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Cox v. Hamilton

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

December 13, 2019

WILLIE COX, JR., a/k/a ABBUE-JAU, Plaintiff,
v.
JEAN C. HAMILTON, Defendant.

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Willie Cox, Jr., a/k/a Abbue-Jau, for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action. For the reasons explained 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 Horsey v. Asher, 741 F.2d 209, 213 (8th Cir. 1984), Cooper v. Wood, 111 F.3d 135 (8th Cir. 1997) (unpublished); see also In re McDonald, 489 U.S. 180 (1989) (leave to proceed in forma pauperis can be denied based in part on prior abusive litigation).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 case at bar is one of many interrelated civil rights actions plaintiff has filed pro se and in forma pauperis in this Court since September 17, 2019.[1] As of the date of this Memorandum and Order, all of plaintiff's 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 therein. In Cox v. City of Clayton, 4:19-cv-03091-RLW, the Honorable Ronnie L. White determined that plaintiff's repeated filing of frivolous and interrelated lawsuits amounted to abuse of the judicial process, and cautioned him that restrictions may be imposed 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 brings this action against the Honorable Jean C. Hamilton. His statement of the claim is as follows:

Ms. Jean C. Hamilton violated the contract. When Ms. Jean C. Hamilton violated the contract. Where Ms. Jean C. Hamilton was when she violated the contract. An unlawful act by Ms. Jean C. Hamilton distressed me. Ms. Jean C. Hamilton violated the United States Constitution and breached her duty and violated her oath.

         Attached to plaintiff's complaint are six typewritten pages referring to the United States Constitution, jurisdiction, and “relevant and supporting cases.” Although the basis of plaintiff's complaint is unclear, he appears to be challenging the constitutionality of traffic tickets. Plaintiff seeks a total of $6.4 million in damages.

         Discussion

         The Court finds that plaintiff's in forma pauperis application should be denied and this action should be dismissed because the complaint is frivolous and malicious. The complaint is frivolous because judges generally cannot be sued for monetary relief based on alleged judicial misconduct, and nothing in the instant complaint establishes that Judge Hamilton acted in the absence of jurisdiction or outside her judicial capacity. See Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 434-35 (1976) (citing Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 (1967)). The complaint is malicious because it is clear from the circumstances surrounding the filing and the nature of the allegations that plaintiff filed the complaint to harass and disparage Judge Hamilton for ruling against him, see Spencer, 656 F.Supp. at 461-63, and because the complaint is clearly part of a pattern of abusive and repetitious lawsuits. See Horsey, 741 F.2d at 213.

         Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma ...


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