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HAILE v. SAWYER

April 13, 2003

TSEGAI HAILE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
LAURENCE SAWYER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martin J. Jenkins, United States District Judge.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is Judge Laurence Sawyer, Judge Lawrence G. Antolini, Judge Knoel Owen, Judge Robert Boyd, Judge Raima Ballinger,*fn1 Janice Bercut, and Fran gi Sanders' ("collectively, Defendants") motion to dismiss the complaint of Tsegai Haile ("Plaintiff").*fn2 To decide this motion, the Court must determine if Plaintiff, in his complaint, states a claim or claims upon which relief can be granted. Having considered the briefing in this matter, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against a local contractor, Cotherman Construction (Sonoma County Court, case no. MCV 162663). Complaint ¶ 4. The case was arbitrated on November 17, 1999. Id. ¶ 5. The arbitration was binding (Id. ¶ 6, 10), but, according to Plaintiff, limited to statutory violations under California Business & Professions Code § 7085. Id. ¶ 6. The arbitrator awarded Cotherman Construction $1,895. Id. ¶ 9.

Plaintiff then filed a petition to vacate the award and initiate judicial proceedings. The first trial was held on January 25, 2001, and the trial judge, Judge Antolini, ruled against Plaintiff. Id. ¶¶ 11, 18. Plaintiff then filed a petition for rehearing which was heard on September 27, 2001 by Judge Antolini; the arbitration award was again affirmed. Id. ¶¶ 21, 22. Plaintiff also alleges that he was improperly sanctioned by Judge Antolini (Id. ¶¶ 24, 25), and that the judge slandered and defamed him during oral argument. Id. ¶ 29.

Plaintiff then filed a third appeal on January 28, 2002, which was heard on March 28 of the same year. This matter was heard en banc by Judge Owen, Judge Boyd, and Judge Ballinger. Prior to the hearing date, Plaintiff filed a "peremptory challenge" to the panel, which was denied. Id. ¶¶ 35-39. Although the complaint is unclear on this point, it appears, based on Plaintiff's actions, that his appeal was denied.

Afterwards, Plaintiff complained that entry of judgment from the March 28, 2002 hearing was delayed for six weeks, and that the transcript of the hearing was not made available to him until 60 days after the hearing. Id. ¶¶ 36-37. Plaintiff also alleges that the Court reporter, Defendant Sanders, misquoted and erroneously transcribed Plaintiff's arguments during the hearing. Id. ¶ 38.

On June 14, 2002, Plaintiff filed another motion to disqualify the judges. Id. ¶ 40. The matter was heard on September 26, 2002, after being continued several times by the Court. Id. ¶¶ 41-44. The Court denied Plaintiff's motion. Id. ¶ 45. After exhausting his appeal of the arbitration award, Plaintiff filed a complaint against the attorneys for Cotherman Construction; this complaint was dismissed by Judge Sawyer. Id. ¶ 47.

Plaintiff also asserts that Defendant Bercut, Court clerk for the Sonoma Court Superior Court, "denied [P]laintiff[: 1] the right of proper filing of a challenge . . . [; 2] filed the defendant's . . . motion for sanctions to the judge [who] tried the case without official instructions[; 3] continuously discussed the challenges submitted with the judge being challenged and his office . . . [; 4] [c]oncealed the name / identity of the Presiding judge of all judges . . . [; 5] discouraged notification of the events of the Presiding judge . . . [; and 6] failed to consult with the Court clerk to address pleadings properly." Complaint ¶ 184.

On December 6, 2002, Plaintiff filed the instant action, alleging the following causes of action against all Defendants: (1) "Intentional Tort"; (2) "Con[s]piracy"; (3) "Perjury"; (4) "Subornation of Perjury"; (5) "Felony"; (6) "Fraud"; (7) "Breach of Civil Obligation"; (8) "Oppression"; (9) "Obstruction of Justice"; (10) "Malice"; (11) "Harassment"; (12) "False / Defamation & Slander"; (13) "Endangerment"; (14) "Civil Rights Violation"; (15) "Racial Discrimination"; (16) "Intentional Gross Negligence"; and (17) "Abuse of Judicial Power." The Court now considers Defendants' motion to dismiss.

LEGAL STANDARD

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in the complaint. See Cahill v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337 (9th Cir. 1996). Dismissal of an action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate only where it "appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Levine v. Diamanthuset, Inc., 950 F.2d 1478, 1482 (9th Cir. 1991)(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). In reviewing such a motion, the Court must assume all factual allegations to be true and must construe them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See North Star v. Arizona Corp. Comm., 720 F.2d 578, 580 (9th Cir. 1983). Therefore, the Court will dismiss the complaint or ...


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