Leaphart v. Robinson
ORDER Granting 2 Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis filed by Kirk Leaphart; Denying as Moot 4 MOTION for Permanent or Temporary Restraining Order; and DISMISSING COMPLAINT, Signed by District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. (WBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 12-15618
Hon. John Corbett O’Meara
DAVID S. ROBINSON, JR.,
ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED
IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Kirk Leaphart filed his complaint and an application to proceed in forma
pauperis on December 21, 2012. On January 10, 2012, Plaintiff filed an motion for a
preliminary injunction. The court finds Plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma pauperis to be
facially sufficient and, therefore, grants Plaintiff’s motion to proceed without prepayment of
fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a); Gibson v. R.G. Smith Co., 915 F.2d 260, 262 (6th Cir. 1990).
Once a court grants a plaintiff permission to proceed in forma pauperis, it must review
the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court “shall dismiss” the case if the court
finds that it is “(i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Plaintiff has brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against David S. Robinson,
Jr., a state judge on Michigan’s 36th District Court. Judge Robinson presided over proceedings
in which Plaintiff was evicted from public housing. Because Judge Robinson is generally
immune from suit, however, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against him. See Stern v.
Mascio, 262 F.3d 600, 606-607 (6th Cir. 2001). Plaintiff has not alleged facts suggesting that the
limited exceptions to judicial immunity apply here. These exceptions are as follows: “First, a
judge is not immune from liability for nonjudicial actions, i.e., actions not taken in the judge’s
judicial capacity. Second, a judge is not immune for actions, though judicial in nature, taken in
the complete absence of all jurisdiction.” Id. at 607 (citing Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12
Here, Plaintiff’s allegations make clear that Judge Robinson was acting in a judicial
capacity, because he is being sued for actions taken as he presided over eviction proceedings
involving Plaintiff. Plaintiff has not alleged facts suggesting that Judge Robinson acted “in the
complete absence of all jurisdiction” during those proceedings. See id. (“[Simply exceeding the
limits of one’s jurisdiction will not eliminate immunity, because many courts are courts of
limited jurisdiction regularly called upon to resolve unsettled points of law relating to the
contours of their own jurisdiction.”). Indeed, state district courts have jurisdiction over landlordtenant matters and eviction proceedings. Contrary to Plaintiff’s argument, this conclusion is not
altered because his lease involved a public housing authority under 42 U.S.C. § 1437d. Las
Casitas Assocs. v. Ramirez, 1994 WL 618491 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 25, 1994) (no federal court
jurisdiction “over evictions of Section 8 housing recipients); Sutton v. Central Towers Apts.,
2012 WL 3887201 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 21, 2012) (no federal question jurisdiction over eviction
from HUD housing).
The court finds that Judge Robinson is immune from suit and that Plaintiff has failed to
state a claim against him.
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for temporary restraining
order/preliminary injunction is DENIED AS MOOT.
s/John Corbett O'Meara
United States District Judge
Date: January 18, 2013
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the parties of
record on this date, January 18, 2013, using the ECF system and/or ordinary mail.
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