United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
closed prisoner civil rights matter is before the Court on
pro se plaintiff Lawrence Martin Edwards'
“Plaintiff's Request for Court Order That Missouri
Attorney General's Office & Department of Corrections
Be Required to Pay Him From Their Legal Expense Fund”
(Doc. 356), and “Memorandum in Support For Accurate
Information, Identification of Tamoshanter Nicols-Cobb a.k.a.
Tamara Cobbs & Motion For Reopening of Complaint”
(Doc. 344). The Court ordered non-parties the Missouri
Attorney General's Office (“AG's Office”)
and Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”)
to respond to these motions and they are now fully briefed.
following reasons, plaintiff's motion to order the
AG's Office and MDOC to pay plaintiff's default
judgment from the Legal Expense Fund will be denied.
Plaintiff's motion to reopen his complaint and for other
relief will be denied.
factual and procedural background of this action was set out
in detail in the Memorandum and Order of January 26, 2017
(Doc. 342 at 1-7) (the “Order”), and that
discussion is incorporated herein by reference. The Order was
issued after plaintiff filed a motion seeking a debtor's
examination of Tamoshanter Cobb, and to issue a writ of
execution to non-party the MDOC and/or its insurer, in a
further effort to collect the default judgment plaintiff
obtained in 2008 against defendant Tamara Cobbs.
explained in the Order, the Court on its own review of the
file became concerned that there may have been two different
former MDOC employees: Tamara Cobbs, the defendant named in
plaintiff's complaint, and Tamoshanter D. Cobb, who
worked at Southeast Correctional Center (“SECC”)
at the time of the events alleged in plaintiff's Amended
Complaint. The Court stated its concern that if Tamara Cobbs
and Tamoshanter D. Cobb were two different people, it was
unsure which one was the “Tamara Cobbs” who was
served with summons and complaint by the U.S. Marshal's
Service in August 2007. Order at 7-8.
resolve its concern, the Court ordered the MDOC to provide
information to answer three questions: (1) Were there two
different persons employed by the MDOC, one named Tamara
Cobbs who left the MDOC's employment in 2001, and one
named Tamoshanter D. Cobb who worked at SECC in 2005; (2)
what address did the MDOC provide to the Court in
camera and under seal in June 2007 as the address of
named defendant Tamara Cobbs; and (3) was the address
provided to the Court in late June 2007 the last known
address of Tamara Cobbs, or Tamoshanter D. Cobb?
Clarification of the Record
response to the Order and the subsequent Memorandum and Order
of March 23, 2017 (Doc. 349), the MDOC filed affidavits of
Assistant Attorney General Deborah Bell Yates, MDOC Legal
Counsel Jay Boresi, and MDOC Human Resources Director Matthew
Briesacher, that sought to answer the Court's questions
and described the steps each affiant undertook.
significantly, a document bearing the caption of this case
and titled “Addresses Filed Under Seal” was filed
as Exhibit 1 to Ms. Bell Yates' Affidavit. (Doc. 351, Ex.
1.) Ms. Bell Yates averred that in response to the
Court's orders, she requested the AG's Office entire
archived closed litigation file of this case, and stated that
Exhibit 1 “is the document we believe was submitted to
the Court under seal pursuant to the Court's order of
June 26, 2007. This document lists the last known address for
‘Tamoshanter Cobbs' at that time. No signed copy of
this exhibit can be located.” Bell Yates Aff. at 2,
¶¶ 3, 7, Ex. 1 (Doc. 351).
1, the document titled “Addresses Filed Under
Seal” states in full:
Pursuant to this Court's order of June 26, 2007 [Doc.
124], counsel for the Missouri Department of Corrections
hereby submits, in camera and under seal, the last
addresses known to the Missouri Department of Corrections for
Defendants Laura Vance and Tamoshanter Cobbs [sic]
(identified in plaintiff's complaint as “Tamara
Cobbs”), former Missouri Department of Corrections
Laura Vance: [redacted], Argyle, TX 76226
Tamoshanter Cobbs [sic]: [redacted], Sikeston, MO 63801
1 bears a signature block for then-Missouri Attorney General
Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, by then-Assistant Missouri Attorney
General Joshua N. Worthington, but the document is not
Court accepts that Exhibit 1 is a copy of the document filed
by the MDOC in June 2007 in response to Judge Buckles'
order. Exhibit 1 answers the Court's second and third
questions listed above. Specifically, Exhibit 1 establishes
the Sikeston, Missouri address that the MDOC provided to the
Court in July 2007 as the address of named defendant Tamara
Cobbs, which the Court in turn provided to the U.S. Marshal
for service. Second, Exhibit 1 establishes that the MDOC knew
in June 2007, and informed the Court, that defendant Tamara
Cobbs' name was actually Tamoshanter D. Cobb and
plaintiff had misnamed her in the Amended
Complaint. Thus, it is clear the MDOC knew plaintiff
intended to sue Tamoshanter D. Cobb and provided the Court
with last known address information of Tamoshanter D. Cobb.
the Court finds that the address the MDOC provided in June
2007 for service on defendant Tamara Cobbs was in fact the
last known address of Tamoshanter D. Cobb, sued as Tamara
Cobbs. As a result, the Court also finds that
Tamoshanter D. Cobb was the person actually served with
summons and complaint in this action, although she was sued
as Tamara Cobbs. The Court's previously expressed concern
as to whether the wrong person might have been served with
summons and complaint was unfounded, and is now
resolved. The Court now turns to plaintiff's
Plaintiff Cannot Collect the Default Judgment from the
State Legal Expense Fund
moves that the AG's Office and MDOC be required to pay
out of the State Legal Expense Fund (the “Fund”)
the $1, 000 default judgment he obtained against Tamara Cobbs
in 2008. Plaintiff asserts that he is entitled to payment
from Fund because the State of Missouri was required to
defend Cobbs in this action, and must pay out of the Fund for