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Latronica v. England

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 3, 2016

MELANIE C. LATRONICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MORRISON C. ENGLAND, JR., et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 1)

         Plaintiff Melanie Chantell Latronica, proceeding pro se, filed this action on July 28, 2016, along with an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Plaintiff seeks relief from judgment from orders issued in cases decided by Judge Morrison C. England and Judge Richard Seeborg. For the reasons discussed below, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed without leave to amend.

         I.

         SCREENING STANDARD

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must dismiss a case if at any time the Court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         “[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability . . . 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         III.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff states that she is removing this action from other federal courts in which the judges assigned to the cases issued orders adverse to her. Plaintiff contends that the actions were filed in the wrong districts which made it impossible for her to ultimately prevail on the merits of her claims. (Compl. 1, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges that she was given the death penalty without due process, is innocent, and is not in her body. (Id.) Plaintiff contends that she was stolen as a baby and has had 46 years of life long torture in living hell. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff states that when she filed some of her cases the defendants did not answer; and on August 22, 2012, Judge England entered judgment without due process. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff's complaint is largely unintelligible but she appears to seek relief under Rule 60 for opinions issued by Judge Morrison C. England and Judge Richard Seeborg alleging they are responsible for her lifelong torture issues. (Id.)

         A. Judicial Officers Are Entitled to Absolute Judicial Immunity

         Plaintiff alleges that Judge England denied her due process by entering judgment on August 22, 2012. The Court takes judicial notice of Latronica v. State of California, No. 2:12-cv-01047-MCE-GGH PS (E.D. Cal.). In this action Judge England issued an order on August 22, 2012 adopting findings and recommendations which recommended dismissing the action with prejudice for the plaintiff's failure to file an amended complaint in compliance with a court order. Latronica v. State of California, No. 2:12-cv-01047-MCE-GGH PS (E.D. Cal. Aug. 22, 2012) (ECF No. 13.)

         Absolute judicial immunity is afforded to judges for acts performed by the judge that relate to the judicial process. In re Castillo, 297 F.3d 940, 947 (9th Cir. 2002), as amended (Sept. 6, 2002). “This immunity reflects the long-standing 'general principle of the highest importance to the proper administration of justice that a judicial officer, in exercising the authority vested in him, shall be free to act upon his own convictions, without apprehension of personal consequences to himself.' ” Olsen v. Idaho State Bd. of Med., 363 F.3d 916, 922 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. 335, 347 (1871)). This judicial immunity insulates judges from suits brought under section 1983. Olsen, 363 F.3d at 932.

         Absolute judicial immunity insulates the judge from actions for damages due to judicial acts taken within the jurisdiction of the judge's court. Ashelman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072, 1075 (9th Cir. 1986). “Judicial immunity applies 'however erroneous the act may have been, and however injurious in its consequences it may have proved to the plaintiff.' ” Id. (quoting Cleavinger v. Saxner, 474 U.S. 193 (1985)). However a judge is not immune where he acts in the clear absence of jurisdiction or for acts that are not judicial in nature. Ashelman, 793 F.2d at 1075. Judicial conduct falls within “clear absence of all jurisdiction, ” where the judge “acted with clear lack of all subject matter jurisdiction.” Stone v. Baum, 409 F.Supp.2d 1164, 1174 (D. Ariz. 2005).

         To determine if an act is judicial in nature, the court considers whether (1) the precise act is a normal judicial function; (2) the events occurred in the judge's chambers; (3) the controversy centered around a case then pending before the judge; and (4) the events at issue arose directly and immediately out of a confrontation with the judge in his or her official capacity. Duvall v. Cty. of Kitsap, 260 F.3d 1124, 1133 (9th Cir. 2001), as amended on denial of reh'g (Oct. 11, 2001) (quoting Meek v. County of Riverside, 183 F.3d 962, 967 (9th Cir.1999)).

         Here, the acts for which Plaintiff seeks to hold Judge England liable meet the test for judicial action taken within his jurisdiction. Judge England adopted the findings and recommendations issued by the magistrate judge after Plaintiff failed to file an amended complaint. This is clearly judicial conduct over which Judge England had jurisdiction and that falls within Judge England's judicial capacity. ...


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