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Rolle v. City of Tallahassee

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division

March 1, 2018

CITY OF TALLAHASSEE, et al., Defendants.



         Mr. Rolle has been a frequent litigator in this District and the Northern District of Florida, filing repeated civil rights actions pursuant to § 1983 against judges, prosecutors, appointed and privately retained attorneys, probation officers, and the City of Tallahassee, related to his 2002 state court conviction and subsequent probation violation proceedings. His claims have been repeatedly dismissed as frivolous. See e.g., Rolle v. Glenn, No. 4:17-cv-134-MW-CAS, (N.D. Fla. March 31, 2017), aff'd, 2017 WL 4708166 (11th Cir. 2017); Rolle v. Glenn, No. 5:15-cv-190-Oc-39PRL (M.D. Fla. January 27, 2017), Rolle v. Raysor, No. 5:15-cv-180-Oc-30PRL (M.D. Fla. Apr. 14, 2015); Rolle v. Maceluch, No. 5:15-cv-191-Oc-30PRL (M.D. Fla. Apr. 21, 2015); Rolle v. U.S. Marshals Serv., No. 5:15-cv-192-Oc22PRL (M.D. Fla. July 20, 2015); Rolle v. Edwards, No. 5:15-cv-202-Oc-30PRL (M.D. Fla. Apr. 24, 2015); Rolle v. Raysor, No. 5:15-cv-268-Oc-30PRL (M.D. Fla. June 3, 2015); Rolle v. Edwards, No. 5:15-cv-271- Oc-34PRL (M.D. Fla. July 22, 2015); Rolle v. Maceluch et al, No. 5:15-cv-285-MMH-PRL (October 8, 2015), Rolle v. Bruce, No. 5:15-cv-320-Oc-22PRL (M.D. Fla. July 24, 2015), Rolle v. City of Tallahassee, et al., No. 5:15-cv-462-JSM-PRL (September 14, 2015); Rolle v. Dilmore, et al, No. 4:14-cv-339-RH-CAS (N.D. Fla. July 23, 2014).

         Mr. Rolle has been repeatedly cautioned that sanctions would be imposed against him for filing frivolous complaints, and sanctions have been imposed on at least two occasions. In October 2015, he was sanctioned $200.00 in the Middle District of Florida, see Rolle v. City of Tallahassee, et al., No. 5:15-cv-462-JSM-PRL (M.D. Fla. October 8, 2015) (Moody, J.), and in May 2017, he was prospectively banned from filing new cases related to his January 4, 2002 arrest unless he paid the entire filing fee in the Northern District of Florida, See Rolle v. Dilmore, et al., No. 4:16-cv-425-RH-GRJ (N.D. Fla. May 23, 2017) (Hinkle, J.).

         Undeterred, during the first few weeks of January 2018, Plaintiff filed six new cases in this Court, arising largely out of the same events addressed in previous lawsuits. See Rolle v. West et al., No. 5:18-cv-8-JSM-PRL, Rolle v. Robinson et al., No. 5:18-cv-13-JSM-PRL, Rolle v. Shelfer et al., No. 5:18-cv-18-JSM-PRL, Rolle v. City of Tallahassee et al., No. 5:18-cv-25-JSM-PRL, Rolle v. City of Tallahassee et al., No. 5:18-cv-45-JSM-PRL, Rolle v. Perry, et al., No. 5:18-cv-46-JSM-PRL. Plaintiff has also filed motions to proceed in forma pauperis.

         I. Legal Standards

         Before a plaintiff is permitted to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court is obligated to review the complaint to determine whether it is frivolous, malicious, “fails to state a claim upon 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). If the complaint is deficient, the Court is required to dismiss the suit sua sponte. Id.

         “A lawsuit is frivolous if the plaintiff's realistic chances of ultimate success are slight.” Clark v. Ga. Pardons and Paroles Bd., 915 F.2d 636, 639 (11th Cir. 1984) (internal citations omitted). The district court may dismiss a complaint under § 1915 on grounds of frivolousness if an affirmative defense would defeat the action. Id. at 640. For example, the absolute immunity of the defendant would justify the dismissal of a claim as frivolous. Id. at 640, n. 2. “When the defense is apparent from the fact of a complaint or the court's records, courts need not wait and see if the defense will be asserted in a defensive pleading.” Id. “Indigence does not create a constitutional right to the expenditure of public funds and the valuable time of the courts in order to prosecute an action which is totally without merit.” Phillips v. Mashburn, 746 F.2d 782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984) (citing Collins v. Cundy, 603 F.2d 825, 828 (10th Cir. 1979)).

         In evaluating a complaint under § 1915, a document filed pro se is to be liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). The bare minimum a plaintiff must set forth in the complaint is found in Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, and explained further in Iqbal and Twombly. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). “A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). While particularity is not required under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, as it is under Fed.R.Civ.P. 9, “[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The court must view the allegations of the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, consider the allegations of the complaint as true, and accept all reasonable inferences therefrom. La Grasta v. First Union Sec., Inc., 358 F.3d 840, 845 (11th Cir. 2004). In considering the sufficiency of the complaint, the court limits its “consideration to the well-pleaded factual allegations, documents central to or referenced in the complaint, and matters judicially noticed.” Id.

         II. Discussion

         A. Plaintiff's claims

In this case, Plaintiff again challenges his 2002 conviction and post-conviction proceedings. He attempts to allege constitutional claims against state court Judge Thomas Bateman; privately retained counsel, Kenneth David, Frank Sheffield, and David Collins; and assistant state attorneys Owen McCaul and Adam Ruiz. These exact claims have previously been dismissed with prejudice by this Court and the Northern District as barred by the statute of limitations and res judicata; and because Plaintiff could not state a claim. See e.g., Rolle v. Tallahassee Police Dept. et al, No. 4:16-425-RH-GRJ (N.D. Fla. May 3, 2017) (dismissing claims against Owen McCaul); Rolle v. Raysor, et al., No. 5:15-cv-180-Oc-30PRL (M.D. Fla. April 14, 2015) (dismissing claims against David Collins and Judge Thomas Bateman); Rolle v. Perry, et al., No. 4:14-cv-340-WS-GRJ (N.D. Fla. July 3, 2014) (dismissing as time barred claims against Judge Thomas Bateman, Frank Sheffield, Kenneth David, David Collins, and Adam Ruiz); Rolle v. Raysor, No. 4:07-cv285-RH/WCS, 2007 WL 2698316 (N.D. Fla. Sept. 12, 2007), aff'd 267 F. App'x 925 (11th Cir. 2008) (dismissing claims against Frank Sheffield and Judge Thomas Bateman). Accordingly, Plaintiff's claims here are likewise barred.

         Also frivolous is Plaintiff's attempt to add constitutional claims against the City of Tallahassee based on rulings by various judges. See e.g., Rolle v. City of Tallahassee, No. 5:15-cv-462-Oc-30PRL (M.D. Fla. September 14, 2015) (dismissing as frivolous claim that City violated his constitutional rights because trial court denied motion to correct illegal sentence).

         B. Sanctions

         Plaintiff has repeatedly failed to heed warnings that sanctions may be imposed if he continues to abuse the judicial process by filing frivolous complaints. Indeed, despite the repeated warnings, Plaintiff filed six new lawsuits in January 2018 all related to his 2002 state court conviction and subsequent probation violation proceedings. The filing of frivolous complaints requires the Court to waste valuable judicial resources that could and should be spent on the many other meritorious cases pending before the Court. Plaintiff has filed similar cases over and over despite the Court advising him numerous times of the ...

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