United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
WELDON V. BRYANT, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL PRITCHETT, et al., Defendants,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER.
A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on defendant Michael
Pritchett's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion is
granted, and this action is dismissed with prejudice.
brings this action against the Hon. Michael Pritchett,
Circuit Court Judge, 36th Judicial Circuit,
(“Pritchett”) and a John Doe sheriff's
deputy. Plaintiff attended the plea hearing of Alyson Walker
before Pritchett in July 2015. Pritchett accused him of
“trying to pick up young jailed women” and told
him to leave the courtroom. As he was leaving the courtroom,
Pritchett said he did not want plaintiff in his courtroom
unless he had business before the court.
3, 2016, plaintiff attended a proceeding for his
fiancé, again before Pritchett. He says Pritchett
called him to the bench and accused him of passing contraband
to prisoners. Pritchett ordered him out of the courtroom
John Doe followed him out of the courtroom and informed him
that Pritchett had banned him from the courthouse. Doe told
him not to return to the courthouse unless he was summoned by
the court. Plaintiff does not allege, however, that he
subsequently attempted to enter the courthouse but was denied
state a claim under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 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). “To survive a
motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A pleading need not include “detailed factual
allegations, ” but it is not sufficient to tender
“naked assertion[s]” that are “devoid of
further factual enhancement.” Id. (internal
quotation marks omitted). A complaint must do more than
allege “labels and conclusions” or “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
Pritchett contends that he is entitled to absolute immunity
because he has jurisdiction over his courtroom and the
courthouse in which it is located. Alternatively, he argues
that he is entitled to qualified immunity because plaintiff
has failed to identify a clearly established right. The Court
are “entitled to absolute immunity for all judicial
actions that are not ‘taken in a complete absence of
all jurisdiction.'” Penn v. United States,
335 F.3d 786, 789 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting Mireles v.
Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991)). “[J]udicial
immunity is an immunity from suit, not just from ultimate
assessment of damages. . . . Accordingly, judicial immunity
is not overcome by allegations of bad faith or malice, the
existence of which ordinarily cannot be resolved without
engaging in discovery and eventual trial.”
Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11 (citations omitted).
Moreover, allegations of malice are insufficient to overcome
qualified immunity. Id.
acts in his judicial capacity when he exercises control over
his courtroom and the courthouse in which it is located.
See Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333, 358 (1966)
(“the courtroom and courthouse premises are subject to
the control of the court”). As a result,
plaintiff's allegations do not show that Pritchett acted
outside of his jurisdiction, and Pritchett is therefore
entitled to absolute immunity.
Pritchett were not entitled to absolute immunity, he would be
entitled to qualified immunity. “The doctrine of
qualified immunity protects government officials ‘from
liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not
violate clearly established statutory or constitutional
rights of which a reasonable person would have
known.'” Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S.
223, 231 (2009) (quoting Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457
U.S. 800, 818 (1982)). Plaintiff has not shown that Pritchett
violated his constitutional rights or that any such right was
“[t]o state a claim [for denial of meaningful access to
the courts, a plaintiff] must assert that they suffered an
actual injury to pending or contemplated legal claims.”
Myers v. Hundley, 101 F.3d 542, 544 (8th Cir. 1996).
Plaintiff has not alleged that he suffered any legal injuries
as a result of defendant's actions. Therefore, he has
failed to state a First ...