Coggins v. Suter et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER that Gene Coggins' Complaint is hereby dismissed prior to service on Defendants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). Signed by Honorable Truman M. Hobbs on 11/5/08. (Attachments: # 1 appeals checklist)(vma, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA E A S T E R N DIVISION G E N E COGGINS, P l a in tif f , v. W IL L IA M K. SUTER and ALL A S S O C I A T E S OF THE UNITED S T A T E S CLERK'S OFFICE D e f e n d a n ts . ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )
C IV IL ACT. NO. 3:08-CV-775-TMH (WO)
M E M O R A N D U M OPINION AND ORDER U p o n consideration of the plaintiff's application for leave to proceed in forma p a u p e ris , it is ORDERED that the application be and is hereby GRANTED. G e n e Coggins has filed seventeen lawsuits in this court this year including this o n e . He has sued this court and its judges, the State of Alabama, counties and m u n icip alities, private individuals, local water authorities, state courts, and state court ju d g e s. Every one of the cases has been dismissed by this court, and the cases in which M r. Coggins has taken an appeal have been dismissed by the Eleventh Circuit. In one of th o s e cases, Coggins v. United States District Court Middle District of Alabama et al., 2 :0 8 -c v -0 0 2 9 5 -T M H (M.D. Ala.), Mr. Coggins sued this court, every District Judge and M a g is tra te Judge as well as one Senior District Judge of the court. He also sued a former M a g is tra te Judge and the Clerk of the Court. The case was dismissed prior to service of
p ro c e ss .1 Mr. Coggins appealed. The appeal was dismissed on July 2, 2008, for want of p ro s e c u tio n because Mr. Coggins failed to timely file his brief and record excerpts. Coggins v. United States District Court Middle District of Alabama et al., No. 08-12612A A (11 th Cir. July 2, 2008). M r. Coggins has now turned his attention to the Clerk of the Supreme Court of the U n ite d States and other employees of that court. He filed this lawsuit on September 19, 2 0 0 8 . Here is what Mr. Coggins says in his "complaint for constitutional violations." T h e clerk has taken on the role of the judge, in attempting to control who or w h o cannot have their day in court. This concept is a guaranteed part of the " d u e process of law", as given in the Constitution of the United States. And set procedures are found only in the federal rules of civil procedures, where a n y variations from this creates a constitutional right violation, subject to a ju d g m e n t, facing prosecution for breaking oath of office, intentional fraud, a n d perjury. W ith this being a constitutional right violation, I have to go through the f e d era l court in my district. This court has so many corruption cases filed a g a p m s t (sic) them, without any knowledge of fairness or equal form of ju s tic e existing there, led to a lawsuit against all of the corrupt judges and co u rt system, that they have tried to create. Some of these cases are p e n d in g in the United States Supreme Court, with some already been p rese n ted to the Congressional committee for fraud and corruption, where a ll of the others will eventually get there. T h e United States District Court, the United States Court of appeals a n d now the Clerk of the Supreme Court has attempted every illegal method k n o w n , trying to avoid any acceptable form of settlement in these cases. Everyone has gone beyond their legal required duty, playing the role of d e f en d a n ts attorney and judge. Not allowing any of my guaranteed
The court found that all of Coggins' claims were either frivolous or malicious; failed to state any claim on which relief may be granted; or sought monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
c o n stitu tio n a l rights for every citizen to be heard and have their day in c o u rt. O n September 23, 2008, Mr. Coggins filed a petition for certiorari in the United S ta te s Supreme Court which was denied on November 3, 2008. Coggins v. United States D is tr ic t Court Middle District of Alabama et al., ___ U.S. ___, 2008 WL 4763213 (Nov. 3 , 2008)(No. 08-6431). As best the court can determine, Mr. Coggins is upset about so m e undisclosed action taken by the Clerk or other employees of the Supreme Court b e f o re his petition for certiorari was filed and denied. Regardless, the records available to th e court show that the Supreme Court considered and rejected Mr. Coggins petition for c e rtio ra ri. Mr. Coggins had his "day in court." In this circuit, while court clerks enjoy a "narrower ambit of immunity than ju d g e s," see Tarter v. Hury, 646 F.2d 1010, 1013 (5th Cir.1981), court clerks "have a b so lu te immunity from actions for damages arising from acts they are specifically re q u ire d to do under court order or at a judge's direction, and only qualified immunity f ro m all other actions for damages." Id. " Absolute immunity from damages actions a p p lie s, only in a narrow range of actions, for clerks of court acting in a nonroutine m a n n e r under command of court decrees or under explicit instructions of a judge. D a m a g e s will not be awarded for a clerk's actions of this type even if in bad faith or with m a lic e ." Williams v. Wood, 612 F.2d 982, 985 (5th Cir.1980). Mr. Coggins points to no ac tio n of any defendant which falls outside the scope of actions for which they are im m u n e .
T o the extent that Mr. Coggins suggests that this court should order the defendants to act differently than they have, Mr. Coggins is entitled to no relief. The lower courts la c k supervisory authority over Supreme Court clerks, see Marin v. Suter, 956 F.2d 339, 3 4 0 (D.C.Cir.1992) (per curiam), and these clerks enjoy absolute immunity from damages c la im s such as the plaintiff's. See Sindram v. Suda, 986 F.2d 1459, 1460-61 (D .C .C ir.1 9 9 3 ) (per curiam). T h is court shall dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint "if the court determines th a t . . . the action . . . is frivolous or malicious." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i); see also, N eitz k e v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).2 This section gives a federal district court " th e unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss th o s e claims whose [legal theories or] factual contentions are clearly baseless." Neitzke, 4 9 0 U.S. at 327. See also Woodall v. Foti, 648 F.2d 268, 271 (5th Cir. June 16, 1981); P r o c u p v. Strickland, 760 F.2d 1107, 1114 (11th Cir. 1985). Indeed, district courts have the inherent power to sua sponte dismiss frivolous suits w ith o u t giving notice to the parties. See Jefferson v. Fourteenth A s s o c s .,6 9 5 F.2d at 526. Under § 1915A, a complaint is frivolous if it is " w ith o u t arguable merit either in law or fact." Bilal, 251 F.3d at 1349. In d iscu ssin g what is frivolous in the context of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(I), [ th e Eleventh Circuit] also ha[s] held that "[a] district court may conclude a ca se has little or no chance of success and dismiss the complaint before s e rv ic e of process when it determines from the face of the complaint that the factual allegations are`clearly baseless' or that the legal theories are `in d isp u tab ly meritless.'"Carroll v. Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 292 (11th Cir. 1 9 9 3 ).
Although Neitzke interpreted 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d), the predecessor to § 1915(e)(2), the analysis contained therein remains applicable to the directives of the present statute.
D a v is v. Kvalheim, No. 07-12754, 2008 WL 67676 at *3 (11th Cir. Jan. 8, 2008). A d is tric t court is not required to allow a clearly baseless action to proceed to allow a litig a n t to employ"the legal system as a tool to intimidate and heckle those he imagines h a v e done him wrong." Id. F o r the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that Gene Coggins' Complaint is hereby DISMISSED prior to service on Defendants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1 9 1 5 (e)(2)(B )(i) - (iii). A n appropriate judgment will be entered consistent with this Memorandum O p inion and Order. D O N E this the 5 th day of November, 2008.
/s/ Truman M. Hobbs SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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