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Banks v. Kramer

March 24, 2009

SIMON BANKS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NOEL ANKETELL KRAMER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Simon Banks is suing five individuals and five organizations. The individual defendants are D.C. Court of Appeals Judges Noel Anketell Kramer (personal capacity), Annice Wagner (personal capacity), and John Ferren (personal and official capacity), Clerk of the Court of Appeals Garland Pinkston (personal and official capacity), and D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles (consistently misspelled throughout plaintiff's Complaint as "Nickels") (official capacity). Sued as organizations are the D.C. Court of Appeals ("DCCA"), the D.C. Bar Foundation ("DCBF"), the District of Columbia itself, the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, and the nonprofit Council for Court Excellence ("CCE").

The Court will attempt to give a factual background, although plaintiff's Complaint does not exactly make clear which facts are relevant. Plaintiff is a graduate of Howard University School of Law. Plaintiff is not now and has never been admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia (or apparently of any state). Plaintiff asserts that he was certified by the District of Columbia "as Administrative Law Judge and Hearing Administrator" in 1981. (Compl. ¶16.)

Plaintiff also asserts that "[p]eriodically, from 1987 through 2002," he "practiced administrative law" before various federal and D.C. administrative agencies. (Compl. ¶18.) Plaintiff's Complaint then launches into a variety of allegations that defendants limited his ability to work as an administrative law judge, limited his ability to practice in front of administrative agencies or market his services, defamed him, and otherwise harmed him through their actions.

At this time there are eleven motions pending in this case. Three of those motions- defendants' dispositive motions-are substantive motions whose resolution will help this litigation move forward. The remaining eight motions-all filed by plaintiff-are marred by scant legal support, noncompliance with simple local rules, and a general lack of clarity or coherence. Nevertheless, the Court notes that it must construe plaintiff's pro se filings liberally. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). The Court will dispose of plaintiff's motions first before moving on to defendants' dispositive motions.

A. Plaintiff's Motions [48] and [79] to Amend His Complaint Fail to Comply with Local Civil Rule 7(i) and Shall Be Denied

Plaintiff's Motion [48] seeks to amend his Amended Complaint to add additional charges against defendant DCBF. The substance of the motion, however, also seems to request reconsideration of the Court's Order [38] denying plaintiff's earlier Motion [32] to add additional claims against DCBF. Regardless of whether plaintiff's motion is construed as one for leave to amend or one for reconsideration, it is deficient and shall be denied.

If plaintiff's motion is considered as one for leave to amend, it shall be denied for the same reason as plaintiff's earlier Motion [32]. The Court denied plaintiff's Motion [32] for failure to comply with Local Civil Rule 7(i), which requires that "[a] motion for leave to file an amended pleading shall be accompanied by an original of the proposed pleading as amended." Plaintiff's Motion [32] was not accompanied by an original as amended; it included only a supplement listing new claims against DCBF. Plaintiff's current Motion [48] again includes only a supplement. Because plaintiff again fails to comply with Local Rule 7(i), his motion for leave to amend cannot be granted.

Alternatively, if Motion [48] is construed as one for reconsideration of Order [38], it fails to establish mistake, intervening change of law, or any other ground for reconsideration. Plaintiff's only reason for reconsideration is his assertion that the Clerk of Court's office discarded his hand-filed original complaint as amended without entering it into the Court's electronic docket. Plaintiff's supporting unsworn declaration notwithstanding, his allegation loses credibility for two reasons. First, plaintiff's Motion [32] was filed electronically.*fn1 There is no reason why plaintiff would have hand-filed his original complaint as amended as an attachment to an electronically filed motion. Also, plaintiff's electronically filed Motion [32] was accompanied (electronically) by independently titled document intended "to Supplement the Amended Complaint." This document does not read as if it was intended to accompany an original complaint as amended; it reads as if it was intended to be filed alone. Because plaintiff has not established any ground for reconsideration of the Court's Order [38], his motion [48] will be denied.

Plaintiff's Motion [79], which also seeks to amend his Complaint to add claims against DCBF, improves upon Motion [48] in that it is clearly a motion for leave to amend. However, plaintiff again fails to comply with Local Rule 7(i), attaching a list of supplementary claims against DCBF rather than a copy of the original complaint as amended. The Court shall deny Motion [79] for failure to comply with the rule.

B. Plaintiff's Motion [58] for Reconsideration Fails to Establish Grounds for Reconsideration and Shall Be Denied

Plaintiff's Motion [58] requests reconsideration of the Court's Order [38] denying his Motion [34] to amend his Complaint as to defendant Mukasey. The Court's Order [38] denied plaintiff's Motion [34] for failure to comply with-again-Local Civil Rule 7(i), which (for the third time) requires the movant to attach a copy of the original complaint as amended. Plaintiff's Motion [58], like his Motion [48], accuses the Clerk of Court's office of discarding his original complaint as amended. But, again, Motion [34] (like Motion [48]) was filed electronically (and included several electronically filed attachments); thus plaintiff's accusation lacks credibility. Because plaintiff has established no grounds for reconsideration, his Motion [58] shall be denied.

C. D.C. Defendants' Filings Will Not Be Stricken, and the Office of Attorney General Will Not Be Precluded From Representing District Defendants

Plaintiff moves [36] to "strike all pleadings" filed by the D.C. Office of Attorney General ("OAG") on behalf of defendant Judges Kramer, Wagner, and Ferren. Plaintiff asserts that OAG should be prohibited from defending the judges, Attorney General Nickles, and the District of Columbia itself because of various "conflicts of interest." Plaintiff's Motion [36] has no basis in law and shall be denied.

First, plaintiff asserts that OAG cannot represent both the District of Columbia and individuals sued in their individual capacity for alleged violations of D.C. law. To support his position, plaintiff cites to and quotes from cases, rules, and regulations apparently unrelated to his legal argument. (See, e.g., Pl.'s Mot. [36] at 4--10.)

Plaintiff then argues that because he has made "antitrust" allegations against Attorney General Nickles and Judge Ferren, OAG-as the District's advocate in pursuing antitrust violations-cannot represent Nickles and Ferren. Plaintiff's argument might make sense if OAG was bringing the antitrust actions. But plaintiff himself is the one attempting to recover for alleged antitrust violations. It goes without saying ...


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