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Kissi v. United States

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


August 5, 2008

DAVID KISSI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the Court is plaintiff's pro se complaint for damages in which he also makes a request for appointed counsel. The complaint will be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and any other pending motion denied as moot.

Plaintiff, who lists an address indicating that he is currently imprisoned,*fn1 filed suit in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia seeking$100 million in damages from a federal district court judge, alleging that the judge abused his discretion in the conduct of cases involving the plaintiff. (See Compl. at 2.) The complaint alleges that the judge's conduct deprived him of his First and Fifth Amendment rights. (Id.) Plaintiff was granted permission by Order of the Superior Court dated May 27, 2008, to proceed in forma pauperis. After certifying that the judicial conduct alleged in the complaint was undertaken in the judge's official capacity, the United States was substituted for the judge as the sole defendant pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2679(d). The United States removed the case to this Court and amended the case caption to reflect that the United States is the real party in interest.

This Court is obligated to conduct early screening of complaints filed by prisoners proceeding in forma pauperis, 28 U.S.C. 1915A(a). At any time that the Court determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief, the Court shall dismiss the case. 28 U.S.C. 1915(e). The complaint alleges violations of the plaintiff's First and Fifth Amendment rights, but both the United States and the federal judge are immune from money damages for any alleged violations of plaintiff's First or Fifth Amendment rights. Sovereign immunity bars all suits against the United States, except when there has been a statutory waiver of such immunity. See United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535, 538 (1980) (explaining that the United States, as sovereign, is immune from suit except where it consents to be sued, and that a waiver of sovereign immunity cannot be implied but must be expressed with clear congressional intent). The United States has not waived its sovereign immunity with respect to constitutional tort claims. Clark v. Library of Congress, 750 F .2d 89, 103 n. 31, 104 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (holding in suit against Library and Librarian of Congress for violation of First Amendment rights that sovereign immunity barred suit for money damages against Library and Librarian acting in his official capacity); Laswell v. Brown, 683 F.2d 261, 268 (8th Cir. 1982) (holding that the United States and its agencies enjoyed sovereign immunity from constitutional tort claim). Moreover, federal judges enjoy absolute judicial immunity from suits for money damages for all actions taken in the judge's judicial capacity . . . ." Sindram v. Suda, 986 F .2d 1459, 1460 (D.C. Cir. 1993) (citing Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9 (1991) ( per curiam ) ("A long line of this Court's precedents acknowledges that, generally a judge is immune from a suit for money damages."). Having reviewed this complaint, the Court finds that the plaintiff seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Accordingly, the complaint will be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii) and 1915A(a)(b)(2). All other pending motions will be denied as moot.

A related Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.


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