United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Carl Green, Carl Green Assignee of Rainbow House, LLC, Carl Green Assignee of Estate of Larry Gray and Kathleen Gray, Plaintiffs,
Attorney Thomas Carlson, The Honorable John Hoffman, and the Chief Judge Douglas Meslow, Defendants.
Green, pro se.
Jeffrey R. Peters and Michael A. Klutho, Bassford Remele,
Minneapolis, MN for Defendant Thomas Carlson.
Kathryn Iverson Landrum, Minnesota Attorney General's
Office, St. Paul, MN for Defendants Judge John Hoffman and
Chief Judge Douglas Meslow.
OPINION AND ORDER
C. Tostrud United States Judge.
case is pro se Plaintiff Carl Green's response to
separate Minnesota state-court litigation that has thus far
not gone as Green would like. In this case, Green has sued a
Minnesota attorney, Thomas Carlson, who represented a party
or parties adverse to Green in the state-court litigation,
and two judges in Minnesota's Tenth Judicial District,
Chief Judge Douglas B. Meslow and Judge John C. Hoffman, who
issued orders in that litigation. Green asserts several
federally created claims here, and Defendants have filed
motions that, if granted, would result in the dismissal of
this case. Defendants' motions will be granted.
Green's claims are not viable under the law.
turning to a description of Green's claims, it is
necessary first to clear procedural underbrush: the most
recent “second amended” version of Green's
complaint [ECF No. 27] is improper and must be stricken. A
plaintiff may amend his complaint once as a matter of course
within 21 days after serving it or, if it is one to which a
responsive pleading is required, then within 21 days after
being served with a motion under rule 12(b), (e), or (f).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). “In all other cases, a party may
amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written
consent or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Here, Green filed his initial complaint on June 25,
2019. Compl. [ECF No. 1]. On July 9, 2019, fewer than 21 days
after filing and serving the complaint, Green filed and
served an amended complaint. Am. Compl. [ECF No. 6]. On
August 7, 2019, Green filed a second amended complaint.
Second Am. Compl. [ECF No. 27]. Under the plain text of Rule
15, Green was required to obtain Defendants' written
consent or leave of court before filing his second amended
complaint, but he did not do that. For this reason, Defendant
Carlson has moved to strike Green's second amended
complaint, and that motion must be granted. A party may move
to strike “from a pleading an insufficient defense or
any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f)(2). Although Rule 12(f)
seems to contemplate striking only portions of a pleading,
rather than a pleading in its entirety, courts in this
district have granted motions to strike entire pleadings
pursuant to Rule 12(f). See, e.g.,
Cahoon v. L.B. White Co., Inc., No. 19-cv-0155
(WMW/ECW), 2019 WL 3719413, at *3 (D. Minn. Aug. 7, 2019);
Kennedy v. Mallinckrodt, Inc., No. 19-cv-2266
(PAM/JSM), 2008 WL 11349802, at *1 (D. Minn. June 13, 2008).
This means that Green's July 9 amended complaint is the
amended complaint, Green asserts claims against Defendants as
follows: against Carlson alone, Green asserts a claim for
accounting and for violation of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692
et seq.; against Chief Judge Meslow and Judge
Hoffman, Green asserts a claim of deprivation of civil rights
under color of law in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242;
against all defendants, Green asserts a claim of conspiracy
against civil rights in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241,
and he seeks preliminary injunctive relief under 18 U.S.C.
§ 242. The facts supporting these claims are not easy to
follow, though Green's claims all seem to stem
essentially from a foreclosure action filed by Chamberlain
Homeowners Association against the owner of a home, Rainbow
House, LLC, and the second mortgage holder, PNC National
Bank. See Carlson Mem. in Supp. at 2 [ECF No. 10];
Judicial Defs. Mem. in Supp. at 1-2 [ECF No. 19]; Affidavit
of Kathryn Iverson Landrum (“Landrum Aff.”) Ex. A
[ECF No. 20-1 at 1]; Declaration of Jeffrey R. Peters
(“Peters Decl.”) Ex. D [ECF No. 11-1 at 9]. In
that case, Chamberlain Homeowners Association obtained a
judgment against Rainbow House. See Carlson Mem. in
Supp. at 2; Peters Decl. Ex. D at 1. It appears that case is
still ongoing and has been appealed to the Minnesota Court of
Appeals. See Not. of State Court Filings [ECF No.
