ADAMS v. MCCONNELL
MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 11/16/2020. (adh, )
Case 1:20-cv-03072-UNA Document 4 Filed 11/16/20 Page 1 of 2
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
DALE B. ADAMS,
MITCH A. MCCONNELL, JR.,
Clerk, U.S. District & Bankruptcy
Court for the District of Columbia
Civil Action No. 20-3072 (UNA)
Plaintiff, appearing pro se, has filed a “Petition for a Redress of Grievances Against the
Government,” and an application to proceed in forma pauperis. The application will be granted,
and the case will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)(iii) (requiring dismissal
of a case upon a determination that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from an immune defendant).
Plaintiff is a resident of Harrison, Arkansas, who has sued United States Senator Mitch
McConnell for positions he has taken as Senate Majority Leader. He claims that McConnell
exceeded his authority by “passing a Covid-19 relief Bill into law with blanket immunity
abridging First Amendment rights to legal redress[.]” Pet. ¶ 35. Plaintiff seeks monetary
damages exceeding $10 million and an order compelling “defendant to repeal any and all laws
that he passed that are ultra vires to harm Adams.” Id. at 11.
The Petition is premised on McConnell’s conduct as Senate Majority Leader, for which
he enjoys absolute immunity under the Speech or Debate Clause, U.S. CONST. art. I, ' 6, cl. 1.
See Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. v. Williams, 62 F.3d 408, 415 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (“The
Clause confers on Members of Congress immunity for all actions within the legislative sphere,
Case 1:20-cv-03072-UNA Document 4 Filed 11/16/20 Page 2 of 2
even though their conduct, if performed in other than legislative contexts, would in itself be
unconstitutional or otherwise contrary to criminal or civil statutes”) (cleaned up); cf. Pet. ¶ 7
(alleging that McConnell “has shown a pattern of practice to violate the U.S. Constitution, his
oath of office and ethical norms to cause plaintiff Dale B. Adams irreparable harm by passing
laws that abridge First Amendment rights”); id. ¶ 16 (“Defendant United States Senator Mitch A.
McConnell Jr., has held our devastated economy, the destitute citizens and other honorable
members of Congress hostage who try to abide by their oath of office serving their constituents,
while Senator McConnell will not agree to pass any Covid-19 relief Bill into law without
including a clause for liability reform (“immunity”)); id. ¶ 26 (“undue delay for passing Covid19 emergency relief by U.S. Senator Mitch A. McConnell Jr., is causing Adams and millions of
other citizens a financial hardship”).
An “in forma pauperis complaint is properly dismissed as frivolous . . . if [as here] it is
clear from the face of the pleading that the named defendant is absolutely immune from suit on
the claims asserted.” Crisafi v. Holland 655 F.2d 1305, 1308 (D.C. Cir. 1981). To the extent
that McConnell is not immune, the Petition is at most “a generalized grievance” warranting no
“exercise of jurisdiction.” Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975). Consequently, this case
will be dismissed with prejudice. See Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1209 (D.C. Cir.
1996) (A dismissal with prejudice is warranted upon determining “that ‘the allegation of other
facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency.’”) (quoting
Jarrell v. United States Postal Serv., 753 F.2d 1088, 1091 (D.C. Cir. 1985) (other citation
omitted)). A separate order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
Date: November 16, 2020
KETANJI BROWN JACKSON
United States District Judge
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