United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
T. SCHULTZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is presently before the Court for review of Plaintiff
Houston Byrd, Jr.'s pro se Complaint and
Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
(“IFP”). ECF No. 3. For the reasons outlined
below, the Court recommends that the IFP application be
denied and the Complaint be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)-(iii) for failure to state a claim because
the only named Defendant is immune from suit.
Complaint is unclear but he repeatedly refers to a case he
filed in the Minnesota state court for Hennepin County
against General Mills, Civil Case # 27-cv-15-20681, which
appears to have been dismissed on March 27, 2017. ECF No. 1
at 6 (“prior to the sua sponte dismissal”); ECF
No. 1-1 at 8; see also Minnesota Register of
Actions, http://pa.courts.state.mn.us. Byrd appears
to disagree with the outcome of the case and the court fees
associated with litigating the matter and he seeks to sue the
presiding judge, Karen A. Janisch. ECF No. 1 at 6, 11. The
Complaint contains very few factual allegations but rather is
comprised mostly of state court pleadings, federal court
forms that are either blank or filled with quotes from legal
materials, and generalized and conclusory claims of
Byrd qualifies financially for IFP status, an IFP
applicant's Complaint will be dismissed if the Complaint
fails to state a cause of action on which relief may be
granted or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from suit. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)-(iii); Atkinson v. Bohn, 91 F.3d
1127, 1128 (8th Cir. 1996) (per curiam). Although the factual
allegations in the complaint need not be detailed, they must
be sufficient to “raise a right to relief above the
speculative level . . . .” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The complaint must
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. at 570. In assessing the
sufficiency of the complaint, the court may disregard legal
conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A complaint
does not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.'” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Pro se
complaints are to be construed liberally, but they still must
allege sufficient facts to support the claims advanced.
See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir.
case, the only named Defendant, Judge Karen Janisch, is
immune from suit under the doctrine of judicial immunity. It
is well-settled that judges are absolutely immune from civil
lawsuits that are based on allegedly wrongful acts or
omissions that occurred while performing their judicial
functions. Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 553-54
(1967); Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 355-57
(1978); Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991);
Liles v. Reagan, 804 F.2d 493, 495 (8th Cir. 1986).
There are only two sets of circumstances in which the
doctrine of judicial immunity can be overcome - (1) if the
judge is being sued for actions that were not taken in his or
her judicial capacity, and (2) if the judge is being sued for
actions taken “in the complete absence of
jurisdiction.” Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11-12.
Neither of those circumstances is present here. Byrd's
disagreement with the dismissal of his state court action is
insufficient. The dismissal of the case was obviously taken
while Judge Janisch was serving in her judicial capacity and
there are no allegations suggesting she acted “in the
complete absence of jurisdiction.” Byrd obviously
believes that the Judge misapplied the law, deprived him of
his legal rights, or committed other errors. However,
“[a judge's] errors may be corrected on appeal, but
he should not have to fear that unsatisfied litigants may
hound him with litigation charging malice or
corruption.” Pierson, 386 U.S. at 554. The
alleged misdeeds occurred while the defendant was serving as
a judge in a matter that was properly before her and
“judicial immunity is not overcome by allegations of
bad faith or malice.” Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11.
reasons discussed above, this Court therefore recommends that
Byrd's pending IFP application be denied, and that this
action be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). It is further recommended that
Byrd's pending Motion for Default Judgment be denied as
upon the above, and upon all the records and proceedings
herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that:
1. Plaintiff Houston Byrd, Jr.'s Application For Leave to
Proceed In Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 3) be DENIED;
2. This action be DISMISSED without prejudice pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)-(iii);
3. Byrd's Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 5) be
DENIED as moot.
Objections: This Report and Recommendation is not an
order or judgment of the District Court and is therefore not
appealable directly to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Local Rule 72.2(b)(1), “a party may file and serve
specific written objections to a magistrate judge's
proposed finding and recommendations within 14 days after
being served a copy” of the Report and Recommendation.
A party may respond to those objections within 14 days after
being served a copy of the objections. LR 72.2(b)(2). ...