United States District Court, E.D. California
JAMES O. MOLEN, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES 9th DISTRICT COURT, et al., Defendants.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
M. KELLISON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
proceeding in propria persona, brings this civil action.
Pending before the court is plaintiff's complaint (Doc.
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court is also required to screen
complaints brought by litigants who have been granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). Under these screening provisions, the court must
dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if it: (1) is
frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(A), (B) and 1915A(b)(1), (2).
Moreover, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(h),
this court must dismiss an action “[w]henever it
appears . . . that the court lacks jurisdiction of the
subject matter . . . .” Because plaintiff, who is not a
prisoner, has been granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis, the court will screen the complaint pursuant to
the flexible pleading policy of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, a complaint must give fair notice and state the
elements of a claim plainly and succinctly. See Jones v.
Community Redev. Agency, 733 F.2d 464, 649 (9th Cir.
1984). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires a plaintiff
to “plead a short and plain statement of the elements
of his or her claim, identifying the transaction or
occurrence giving rise to the claim and the elements of the
prima facie case.” Bautista v. Los Angeles
County, 216 F.3d 837, 840 (9th Cir. 2000). Rule 8(d)(1)
requires each allegation to be “simple, concise, and
direct.” A plaintiff must allege with at least some
degree of particularity overt facts which the defendant
engaged in to support plaintiff's claim. See
Jones, 733 F.2d at 649. A complaint does not suffice
“if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement.'” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). However, leave to
amend must be granted “[u]nless it is absolutely clear
that no amendment can cure the defects.” Lucas v.
Dep't of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995)
(per curiam); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1126 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).
brings this action against the United States District Court
including the Clerk of the Court, two District Court Judges,
and a Magistrate Judge with the Eastern District of
California. Plaintiff's complaint is unclear and
confusing, but states he has two other actions in this court,
a criminal action, USA v. Molen, 2:12-cr-0252-TLN,
and a civil action, USA v. Molen,
2:10-cv-2591-KJN-MCE. In the criminal action, plaintiff was
convicted of filing a false lien against IRS officers in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1521, criminal contempt in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 401(3), and endeavoring to
obstruct the administration of the internal revenue laws in
violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a). The civil action
was a suit to enforce a federal tax lien. Plaintiff's
allegations indicate that he is unhappy with judges that
presided over both his prior criminal and civil action. He
indicates that the court and the judges lacked subject matter
jurisdiction, he is unhappy with the lack of response to
motions he filed by the court, and alleges the judges, the
Clerk of the Court and others involved in the other
proceedings conspired against him.
case, the only defendants are judges and employees of the
Court. Judges are absolutely immune from damage actions for
judicial acts taken within the jurisdiction of their courts.
See Schucker v. Rockwood, 846 F.2d 1202, 1204 (9th
Cir. 1988) (per curiam). This immunity is lost only when the
judge acts in the clear absence of all jurisdiction or
performs an act that is not judicial in nature. See
id. Judges retain their immunity even when they are
accused of acting maliciously or corruptly, see Mireles
v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991) (per curiam); Stump
v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356-57 (1978), and when they
are accused of acting in error, see Meek v. County of
Riverside, 183 F.3d 962, 965 (9th Cir. 1999). This
immunity extends to the actions of court personnel when they
act as “an integral part of the judicial
process.” See Mullis v. U.S. Bankruptcy Court,
828 F.2d 1385, 1390 (9th Cir. 1987).
the complaint is difficult to understand in terms of what
plaintiff's claims are, it is clear from the allegations
that plaintiff is unhappy with the defendants based on their
judicial actions. For example, plaintiff alleges the judges
acted without subject matter jurisdiction, failed to respond
to documents plaintiff filed, failed to dismiss the charges
against plaintiff, and that the Clerk failed to file all
motions plaintiff submitted. As the judges and the Clerk of
the Court are absolutely immune from actions for judicial
acts taken within the jurisdiction of their courts, and it is
clear that the only acts challenged are judicial acts, the
complaint is frivolous as a matter of law and fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted.
addition, plaintiff complains about his treatment while
incarcerated, including what he ate, what he wore, access to
his wife, health care received, and other consequences of
being incarcerated, as well as loss of rights from being
convicted, such as the right to bear arms. However, the
defendants he has named are not responsible for, nor have any
direct involvement in, his treatment while incarcerated, and
plaintiff's complaint fails to allege otherwise.
also mentions claims such as false indictment, false arrest,
false prosecution, false conviction, and false imprisonment.
To the extent plaintiff attempts to state such claims, he
would be barred from proceeding on such claims. A civil
action by a federal prisoner seeking monetary damages or
declaratory relief alleging constitutional violations would
amount to an action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown
Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403
U.S. 388 (1971). However, where such an action, as with an
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, would necessarily imply
the invalidity of the prisoner's underlying conviction or
sentence, such a claim is not cognizable unless the
conviction or sentence has first been invalidated on appeal,
by habeas petition, or through some similar proceeding.
See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 483-84 (1994)
(concluding that § 1983 claim not cognizable because
allegations were akin to malicious prosecution action which
includes as an element a finding that the criminal proceeding
was concluded in plaintiff's favor); see also Van
Strum v. Lawn, 940 F.2d 406, 409 (9th Cir.1991)
(“Actions under § 1983 and those under
Bivens are identical save for the replacement of a
state actor under § 1983 by a federal actor under
Bivens.”). Plaintiff fails to allege his
conviction has been invalidated on appeal, by habeas
petition, or though some similar proceeding.
the only defendants named in this case are absolutely immune
from suit, the complaint is frivolous as a matter of law,
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and
should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(I), (ii). Based on the statements made in the
complaint, the ...