United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Pensacola Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHARLES J. KAHN, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the court on plaintiff's amended civil
rights complaint. (Doc. 11). The complaint was referred to
the undersigned for screening under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). For the reasons that follow, the undersigned
recommends that this case be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) due to plaintiff's failure to state a
claim on which relief may be granted.
currently resides in the Florida State
Hospital. The amended complaint names 3 defendants:
the “First Judicial Circuit Court Escambia
County”; Judge Joel Boles; and Judge Jan Shackelford.
The complaint sets forth the factual allegations that follow.
says the First Judicial Circuit Court, through Judge Boles,
permitted a lawyer to withdraw from plaintiff's criminal
case despite plaintiff having paid the lawyer. Judge Boles
also: (1) “showed no respect for [plaintiff and] did
not care for [plaintiff's] name”; (2) did not care
if plaintiff was present at the hearing on counsel's
motion to withdraw; (3) refused to consider plaintiff's
medical reasons for missing a May 2016 hearing; (4)
“put an illegal warrant on [plaintiff]” that
resulted in his arrest and the placement of his dogs in an
animal shelter; (5) “lied about the plaintiff's
mental health in order to [place him] into a state
hospital” and (6) did not show “respect”
for plaintiff's petition for writ of habeas corpus.
Plaintiff asserts that, during a civil action, Judge
Shackelford encouraged plaintiff to sue Deputy Sheriff
McKelmore instead of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office
after McKelmore suspended plaintiff's driver's
on the foregoing, plaintiff alleges Judge Boles violated the
Fifth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. He
claims both defendants' actions defamed him, constituted
discrimination, and caused him to suffer financial losses. He
seeks $2 billion in compensation.
28 U.S.C. § 1915 mandates that the district court
dismiss an in forma pauperis action if the court
determines the action is “(i) frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Dismissals for failure to state a claim are
governed by the same standard as Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). See Mitchell v. Farcass, 112
F.3d 1483, 1485 (11th Cir. 1997). In applying the standard,
the court accepts all well-pleaded factual
allegations in the complaint as true and evaluates all
reasonable inferences derived from those facts in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Hunnings
v. Texaco, Inc., 29 F.3d 1480, 1483 (11th Cir. 1994);
see also Franklin v. Curry, 738 F.3d 1246, 1251
(11th Cir. 2013) (holding courts must follow the Supreme
Court's “‘two-pronged approach' of first
separating out the complaint's conclusory legal
allegations and then determining whether the remaining
well-pleaded factual allegations, accepted as true,
‘plausibly give rise to an entitlement to
relief.'”) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 679 (2009)). “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
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
Supreme Court reiterated in Iqbal, although Rule 8
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does not require
detailed factual allegations, it does demand “more than
an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” 556 U.S. at 678. A complaint must state a
plausible claim for relief, and “[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.”
Id. The mere possibility the defendant acted
unlawfully is insufficient to survive dismissal for failure
to state a claim. Id. The complaint must include
“[f]actual allegations . . . [sufficient] to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level, ”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, or, “nudge the
claim across the line from conceivable to
plausible[.]” Id. at 570.
has not stated a viable claim for relief. Any potential claim
for damages against the judges is barred by the doctrine of
judicial immunity. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9,
11 (1991) (“[J]udicial immunity is an immunity from
suit, not just from ultimate assessment of damages.”)
(citing Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526
(1985)). Immunity may be overcome only (1) where the judge
has not acted within his judicial capacity or (2) where the
judge's actions, though judicial in nature, are taken in
the complete absence of all jurisdiction. See
Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11-12.
an act by a judge is a ‘judicial' one relate[s] to
the nature of the act itself, i.e., whether it is a
function normally performed by a judge, and to the
expectations of the parties, i.e., whether they
dealt with the judge in his judicial capacity.”
Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 362 (1978).
“In other words, we look to the particular act's
relation to a general function normally performed by a
judge[.]” Mireles, 502 U.S. at 13.
is not deprived of absolute immunity from liability for
damages “because the action he took was in error, was
done maliciously, or was in excess of his authority[.]”
Stump, 435 U.S. at 356; see also Mireles,
502 U.S. at 11 (“judicial immunity is not overcome by
allegations of bad faith or malice”). An act is done in
“clear absence of all jurisdiction, ” for
judicial immunity purposes, if the matter upon which the
judge acted is clearly outside the subject-matter
jurisdiction of the court over which he presides. See
Dykes v. Hosemann, 776 F.2d 942, 946-48 (11th Cir.
plaintiff alleges Judge Boles issued a warrant for
plaintiff's arrest, found him incompetent to proceed in a
criminal case, ordered his placement in Florida State
Hospital, granted defense counsel's motion to withdraw,
and mishandled a petition for writ of habeas corpus.
Plaintiff claims Judge Shackelford advised him that he sued
the wrong individual in a civil action. These are functions
normally performed by a judge. Furthermore, as plaintiff was
a party in the cases over which the judges were presiding, he
dealt with the judges in their judicial capacity. Although
plaintiff alleges the judges defamed him and were
discriminatory, he does not allege the judges acted in the
complete absence of all jurisdiction. Therefore, the judges
are immune from suit for damages.
addition, plaintiff names the “First Judicial Circuit
Court Escambia County” as a defendant. The circuit
court, however, is not a suable entity. See Brown v.
Jones, No. 4:16cv777-RH/CAS, 2017 WL 2783988 at *1 (N.D.
Fla. June 26, 2017). And even if it were a suable entity,
plaintiff's claim fails because the state and state
entities, including the First Judicial Circuit, have Eleventh
Amendment immunity. See Seminole Tribe of Fla. v.
Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996) (holding that a state sued
in its own ...