absolute immunity from suits for damages brought based
on a “judicial act, ” such as those acts
“involved in resolving disputes between parties.”
Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 225-27 (1988). In
addition to “protecting the finality of
judgments” and “discouraging inappropriate
collateral attacks, ” judicial immunity
“protect[s] judicial independence by insulating judges
from vexatious action prosecuted by disgruntled
litigants.” Id. at 225 (citing Bradley v.
Fished, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 335, 348 (1871)). Thus, this
immunity extends even to court clerks, who “have
absolute quasi-judicial immunity from damages for civil
rights violations when they perform tasks that are an
integral part of the judicial process.” Mullis v.
U.S. Bankr. Court for the Dist. of Nev., 828 F.2d 1385,
1390 (9th Cir. 1987).
Complaint challenges the rulings in Plaintiffs prior case in
the Eastern District of Louisiana, which are
“paradigmatic judicial acts.” See
Forrester, 484 U.S. at 227. Thus, absolute judicial
immunity bars any claim for damages against either Defendant.
Id. Although Plaintiff may be unhappy with the
outcome of those proceedings, this Court is not a proper
venue to challenge the correctness of those rulings. Because
Defendants enjoy absolutely immunity, Plaintiffs Complaint
cannot be cured. Therefore, the Court will dismiss the
Complaint with prejudice.
THEREFORE ORDERED dismissing Plaintiffs Complaint (Doc. 1)
FURTHER ORDERED denying as moot Plaintiffs Application to
Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs
(Doc. 2) and ...