Coggins v. Suter et al

Filing 3

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, )

Download PDF
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. 1 2 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 . 3 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. 2 4 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 5

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?