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Cox v. Autrey

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

December 5, 2019

WILLIE COX, JR., a/k/a ABBUE-JAH, Plaintiff,
v.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Willie Cox, a/k/a Abbue-Jah, for leave to commence this civil action without prepayment of the required filing fee. (Docket No. 2). For the reasons discussed below, the motion will be denied, and this case will be dismissed.

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court is required to closely screen cases where, as here, there is an application to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court may deny a litigant leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss an action if it determines that the complaint is frivolous or malicious. A complaint is frivolous "where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A complaint is malicious if it was filed for the purpose of harassing the named defendant and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F.Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D. N.C. 1987), aff'd 826 F.2d 1061 (4th Cir. 1987).

         When considering whether a complaint is malicious, the Court may refer to objective factors such as the circumstances surrounding the filing and the nature of the allegations. Id. Additionally, the Eighth Circuit has recognized that "malicious" applies to situations where the complaint is "plainly part of a longstanding pattern of abusive and repetitious lawsuits." Horsey v. Asher, 741 F.2d 209, 213 (8th Cir. 1984); and Cooper v. Wood, 111 F.3d 135 (8th Cir. 1997) (unpublished). See also In re McDonald, 489 U.S. 180 (1989) (leave to proceed in forma pauperis can be denied based in part on prior abusive litigation).

         Background

         The instant case is one of many interrelated civil rights actions that plaintiff has filed pro se and in forma pauperis in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri since September 17, 2019.[1] As of the date of this order, all of plaintiffs cases that have been reviewed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) have been dismissed for one of the reasons set forth in the statute.

         In Cox v. City of Clayton, 4:19-cv-03091-RLW, the Honorable Ronnie L. White determined that plaintiffs repeated filing of frivolous and interrelated lawsuits amounted to abuse of the judicial process. Plaintiff was cautioned that restrictions may be imposed on him if he continued the practice. On November 22, 2019, plaintiff began filing lawsuits seeking damages against the District Judges of this Court who dismissed his cases.[2]

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is a pro se litigant who brings this civil action against Judge Henry Edward Autrey. The complaint is on a Court-provided form, and includes a 57-page attachment consisting of various documents.

         The "Statement of Claim" section in the form complaint contains only the notation: "See attached with highlighted violations." (Docket No. 1 at 5). Within the attachment, there is a copy of a court order dismissing plaintiffs case, signed by Judge Autrey. (Docket No. 1-1 at 40-46). Plaintiff has annotated the order by circling or underlining words and passages, and by adding margin notes. The marginalia variously accuse the Court of constitutional violations and fraud.

         The balance of the attachment includes legal definitions, case citations, and legal arguments. The upshot of these documents is plaintiffs apparent belief that he has a right to drive his vehicle without being subject to state or local regulations, and that any traffic citation he receives is a constitutional violation.

         Plaintiff seeks $1.6 million in general damages, $1.6 million in actual damages, ...


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