WILLIAMS v. BROOKS TRUCKING COMPANY INC OF MEMPHIS, et al
ORDER granting 24 Motion to Dismiss; granting 4 Motion to Dismiss; granting 13 Motion to Dismiss; granting 15 Motion to Dismiss, and denying 49 Motion leave to retain counsel. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE CLAY D. LAND on 6/5/2017 (tlf).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
EMMETT L. WILLIAMS,
BROOKS TRUCKING COMPANY INC. OF
MEMPHIS, CANAL INSURANCE
COMPANY, RICHARD A. MARCHETTI,
JUDGE WILLIAM C. RUMER, BROWN &
ADAMS, LLC, CLAYTON M. ADAMS,
AUSTIN & SPARKS, P.C., JOHN T.
SPARKS, SR., NALL & MILLER,
LLP, MARK D. LEFKOW,
CASE NO. 4:17-CV-58 (CDL)
O R D E R
collision between Plaintiff Emmett Williams and an employee of
Proceeding pro se, Williams
(“state court constitutional action”).
He claims that the loss was the result of Brooks
unlawful contact with the jury.1
Williams filed a state court personal injury action
Williams lost that case.
Defendants have notified the Court and parties that Marchetti passed
away on March 27, 2017. ECF No. 5.
Still pro se, Williams now claims in this Court that all of the
attorneys, parties, and the superior court judge involved in his
state court actions violated his rights.
Defendants move to
reasons discussed below, the Court finds that all Defendants are
entitled to dismissal and grants their motions (ECF Nos. 4, 13,
To the extent that Williams asks the Court to
defer ruling on Defendants’ motions until he does so, the Court
denies that motion (ECF No. 49).
To survive a motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim
for relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)).
The factual allegations must be sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . on
the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are
true (even if doubtful in fact).”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Thus, “a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a
savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable.”
Id. at 556.
Williams does not dispute the authenticity of several state
Considering these documents and accepting Williams’s
factual allegations as true, the record reveals the following.
See Horsley v. Feldt, 304 F.3d 1125, 1134 (11th Cir. 2002) (“[A]
document attached to a motion to dismiss may be considered by
the court without converting the motion into one for summary
judgment only if the attached document is: (1) central to the
plaintiff’s claim; and (2) undisputed . . . mean[ing] that the
authenticity of the document is not challenged.”).
Personal Injury Action
Trucking’s Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 1, Compl. in SU-06-CV-2981-8 ¶¶ 5
& 6, ECF No. 15-3.
Williams sued for damages in Muscogee County
Superior Court, and the case proceeded to trial before Defendant
Trucking at trial.
Williams claims that during a lunch break on
The jury returned a verdict in favor of Brooks Trucking
later that day.
Williams moved for a new trial based on Marchetti’s alleged
hearing where Marchetti testified that he went to the bailiff’s
October 13 to watch an Auburn/Old Miss football game.
et al.’s Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 8, Pl.’s Notice of Intent to Seek
Cert. Ex. C, Marchetti Testimony 111:1-8, ECF No. 4-10 at 9.
Apparently, in doing so, Marchetti walked by or through the jury
Marchetti testified that he did not have contact with any
of the jurors because the jurors were still at lunch.
Williams’s motion for new trial.
Brooks Trucking’s Mot. to
Dismiss Ex. 11, Order Den. Mot. for New Trial in SU-11-CV-275205, ECF No. 15-13.
Williams appealed, and the Georgia Court of
Appeals dismissed the appeal due to Williams’s failure to pay
the filing fee.
Brooks Trucking’s Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 13, Order
Dismissing Appeal in A14A1332, ECF No. 15-15.
State Court Constitutional Action
Trucking, and Canal Insurance Company, claiming that Marchetti
violated his constitutional rights by tampering with the jury
verdict in the personal injury action and lying about it under
Brooks Trucking’s Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 14, Compl. in SU-
15-CV-2322-05, ECF No. 15-16.
On October 27, 2015, Judge Rumer
Williams’s original complaint in the state court constitutional action
did not include Canal Insurance as a defendant, but he purported to
amend his complaint to add this party.
granted Marchetti’s, Brooks Trucking’s, and Canal Insurance’s
Brooks Trucking’s Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 22, Order Granting Defs.’
Respective Mots. to Dismiss/Mots. for Summ. J., ECF No. 15-24.
Williams appealed and the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed.
Brooks Trucking’s Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 27, Order in No. A16A1793,
ECF No. 15-29.
Williams moved for reconsideration, which the
Brooks Trucking’s Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 36, Order
Williams appears to have indicated intent to seek certiorari
from the United States Supreme Court, but it is unclear if he
Brooks Trucking’s Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 37, Notice of Intent
to Seek Cert. 5, ECF No. 15-39.
On March 10, 2017, Williams
filed the present action in this Court.
violations, discrimination under Title VII, violations of the
extortion, mail fraud, and racketeering.
It is unclear what
conduct Williams believes violates Title VII’s prohibition of
provisions inapplicable to the facts of this case.
claims of extortion and racketeering appear to be based on him
paying a filing fee and other costs associated with the state
court constitutional action.
See Pl.’s Resp. 4, ECF No. 33.
See Pl.’s Suppl. Resp. Ex. F, Mail Fraud, ECF No.
None of this conduct violates the law.
