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Wade v. Robertson

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

April 16, 2018




         This matter comes before the court sua sponte on Plaintiff's Complaint [Doc. #20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20], filed April 10, 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2018.[1] Plaintiff Ronald Gene Wade, Jr., appearing pro se, alleges that defendants have deprived him of his Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and Article III rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the federal civil rights statute, through their conduct in relation to Tulsa County case no. CS-20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2017-3452 (“state court case”). Plaintiff also alleges violation of various criminal statutes. Based on the alleged violations, plaintiff seeks actual damages, exemplary damages, pre-judgment interest, post-judgment interest, and attorneys fees and costs. For the reasons discussed below, plaintiff's claims are dismissed with prejudice.

         I. Standard

         A court may dismiss a complaint sua sponte “[i]f it is patently obvious that the plaintiff could not prevail on the facts alleged, and allowing [the plaintiff] an opportunity to amend his complaint would be futile.” King v. Oklahoma City, No. CIV-06-1308-M, 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2007 WL 1519014, at *2 (W.D. Okla. May 21, 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2007) (alteration in original) (quoting McKinney v. Oklahoma, 925 F.2d 363, 365 (10th Cir. 1991)). “In determining whether a dismissal is proper, we must accept the allegations of the complaint as true and construe those allegations, and any reasonable inferences that might be drawn from them, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Gaines v. Stenseng, 292 F.3d 1222, 1224 (10th Cir. 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2002). A complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2007). Although “[a] pro se litigant's pleadings are to be construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” it is not the “proper function of the district court to assume the role of advocate for the pro se litigant.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).

         II. Analysis

         The Complaint asserts claims against eight (8) defendants: (1) Jason A. Robertson; (2)

         Judge Kirsten Pace; (3) Judge William Musseman; (4) Tulsa County District Court; (5) City of Glenpool; (6) Tulsa County Court Clerk; (7) Pierce, Couch, Hendrickson, Baysinger and Green; and (8) OMAG. The court will separately analyze the claims against these defendants.

         A. Jason A. Robertson, Pierce, Couch, Hendrickson, Baysinger and Green, and OMAG

         The Complaint asserts a § 1983 claim against Robertson based on his filings with the Tulsa County Court Clerk and other conduct designed to “Obstruct the Plaintiffs Right to be Heard, Right to Due Process and Right to a Speedy Trial” in violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights.[2]Additionally, the Complaint alleges that Robertson violated six federal criminal statutes-18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 505, 1341, 1621, 1622, and 1623.

         With regard to the § 1983 claim, “[t]o state a claim for relief in an action brought under § 1983, [plaintiff] must establish not only the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, but also a deprivation committed under color of state law.” Brokers' Choice of Am., Inc. v. NBC Universal, Inc., 757 F.3d 1125, 1143 (10th Cir. 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2014). “‘[T]he under-color-of-state-law element of § 1983 excludes from its reach merely private conduct, no matter how discriminatory or wrongful.'” Id. (quoting Am. Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40, 50 (1999)).

         The allegations of the Complaint relate to Robertson's conduct as an attorney in the state court case. The Tenth Circuit follows “the ‘vast weight of authority' [that] holds that ‘private attorneys, by virtue of being officers of the court, do not act under color of state law within the meaning of section 1983.'” Anderson v. Kitchen, 389 Fed.Appx. 838, 841 (10th Cir. 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2010) (quoting Barnard v. Young, 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20 F.2d 1188');">720');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20 F.2d 1188, 1189 (10th Cir. 1983)). Thus, although Robertson is an officer of the court, he is not a state actor for purposes of § 1983 liability.

         Nor does the Complaint plausibly allege that Robertson acted “under color of state law” by conspiring with Judge Musseman, Judge Pace, and the Tulsa County Court Clerk. In the Tenth Circuit, “‘[w]hen a plaintiff in a § 1983 action attempts to assert the necessary ‘state action' by implicating state officials or judges in a conspiracy with private defendants, mere conclusory allegations with no supporting factual averments are insufficient; the pleadings must specifically present facts tending to show agreement and concerted action.'” Scott v. Hern, 216 F.3d 897, 907 (10th Cir. 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2000) (quoting Sooner Prods. Co. v. McBride, 708 F.2d 510, 512 (10th Cir. 1983)).

         Here, although plaintiff alleges “Judge Musseman conspired with the Defendant Attorney to get rid of [him], ” plaintiff does not offer specific factual allegations to support the conspiracy. [Doc. #20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20, p. 9]. Naked assertions of Judge Musseman's alleged conspiracy with Robertson, devoid of factual enhancement, do not push plaintiff's claims over the line from conceivable to probable. See Twombly, 550 U.S. 557 and 570. Additionally, plaintiff asserts that Robertson “conspir[ed] to involve the Tulsa County Court Clerk to Suborn Perjury and introduce a fake document into the Docket.” [Doc. #20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20, p. 11]. However, plaintiff includes no facts from which the court may infer that the Tulsa County Court Clerk agreed or otherwise acted in concert with Robertson. Plaintiff does not identify the specific county employee involved or allege that the court clerk knew that the disputed conduct would result in a violation of plaintiff's rights. Nor does the Complaint describe with any specificity any communication between Robertson and the court clerk from which a meeting of the minds can be inferred. In fact, the Complaint asserts that either Robertson or another attorney from Pierce Couch took the offending document to Tulsa County. Thus, the Complaint fails to specifically present facts tending to show agreement and concerted action with state officials, and therefore does not state a plausible § 1983 claim against Robertson.

         As for Robertson's alleged violation of federal criminal law, none of the six cited statutes provides a private cause of action. Garrett v. Lotus Inv. Funds Inc., 713 Fed.Appx. 792, 793-94 (10th Cir. 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2018) (18 U.S.C. § 241 does not establish a private cause of action); Citi Mortg., Inc. v. Hubbard, No. 13-144-JRT-JSM, 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2014 WL 1303706, at *15 (D. Minn. Mar. 31, 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2014) (no private cause of action under section 505); Saro v. Brown, 11 Fed.Appx. 387, 388 (6th Cir. 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2001) (no private cause of action under section 1341); Fuller v. Unknown Officials from the Justice Dep't Crime Div., 387 Fed.Appx. 3, 4 (D.C. Cir. 20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">20');">2010) ...

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