FDCPA claim against Carlson. The overwhelming majority
of the amended complaint relates to Green's FDCPA claim
against Carlson. See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 7-34.
Green alleges that Carlson arbitrarily billed Green more than
$10, 000 in attorney's fees in relation to a judgment of
$1, 500 or less in the above-mentioned foreclosure action.
Id. ¶ 8(d) (alleging judgment of $1, 500);
see also Peters Decl. Ex. C at 7 (entering money
judgment of $1, 326.00). Green alleges that, when Carlson
tried to collect the attorney's fees and/or the judgment,
Carlson violated the FDCPA by engaging in harassing,
oppressive, or abusive conduct. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9-10.
Green alleges that Carlson represented that Carlson had the
legal right to collect “the unreasonable sums in
attorney fees sought in the amount of more than $10, 000 and
court cost.” Id. ¶ 11. Green says that
Carlson “does not in fact have the legal right to
collect the unreasonable sums . . . because no sum is owed by
Plaintiff Carl Green to Chamberlain Homeowners Association
and the judgment was satisfied by plaintiff Carl
Green.” Id. ¶¶ 11-12. By
“falsely representing that there exists a proper and
legally valid agreement between Carl Green and Chamberlain
Homeowners Association and a right of recovery due to
Plaintiff Carl Green thereon, and by filing a lawsuit to
vacate a satisfied judgment by default . . . Carlson has
violated the FDCPA[.]” Id. ¶ 13. Green
further alleges Carlson “has communicated credit
information to persons, including but not limited to credit
reporting bureau[s] or agencies, with respect to Plaintiff
and foreclosed, which it knew or should have known to be
false[.]” Id. ¶ 29. These communications
with credit bureaus or agencies included “alleg[ations]
Plaintiff owed the purported debt which was subject of state
action and foreclosure and Chamberlain Homeowner's is the
original creditor.” Id. ¶ 29. Green
asserts that these communications were material, false, and
misleading. Id. ¶ 31. Therefore, Green alleges
that these communications violated the FDCPA. Id.
claim for deprivation of civil rights in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 242 against Chief Judge Meslow and Judge
Hoffman. Green's claim for deprivation of civil
rights under 18 U.S.C. § 242 challenges Chief Judge
Meslow and Judge Hoffman's refusal to “remove
themselves from hearing a Rule 60 Motion from [sic] relief
from a judgment denying Plaintiff's rights to due process
of law.” Id. ¶ 39. Green's reference
to “Rule 60” seems best understood either as one
brought as a motion for relief from a judgment or order under
Rule 60 or as a notice to remove a judge or judicial officer
under Rule 63.03 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure.
Green says he requested that Judge Hoffman recuse himself
from hearing that Rule 60 motion, and Judge Hoffman denied
that request. Id.
not explicitly alleged, Green appears to allege that he
appealed that denial to Chief Judge Meslow, who denied
Green's appeal. See id; see also
Judicial Def. Mem. in Supp. at 2; Landrum Aff. Exs. G-J.
Green further alleges that “[t]he above Judge has in
the past, deliberately violated other litigants' personal
liberties and/or wantonly refused to provide due process and
equal protection to all litigants before the Court or has
behaved in a matter [sic] inconsistent with that which is
needed for full and fair impartial hearings.” Am.
Compl. ¶ 42.
civil-rights conspiracy claim under 18 U.S.C. § 241
against all Defendants. In support of his claim that
Defendants conspired to deprive him of civil rights, Green
[t]wo or more attorneys have conspired to injure, oppress,
threaten or intimidate Carl Green and Carl Green assignee of
Rainbow House, LLC and Carl Green Assignee of the Estate of
Larry and Kathleen Gray from the free exercise of a Rule 60
motion from relief from a judgment by due process of law and
equal protection of the law in the pursuit of liberty and
property interest, a right or privilege secured to Plaintiff
by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because
of him having exercised the same.
Id. ¶ 37. Essentially, Green seems to assert
that defendants conspired to deny Green's Rule 60 motion
for relief from a judgment.
request for an injunction. Green “seeks
preliminary injunctive relief on the summary eviction action
until his claims can be heard under the color of law for the
deprivation of his civil rights.” Id. ¶
50. The amended complaint asserts no facts relating to any
summary eviction action, but it appears from the motions to
dismiss that an eviction action was filed against Green in
June 2019. Peters Decl. Ex. E at 1; Landrum Aff. Ex. L at 1.
It seems that the case has been completed ...