United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 
R. LAMMENS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a licensed attorney proceeding pro se, has filed a complaint
against two judges and his former wife, Aliya Karama Killion.
Plaintiff claims that all three defendants have violated his
constitutional rights. Plaintiff seeks $300, 000 in damages,
as well as injunctive and declaratory relief. Plaintiff moves
the Court to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 5). For the
following reasons, the motion should be denied, and the
individual may be allowed to proceed in forma pauperis if he
declares in an affidavit that he is unable to pay such fees
or give security therefor. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
However, 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. Id. 1915(e)(2). If the complaint is
deficient, the Court is required to dismiss the suit sua
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.
evaluating a complaint under §1915, a document filed pro
se is to be liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Nonetheless, 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.” Bell Atlantic 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. Id.
at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to a
“probability requirement, ” but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). While Rule 8(a), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
does not require detailed factual allegations, “it
demands more than an unadorned, the defendant
unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. at 1949.
A pleading is insufficient if it offers mere “labels
and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555.
action arises out of Ms. Killion's petition for an
injunction against stalking under Florida law. Judge Paul
Militello signed a temporary injunction for Ms. Killion to
prevent Plaintiff from contacting her. (Doc. 1-1). After
signing the temporary injunction, Judge Militello
disqualified himself from the case (Doc. 1-3), and the next
day, Judge Daniel B. Merritt, Sr. signed an amended temporary
injunction against Plaintiff. (Doc. 1-4). Judge Merritt later
scheduled a hearing for the injunction on November 6, 2019.
complaint, Plaintiff specified four counts arising under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Count I is for civil conspiracy, Count II
is for malicious prosecution, Count III is for retaliation,
and Count IV is for deprivation of federal civil rights.
Plaintiff claims he is an African American candidate for
circuit court judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit and that
all of Defendants' actions are to preclude his candidacy
by injuring his reputation, humiliating him, and embarrassing
him. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff also claims that Defendants'
actions include “racial intimidation methods”
that “intend to deter Plaintiff from seeking this
seat.” (Doc. 1). Plaintiff seeks (1) an emergency and
preliminary injunction staying the state court order and
Defendants' conduct, (2) a preliminary judgment declaring
the state order and actions deprive Plaintiff's
protections as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution, (3) compensatory damages against
all Defendants jointly and severally in an amount no less
than $300, 000 with final amount to be determined at trial,
(4) punitive damages, and (5) attorney's fees and costs.
claims for injunctive and declaratory relief should be
dismissed under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37
(1971) and its progeny which instruct district courts to
“refrain from enjoining pending state court proceedings
except under special circumstances.” Old Republic
Union Ins. Co. v. Tillis Trucking Co., 124 F.3d 1258,
1261 (11th Cir.1997) (explaining that Younger abstention
applies to injunctions and declaratory judgments that would
effectively enjoin state proceedings). The Younger abstention
doctrine asks three questions: “first, do the
proceedings constitute an ongoing state judicial proceeding;
second, do [the proceedings] implicate important state
interests; and third, is there an adequate opportunity in the
state proceedings to raise constitutional challenges.”
31 Foster Children v. Bush, 329 F.3d 1255, 1274
(11th Cir. 2003) (quoting Middlesex County Ethics Comm.
v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432
(1982)). If the answer to those inquiries is “yes,
” then federal courts must abstain from intervention in
the ongoing, state-court proceedings.
Plaintiff takes issue with the issuance of a temporary
stalking injunction in a state court proceeding, No.
2019-DR-543, which was ongoing when he filed his complaint in
this Court. (Docs. 1-4, 1-5). Thus, this case is an
“ongoing judicial proceeding, ” and entertaining
the relief requested by Plaintiff's Complaint would
“directly interfere with” the state court
proceedings by barring their continuation. See 31 Foster
Children, 329 F.3d at 1276. As to the second question,
it is well-settled that matters involving public safety
implicate important state interests. Yarbrough v. City of
Jacksonville, 363 F.Supp. 1176, 1183 (M.D. Fla. 1973).
And for the final question, Plaintiff has not met his
“burden of establishing that the state proceedings do
not provide an adequate remedy for [his] federal
claims.” 31 Foster Children, 329 F.3d at 1279.
A federal court “should assume that state procedures
will afford an adequate remedy, in the absence of unambiguous
authority to the contrary.” Id. And what
matters is whether Plaintiff is procedurally prevented from
raising his constitutional claims in the state courts-not
whether his claim would likely succeed on the merits in the
state court. Davis v. Self, 547 Fed.Appx. 927, 931
(11th Cir. 2013) (quoting Pompey v. Broward Cty., 95
F.3d 1543, 1551 (11th Cir. 1996)). Here, Plaintiff does not
claim he was procedurally barred from raising his
constitutional claims in state court. Accordingly, abstention
to the extent that Plaintiff is seeking to void a prior state
court judgment, the Court lacks jurisdiction over such claims
under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See D.C. Court of
Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v.
Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923). “The
doctrine is a jurisdictional rule that precludes the lower
federal courts from reviewing state court judgments.”
Alvarez v. Att'y Gen. for Fla., 679 F.3d 1257,
1262 (11th Cir. 2012). It is confined to “cases brought
by state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by
state-court judgments rendered before the district court
proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and
rejection of those judgments.” Id. The
doctrine “operates as a bar to federal court
jurisdiction where the issue before the court was
inextricably intertwined with the state court judgment”
so “the federal claim would succeed only to the extent
that the state court wrongly decided the issues.”
Id. at 1262-63 (quotation marks omitted).
Plaintiff's claims against Judge Militello and Judge
Merritt for damages under § 1983 are barred
by judicial immunity. Judges are immune from liability for
damages for acts committed in a judicial capacity and within
their judicial jurisdiction. Simmons v. Conger, 86
F.3d 1080, 1085 (11th Cir. 1996). “[J]udicial immunity
is an immunity from suit, not just from ultimate assessment
of damages. Accordingly, judicial immunity is not overcome by
allegations of bad faith or malice, the existence of which
ordinarily cannot be resolved without engaging in discovery
and eventual trial.” Hyland v. Kolhage, 267
Fed.Appx. 836, 839-40 (11th Cir. 2008) (quoting Mireles
v. Waco,502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991)). This immunity extends
to circumstances where judges are “accused of acting
maliciously and corruptly” in exercising their judicial
decision-making power. Pierson v. Ray,386 U.S. 547,
553-554 (1967) (noting that “[f]ew doctrines are more
solidly established at common law than the immunity of judges
from liability for damages for acts committed within their
judicial jurisdiction”). It protects judicial
independence by “insulating judges from vexatious
actions prosecuted by disgruntled litigants.”
Forrester v. White,484 U.S. 219, 225 (1988).
Although Plaintiff claims he is suing both judges for damages
in their “individual capacity” and not their
“official capacity, ” each action that Plaintiff
challenges occurred while the judges presided over the state