Matthews v. USA

Filing 82

ORDER accepting and adopting in full the Report and Recommendations ECF No. 74 ; granting ECF Nos. 57 Motion to File Amended Complaint and 80 Plaintiff's Motion to File Reply in Response to Objection; denying ECF No. [ 77] Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Judicial Notice; Amended complaint dismissed without prejudice and without leave to amend; denying as moot ECF Nos. 11 , 25 , 38 , 46 , 48 , 49 , 54 , 55 , 58 , 59 , 69 and 73 ; Clerk directed to enter judgment in favor of Defendants and close this case. Signed by Judge Miranda M. Du on 02/13/2017. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - KW)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 7 *** 8 FELTON L. MATTHEWS, JR., Plaintiff, 9 10 Case No. 3:16-cv-00077-MMD-VPC v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et. al., 11 ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE VALERIE P. COOKE Defendants. 12 13 I. SUMMARY 14 This case involves allegations of a widespread and ongoing conspiracy to 15 interfere with Plaintiff Felton L. Matthews Jr.’s mail in order to frustrate access to the 16 courts. Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate 17 Judge Valerie P. Cooke (ECF No. 74) (“R&R”) relating to Plaintiff’s Motion to File 18 Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 57.) The Court has reviewed Plaintiff’s objection (ECF 19 No. 75) and Defendants’ response (ECF No. 78). Plaintiff also filed a motion for leave to 20 file an attached motion to correct the record (ECF No. 80) to respond to Defendants’ 21 objection. The Court construes Plaintiff’s motion (ECF No. 80) as a request to file a reply 22 in support of his objection and will grant his motion. For the reasons discussed below, the Court adopts the Magistrate Judge’s R&R 23 24 in full. 25 II. BACKGROUND 26 Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections 27 (“NDOC”) and is currently housed at the Ely State Prison (“ESP”). The events giving rise 28 to this action occurred while Plaintiff was held at various correctional facilities. Plaintiff 1 filed his complaint in the Eleventh Judicial District Court for Pershing County, Nevada, 2 asserting claims against various federal, state and local actors. (ECF No. 2-1.) The Court 3 screened the complaint pursuant to 28U.S.C. § 1915A and dismissed all of the claims 4 against state defendants but granted Matthews leave to file an amended complaint. 5 (ECF No. 32.) The Court dismissed claims against the Federal defendants with prejudice 6 on September 26, 2016. (ECF No. 60.) 7 Matthews filed a Motion for Leave to Supplement Original Complaint on August 8 19, 2016, but did not include a copy of any proposed amended complaint. (ECF No. 48.) 9 On September 21, 2016, he filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint and 10 attached a proposed complaint (“Amended Complaint”). (ECF Nos. 57, 57-1.) 11 The Magistrate Judge screened the Amended Complaint and concluded that 12 Matthews failed to correct the problems with his original complaint. The Magistrate 13 Judge recommended that the Court grant Matthews’ Motion for Leave to File an 14 Amended Complaint and then dismiss the Amended Complaint without prejudice and 15 without leave to amend. (ECF No. 74 at 5.) 16 III. LEGAL STANDARD 17 This Court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or 18 recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Where a party 19 timely objects to a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation, then the court is 20 required to “make a de novo determination of those portions of the [report and 21 recommendation] to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In light of Plaintiffs’ 22 objections, the Court has engaged in a de novo review to determine whether to adopt 23 Magistrate Judge Cooke’s recommendation. Where a party fails to object, however, the 24 court is not required to conduct “any review at all . . . of any issue that is not the subject 25 of an objection.” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985). Indeed, the Ninth Circuit has 26 recognized that a district court is not required to review a magistrate judge’s report and 27 recommendation where no objections have been filed. See United States v. Reyna- 28 Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114 (9th Cir. 2003) (disregarding the standard of review employed by 2 1 the district court when reviewing a report and recommendation to which no objections 2 were made); see also Schmidt v. Johnstone, 263 F. Supp. 2d 1219, 1226 (D. Ariz. 2003) 3 (reading the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Reyna-Tapia as adopting the view that district 4 courts are not required to review “any issue that is not the subject of an objection.”). 5 Thus, if there is no objection to a magistrate judge’s recommendation, then the court 6 may accept the recommendation without review. See, e.g., Johnstone, 263 F. Supp. 2d 7 at 1226 (accepting, without review, a magistrate judge’s recommendation to which no 8 objection was filed). 