Noble v. Becker, et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Sue L. Robinson on 1/23/17. (sar)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
THOMAS E. NOBLE,
Civ. No. 03-906-SLR
JUDGE EDWARD R. BECKER, et al.
THOMAS E. NOBLE,
Civ. No. 16-406-SLR
THOMAS E. NOBLE,
THE STATE OF DELAWARE and
GOVERNOR JACK MARKELL,
Civ. No. 16-407-SLR
1. Introduction. Plaintiff/petitioner Thomas E. Noble ("Noble") filed identical
petitions for writs of mandamus in the three above-captioned cases. (Civ. No. 03-906SLR at D.I. 13; Civ. No. 16-406-SLR at D.I. 29; Civ. No. 16-407-SLR at D.I. 20) He
takes exception to an order entered on September 13, 2004 by former United States
District Judge Kent A. Jordan 1 enjoining him from filing any pro se civil rights complaints
without prior approval of the court, see Noble v. Becker, Civ. No. 03-906-KAJ, D.I. 12,
and that was enforced by this court when he sought to commence actions in derogation
of the order. The petition does not indicate what relief he seeks, although it appears he
seeks to preclude enforcement of the order that enjoins him from filing pro se civil rights
complaints without prior approval of the court.
2. Background. As explained by the United States Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit, Nobles is a serial litigator and, in 2016, he filed a series of complaints in
this district. In re Noble, _F. App'x _ , 2016 WL 5853269, at *1 (3d Cir. 2016)
(unpublished). In Civ. No. 16-406-SLR, Noble filed a "hybrid" lawsuit seeking both
federal habeas relief and redress for numerous alleged civil rights violations. Because
this court viewed the action as sounding in habeas, it ruled that Noble had improperly
attempted to plead claims for damages for alleged civil rights violations in the habeas
action, held that the filing injunction barred him from bringing a civil rights action without
prior approval, and dismissed the civil rights claims. Id. at *1. In Civ. No. 16-407-SLR,
Noble commenced a purported class action challenging Delaware's criminal statutes
concerning child pornography and challenging the State's policing and enforcement of
those laws as a violation of his and others' civil rights. This court dismissed the
complaint as a clear violation of the filing injunction, and ordered the clerk to close the
case and return Noble's filing fee. Id.
ln 2006, Judge Jordan was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit.
3. Noble filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the appellate court following
the rulings that dismissed his civil rights cases. Id. at *2. Therein, he asked the
appellate court to vacate the filing injunction and vacate the orders discussed above. 2
4. Writ of Mandamus. Under the All Writs Act, a federal court has jurisdiction
to issue a writ of mandamus only "in aid of' its jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1651 (a).
Federal courts have jurisdiction "in the nature of mandamus to compel an officer or
employee of the United States or any agency thereof to perform a duty owed to
plaintiff." 28 U.S.C. § 1361. 3 The writ of mandamus is a drastic remedy that a court
should grant only in extraordinary circumstances in response to an act amounting to a
judicial usurpation of power." Hahnemann Univ. Hosp. v. Edgar, 74 F.3d 456, 461 (3d
Cir. 1996) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
5. Discussion. As noted by the appellate court, "Noble can potentially obtain
review of the District Court's enforcement of the filing injunction via a mandamus
petition." In re Noble, 2016 WL 5853269 at *2. Indeed, Noble relied upon this
statement in filing the instant petitions. Noble, however, did not consider the next
sentence of the opinion.
Noble also sought my recusal.
To be eligible for mandamus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 1361, a petitioner must
satisfy three conditions. First, the party seeking issuance of a writ must demonstrate
that he has "no other adequate means to attain the relief he desires." Cheney v. United
States Dist. Court, 542 U.S. 367, 380 (2004) (citation omitted). Next, he must carry the
burden of showing that "his right to the issuance of the writ is clear and indisputable."
Id. at 381 (citations omitted). Finally, "the issuing court ... must be satisfied that the
writ is appropriate under the circumstances." Id.
Noble cannot show that, in enforcing the filing injunction, the District Court
"engaged in an 'unlawful exercise of its prescribed jurisdiction' or failed to
'exercise its authority when it was its duty to do so."' Hong Mai Sa v. Doe,
406 F.3d 155, 159 (2d Cir. 2005) (alterations omitted) (quoting Richardson
Greenshields Secs., Inc., 825 F.2d 647, 652 (2d Cir. 1987)). The filing
injunction barred Noble from filing civil rights complaints in the United
States District Court for the District of Delaware without that court's prior
approval, and Noble has not established that his action was improperly
dismissed under the filing injunction.
In re Noble, 2016 WL 5853269 at *2.
6. Upon review of the petition, the court concludes that Noble failed to support
his burden to demonstrate that this court engaged in an unlawful exercise of its
prescribed jurisdiction or failed to exercise its authority when it was its duty to do so.
See e.g., Hong Mai Sa, 406 F.3d at 158-89. Mandamus relief is not warranted.
7. Conclusion. For the above reasons the court will deny the petition for writ of
mandamus. A separate order shall issue.
J.; , 2017
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