Akins v. Smith Camp
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - This action is dismissed with prejudice on the grounds that it seeks relief against a defendant who is immune from suit. A separate judgment will be entered in accordance with this order. Ordered by Senior Judge Richard G. Kopf. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(MKR)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
LAURIE SMITH CAMP, Chief U.S.
Plaintiff Samar Akins (“Plaintiff”) filed his Complaint (Filing No. 1) on
December 9, 2014. Plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
This matter is before the court for pre-service screening of the Complaint.
I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
Plaintiff filed this action against Chief United States District Court Judge Laurie
Smith Camp. He alleged Judge Smith Camp violated his right to due process when
she “sent orders threatening to dismiss [his] lawsuits” based on his failure to update
his address with the court. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 1.) He also alleged she “acted
with malice, bias, and prejudice and retaliation” when she ordered him to show cause
for why filing restrictions should not be imposed against him. (Id. at CM/ECF p. 2.)
Plaintiff alleged Judge Smith Camp’s rulings were made in retaliation for “plaintiff’s
current petition against her comrade Judge Kopf,” the undersigned judge. (Id.) For
relief, Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $100,000.00. (Id.)
II. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
The court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to determine
whether summary dismissal is appropriate. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court must
dismiss a complaint or any portion of it that states a frivolous or malicious claim, that
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Pro se plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to “nudge their
claims across the line from conceivable to plausible,” or “their complaint must be
dismissed.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”).
“The essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure is to give the opposing party ‘fair notice of the nature and basis or grounds
for a claim, and a general indication of the type of litigation involved.’” Topchian v.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Hopkins v.
Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir. 1999)). However, “[a] pro se complaint must
be liberally construed, and pro se litigants are held to a lesser pleading standard than
other parties.” Topchian, 760 F.3d at 849 (internal quotation marks and citations
Liberally construed, Plaintiff here alleges federal constitutional claims. To state
a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege a violation of rights protected
by the United States Constitution or created by federal statute and also must show that
the alleged deprivation was caused by conduct of a person acting under color of state
law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Buckley v. Barlow, 997 F.2d 494, 495
(8th Cir. 1993).
III. DISCUSSION OF CLAIMS
Plaintiff argues Judge Smith Camp violated his right to due process when she
ordered him to update his address with the court or face dismissal of his case, and
when she ordered him to show cause for why filing restrictions should not be imposed
A judge is immune from suit in all but two narrow sets of circumstances.
Schottel v. Young, 687 F.3d 370, 373 (8th Cir. 2012). “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. (internal citations omitted). An act
is judicial if “it is one normally performed by a judge and if the complaining party is
dealing with the judge in his judicial capacity.” Id. (internal citations omitted).
The actions of which Plaintiff complains are plainly judicial in nature and taken
within Judge Smith Camp’s jurisdiction. Ordering Plaintiff to update his address with
the court and ordering Plaintiff to show cause for why filing restrictions should not
be imposed are acts normally performed by a judge. Further, since January of 2014,
Plaintiff has filed 18 cases in this court. One of those cases, Case Number
4:14-cv-03218-LSC-PRSE, was assigned to Judge Smith Camp.1 By filing the case
in the federal district court and then prosecuting it, Plaintiff was dealing with Judge
Smith Camp in her judicial capacity. Plaintiff’s conclusory assertion that Judge Smith
Camp’s rulings were retaliatory is insufficient to overcome her immunity from suit.
The court notes that in Case Number 4:14-cv-03218-LSC-PRSE, in two
separate orders, Judge Smith Camp required Plaintiff to show cause for why filing
restrictions should not be imposed, and also required him to update his address with
the court. (Case No. 4:14-cv-03218-LSC-PRSE, Filing Nos. 5 and 7.)
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
This action is dismissed with prejudice on the grounds that it seeks relief
against a defendant who is immune from suit.
A separate judgment will be entered in accordance with this order.
DATED this 22nd day of April, 2015.
BY THE COURT:
Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge
*This opinion may contain hyperlinks to other documents or Web sites. The U.S. District Court for the District
of Nebraska does not endorse, recommend, approve, or guarantee any third parties or the services or products they
provide on their Web sites. Likewise, the court has no agreements with any of these third parties or their Web sites. The
court accepts no responsibility for the availability or functionality of any hyperlink. Thus, the fact that a hyperlink ceases
to work or directs the user to some other site does not affect the opinion of the court.
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?