9 IV. DISCUSSION 10 As part of the initial screening order, the Magistrate Judge determined that 11 Matthews’ claims against the state and local defendants were barred by the doctrines of 12 judicial immunity, quasi-judicial immunity, and prosecutorial immunity. (ECF No. 32 at 3- 13 5.) The Magistrate Judge further concluded that Matthews lacked standing to bring a 14 claim based on Nevada’s RICO Act, and that even if he did have standing he did not 15 plead the claim with the requisite specificity. (Id. at 5-6.) Lastly, the Magistrate Judge 16 determined that Matthews’ claim based on the due process clause of the Nevada 17 Constitution relied on vague and conclusory statements, and was therefore also 18 deficient. (Id. at 7-8.) After reviewing Matthews’ proposed Amended Complaint, the 19 Magistrate Judge concluded that it failed to correct any of the problems listed above. 20 (ECF No. 74 at 3.) 21 As an initial matter, the primary problem with the Amended Complaint is that it, 22 like the original complaint, takes a shotgun approach to pleading. It contains at least 30 23 named and unnamed defendants, references to past and ongoing criminal and civil 24 proceedings, legal argument, rhetorical questions, and a cautionary note. As Matthews 25 (who acknowledges in the Amended Complaint that he has had several actions 26 dismissed for being frivolous or failing to state a claim) is likely aware, a properly 27 pleaded complaint must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that 28 the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 3 1 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In her screening order, the Magistrate Judge cautioned 2 Matthews that his complaint was “difficult to parse.” (ECF No. 32 at 2.) The Amended 3 Complaint is no clearer. 4 Matthews argues that in reviewing his Amended Complaint the Magistrate Judge 5 incorrectly applied the applicable law. First, Matthews argues that under Pullman v. 6 Allen, 466 U.S. 522 (1984), his claims against “unknown judges” should proceed 7 because judges are not immune from declaratory and injunctive relief. (ECF No. 75 at 1- 8 2.) Matthews is correct about this point of law, but his Amended Complaint remains 9 deficient with respect to the judicial defendants. His claims against judges are based on 10 the lengths of time various courts have taken to rule on his filings, the ultimate decisions 11 of those courts, and the judges’ alleged knowledge of the “NDOC civil rights conspiracy.” 12 (ECF No. 57-1 at 6, 8-11.) It is unclear which decisions and delays Matthews believes 13 correspond to each of his legal theories. In any event, the Magistrate Judge is correct 14 that his allegations, to the extent that they are not conclusory or barred by immunity 15 doctrines, still fail adequately to allege a conspiracy or any other plausible claim. 16 Matthews next argues that his claims related to defendants who have handled his 17 legal mail are properly plead and that he can provide more specific information about 18 these defendants if granted leave to amend. (ECF No. 75 at 3.) He further argues that 19 the allegations against various clerks are supported and explained by filings he has 20 made in state court, and references various documents as being “in the record” without 21 citing to them or otherwise describing them. (Id. at 2-4.) The Court agrees with the 22 Magistrate Judge’s characterization of these claims as confusing, conclusory, and 23 speculative. (ECF No. 75 at 3.) Furthermore, Matthews does not explain what new 24 information he can provide if granted leave to amend, nor why he has only decided to 25 provide new information a year after filing his original complaint, and only after the 26 Magistrate Judge deemed his Amended Complaint deficient. 27 /// 28 /// 4 1 Lastly, the Court also agrees the additional unrelated claims involving new 2 defendants and causes of action were improperly added to the Amended Complaint and 3 should be disregarded. 4 V. CONCLUSION It 5 is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed that the Report and 6 Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Valerie P. Cooke (ECF No. 75) be accepted and 7 adopted in full. 8 It is ordered that plaintiff’s motion to file amended complaint (ECF No. 57) is 9 granted. Plaintiff’s motion for leave to file judicial notice (ECF No. 77) is denied. Plaintiff 10 appears to offer additional information to supplement his proposed amended complaint, 11 but he cannot seek to supplement his amended complaint nor does the information 12 address the deficiencies that the Court has identified. It is further ordered that the amended complaint be dismissed without prejudice 13 14 and without leave to amend. It is further ordered that Plaintiff’s motion to file reply in response to objection 15 16 (ECF No. 80) is granted. It is further ordered that all pending motions (ECF Nos. 11, 25, 38, 46, 48, 49, 54, 17 18 55, 58, 59, 69, 73) are denied as moot. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment in favor of Defendants and close this 19 20 21 case. DATED THIS 13th day of February 2017. 22 23 MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 24 25 26 27 28 5

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