Ratcliff v. State of Texas et al
ORDER ADOPTING 53 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS and of Dismissal. The defendants' motions to dismiss 19 , 20 , 24 , 32 & 45 are GRANTED. The claims asserted by the plaintiff in this case are DISMISSED in their entirety, with prejudice. The City of Livingston's motion for sanctions 25 is GRANTED. Plaintiff, Elijah W. Ratcliff, is ORDERED to pay expenses and attorneys' fees to the City of Livingston in the amount of $4,200.00, as proven up in the motion for sa nctions, within ninety (90) days of this order. A monetary penalty is imposed on plaintiff Elijah W. Ratcliff in the amount of $1500.00, payable within ninety (90) days of this order to the Clerk, United States District Court, Beaumont Divisio n for deposit into the Treasury of the United States. The Clerk is ORDERED to refuse to accept any new filings from Elijah W. Ratcliff unless and until the full monetary sanction is paid in full to the Clerk. If the sanction is paid in full, th e Clerk shall not accept any new filings without prior judicial approval, obtained in response to the filing of a letter brief, finding that the pleading is filed in good faith. The Clerk is directed to CLOSE this case. This constitutes a final judgment for appeal purposes. Signed by Judge Ron Clark on 3/7/17. (ljw, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
ELIJAH W. RATCLIFF,
STATE OF TEXAS, et al.,
Civil Action No. 9:15-CV-106
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE AND OF DISMISSAL
The Court referred this matter to United States Magistrate Judge Keith F. Giblin for
consideration and recommended disposition of case-dispositive pretrial motions. On February 13,
2017, Judge Giblin issued a Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 55) in which he recommended
that the Court grant the defendants’ numerous motions to dismiss and dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims
in their entirety. He also recommended that the Court grant the Defendant City of Livingston’s
motion for sanctions and order the plaintiff to pay the City of Livingston $4,200.00 in expenses
and attorney’s fees as a sanction. Finally, Judge Giblin recommended that the Court impose a
monetary sanction in the amount of $1500.00 against Mr. Ratcliff and order that the Clerk not
accept any new filings from him until that fine is paid.
On February 24, 2017, the plaintiff submitted objections (Doc. No. 55). He vaguely objects
to the “magistrate’s failure to provide findings of facts and conclusions of law”, but appears to
merely restate many of the rambling and conclusory claims that were already on file in his
numerous filings with the court at the time Judge Giblin issued his report. He then simply points
to his prior briefs in support of his objections to Judge Giblin’s recommendation that sanctions be
imposed. Next, Mr. Ratcliff objects to the failure of Judge Giblin “to include a finding of fact or
conclusion of law on the disqualification within the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Texas as require[d] by Title 28, United States Code, Sections 144 and 455.” See
Objections, at pp. 2-8.
The objections do not discuss how the plaintiff contends the magistrate judge specifically
erred in recommending dismissal. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d
404, 410 n.8 (5th Cir. 1982)(en banc)(“Parties filing objections must specifically identify those
findings objected to. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections need not be considered by the
district court.”) They merely reassert the same disjointed and unsupported contentions already
presented to the Court in previous filings. Nothing in the plaintiff’s objections speaks to or alters
the magistrate judge’s detailed findings and legal conclusions regarding the frivolousness of
Ratcliff’s claims, the applicable res judicata bar, or the propriety of sanctions in this case. As
discussed in the report, Mr. Ratcliff has been sanctioned on numerous other occasions for filing
frivolous suits yet he continues to re-assert the same claims. Furthermore, Mr. Ratcliff has not
stated any legitimate grounds supporting his general request for disqualification of the judiciary of
the Eastern District of Texas. See 28 U.S.C. § 455(a)&(b)(enumerating specific circumstances
warranting disqualification). The plaintiff failed to present specific evidence or argument in
response to the magistrate judge’s recommended disposition that dismissal and sanctions are not
warranted. There is no constitutional right of access to the courts to prosecute an action that is frivolous,
malicious, or pursued for the sole purpose of harassing another. Villar v. Crowley Maritime Corp., 990
F.2d 1489, 1499 (5th Cir. 1993). As a general matter, the Court is authorized to enjoin further filings
without leave of Court when necessary to deter vexatious filings that are merely a flagrant abuse of the
judicial process. Kaminetzky v. Frost National Bank of Houston, et. al., 881 F.Supp. 276, 277 (S.D. Tex
1995). The Supreme Court of the United States has recognized that courts may take injunctive action to
prevent frivolous filings. See generally In re McDonald, 489 U.S. 180 (1989). This Court finds the filings
of the Plaintiff a in this matter to be vexatious filings that are a flagrant abuse of judicial process and
deserving of sanctions. The Court recognizes that the resources of the federal court system and federal
government should and must be protected from this type of abuse and waste. The Court finds that
the sanctions recommended by the Magistrate Judge and imposed by this order are the least severe
that will properly deter Plaintiff and others from similar conduct.
Accordingly, having considered the report of the magistrate judge, the plaintiff’s
objections, and having conducted a de novo review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 72, the Court is of the opinion that the findings and conclusions of the
Magistrate Judge are correct. It is therefore ORDERED that the report and recommendation of
the magistrate judge (Doc. No. 53) is ADOPTED. The defendants’ motions to dismiss (Doc. Nos.
19, 20, 24, 32, 45) are GRANTED. The claims asserted by the plaintiff in this case are
DISMISSED in their entirety, with prejudice.
The Court further ORDERS that the City of Livingston’s motion for sanctions (Doc. No.
25) is GRANTED. Plaintiff, Elijah W. Ratcliff, is ORDERED to pay expenses and attorneys’
fees to the City of Livingston in the amount of $4,200.00, as proven up in the motion for sanctions,
within ninety (90) days of this order.
Finally, the Court ORDERS that a monetary penalty is imposed on plaintiff Elijah W.
Ratcliff in the amount of $1500.00, payable within ninety (90) days of this order to the Clerk,
United States District Court, Beaumont Division for deposit into the Treasury of the United States.
Plaintiff, Elijah W. Ratcliff, and any counsel for Plaintiff, are hereby enjoined from filing any
further action, complaint, or motion in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Texas without first paying the sanction ordered, and the previous sanctions ordered by this court,
and obtaining leave from the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District
of Texas. The Clerk is ORDERED to refuse to accept any new filings from Elijah W. Ratcliff
unless and until the full monetary sanction is paid in full to the Clerk. It is further ORDERED
that if the sanction is paid in full, the Clerk shall not accept any new filings without prior judicial
approval, obtained in response to the filing of a letter brief, finding that the pleading is filed in
The Clerk is directed to CLOSE this case. This constitutes a final judgment for appeal
So ORDERED and SIGNED this 7 day of March, 2017.
Ron Clark, United States District Judge
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