The Court finds
§ 1983 claims for violations of the due process clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Claims Against Judge Rumer
Williams claims that Judge Rumer violated his due process
He asks for injunctive relief from the
judgments and damages for the constitutional violations.
Feldman doctrine provides that federal courts, other than the
United States Supreme Court, have no authority to review the
final judgments of state courts.”
Goodman ex rel Goodman v.
Sipos, 259 F.3d 1327, 1332 (11th Cir. 2001) (quoting Siegel v.
LePore, 234 F.3d 1163, 1172 (11th Cir. 2000) (en banc)).
doctrine extends to “claims that are ‘inextricably intertwined’
with the state court judgment” as long as the plaintiff had a
reasonable opportunity to raise these claims in the state court.
Id. at 1332 (quoting Siegel, 234 F.3d at 1172).
claim is inextricably intertwined with a state court judgment if
the federal claim succeeds only to the extent that the state
Siegel, 234 F.3d at 1172).
Here, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Rumer’s
rulings and it does not appear that Williams sought review at
the Georgia Supreme Court.
Judge Rumer’s rulings are
final state court judgments that this Court cannot overturn.
See Wilson v. Selma Water Works and Sewer Bd., 522 F. App’x 634,
635 (11th Cir. 2013) (per curiam) (recognizing that the state
court judgment was final when the state supreme court denied
Rooker-Feldman also extends to Williams’s claims
for damages based on Judge Rumer’s rulings.
Finding that Judge
Rumer acted unconstitutionally in ruling against Williams would
require this Court to determine that Judge Rumer wrongly decided
the issues before him.
And Williams could have asserted that
Judge Rumer acted unconstitutionally in his state court appeal.
Thus, the Court does not appear to have jurisdiction over any of
Williams’s claims against Judge Rumer.
See Goodman, 259 F.3d at
1333 (“The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is broad enough to bar all
federal claims which were, or should have been, central to the
state court decision, even if those claims seek a form of relief
that might not have been available in the state court.”).
Williams characterizes his claims against Judge Rumer as a
“rebuttal” lawsuit, see Compl. 19, ECF No. 1, indicating that he
essentially seeks to appeal the state court judgments in this
See Lindsay v. Adoption by Shepherd Care, Inc., 551 F.
App’x 528, 529 (11th Cir. 2014) (per curiam) (“[Plaintiff]’s
proceeding makes clear this is the type of case precluded by the
status, his claims are not entirely clear.
Thus, the Court
Feldman, Judge Rumer would be entitled to judicial immunity.
Judges are immune from suit for actions taken within their
judicial capacity unless the judge acts in the “clear absence of
Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356 (1978)
(quoting Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. 335, 351 (1872)).
Rumer was acting in his judicial capacity during all of his
interactions with Williams.
See Wilson v. Bush, 196 F. App’x
796, 798-99 (11th Cir. 2006) (per curiam) (recognizing that a
judge acts in his judicial capacity when performing functions
normally performed by a judge).
And Williams does not establish
that Judge Rumer acted without subject matter jurisdiction over
See id. at 799 (“A judge does not act in the ‘clear
maliciously, or in excess of his authority, but rather only when
he acts without subject-matter jurisdiction.”).
the Court grants Judge Rumer’s motion to dismiss.3
Claims Against Other Defendants
Williams also sues Defendants Brown & Adams, LLC, Clayton
Adams, Austin & Sparks, P.C., John Sparks, Sr., Nall & Miller,
LLP, and Mark Lefkow, as well as Marchetti, Brooks Trucking and
constitutional rights by tampering with the jury and lying about
it under oath.
The new Defendants are attorneys and law firms
Defendants appear to be based on Marchetti allegedly tampering
with the jury and lying about it under oath.
barred by res judicata.
This is the same
See Caswell v. Caswell, 290 S.E.2d 171,
172 (Ga. Ct. App. 1982) (holding that res judicata applied even
Williams also appears to ask that this Court order Judge Rumer to
“resurrect” Williams’s state law personal injury action based on new
medical evidence regarding Williams’s damages. Compl. 19. The Court
is without jurisdiction to order Judge Rumer to reopen a final state
court judgment for the reasons stated above.
though three new defendants were added because these defendants’
liability was predicated on the same misconduct alleged in the
original action); see also Cmty. State Bank v. Strong, 651 F.3d
applies Georgia’s law of res judicata to determine whether a
Georgia state court judgment has preclusive effect).
But Defendants do not raise a res judicata defense in their
motions, and therefore, the Court addresses alternative grounds
judicata as an affirmative defense).
To state a claim under
§ 1983, Williams must allege that Defendants acted “under color
of state law.”
See Polk Cty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 315
(1981) (noting that this is a jurisdictional requirement).
unless the private party is “clothed with the authority of state
Id. at 317 (quoting United States v. Classic, 313 U.S.
299, 326 (1941)).
Marchetti’s conduct as a private attorney is
not attributable to the state.
Id. at 318-19 (emphasizing that
connection between the state and the other private Defendants.
Thus, Williams fails to allege that any Defendants acted under
color of law for purposes of § 1983.
grants Defendants’ motions to dismiss.
Accordingly, the Court
Defendants’ motions (ECF Nos. 4, 13, 15, & 24).
denies Williams’s motion for leave to retain counsel (ECF No.
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 5th day of June, 2017.
S/Clay D. Land
CLAY D. LAND
CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
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