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Lindsay Jenkins v. John Kerry

March 7, 2013

LINDSAY JENKINS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN KERRY, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Lindsay Jenkins ("Plaintiff"), a citizen of the United Kingdom who is proceeding pro se, commenced the above-captioned civil action on June 1, 2012 against sixteen named defendants, asserting Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") and sexual discrimination and harassment claims in connection with mortgage foreclosure litigation in Florida state court. On December 12, 2012, Plaintiff also filed a Notice of Lis Pendens, purporting to put all defendants named in her civil action, and any interested third parties, on notice of the existence of this civil litigation, which Plaintiff describes in the Notice as an action relating to her ownership interest in real property located in Palm Beach County, Florida. See Misc. A. No. 12-00665, ECF No. [1]. The defendants in Plaintiff's civil action include:

* The "Florida Defendants" -- specifically:

- Twelve judges of the Fourth District Court of Appeals for the State of Florida*fn1 -- Chief Judge Melanie May; Judge Martha Warner; Judge Mark Polen; Judge Matthew Stevenson; Judge Robert Gross; Judge Carole Taylor; Judge Hazouri; Judge Damoorgian; Judge Ciklin; Judge Gerber; Judge Levine; and Judge Connor

- Two judges of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in West Palm Beach, Florida -- Judge Lucy Chernow Brown and Judge Glenn Kelley

* The "Federal Defendants" -- specifically John Kerry,*fn2 in his official capacity as Secretary of State, and Eric Holder, in his official capacity as United States Attorney General

In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that the Florida Defendants have aided and abetted

Deutsche Bank, which sued her in 2007, in conducting "fraudulent and perjurious litigation" and in "acts of home invasion, burglary and theft." Compl. at 3-4. With respect to the Federal Defendants, Plaintiff alleges that the Federal Defendants have failed to fulfill their "common law duties" to ensure that non-U.S. citizens such as herself are "not victimized by local instrumentalities of the United States." Id. at 5. At bottom, Plaintiff appears to dispute the handling of litigation in Florida involving the foreclosure on her property in Palm Beach County Florida. By way of relief, Plaintiff seeks a declaration that the Florida Defendants "have been and are operating as a racketeering enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity directed at plaintiff and tens of thousands of other innocent victims;" "injunctive relief" requiring the Federal Defendants to "take affirmative steps to protect Plaintiff's rights under international law to be free of criminal activity directed at her by local public officials in the United States;" and any other "additional relief as may be necessary and proper to do complete justice between the parties" and to "Plaintiff's common law and constitutional rights." Compl. at 15, 16.

Presently before the Court are the following dispositive motions: Defendant Chief Judge Melanie May's Motion to Dismiss Complaint with Prejudice, ECF No. [3]; Defendant Judge Lucy Chernow Brown's Motion to Dismiss Complaint with Prejudice, ECF No. [7]; Defendant Judge Mark Polen and Defendant Fred A. Hazouris' Motion to Dismiss Complaint with Prejudice, ECF No. [12]; Defendant Judge Glen Kelley's Motion to Dismiss Complaint with Prejudice, ECF No. [29]; and the Federal Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. [32]. Also before the Court are the following motions by Plaintiff: Motion for Entry of Default and Default Judgment against Defendant Lucy Chernow Brown, ECF No. [10]; Motion to Enter a Default as to All Defendants Who Have Appeared in this Action, ECF No. [18]; Motion for Leave to File Instanter and Leave to Serve Additional Defendants, ECF No. [46]; Motion to Vacate Order of December 12, 2012, ECF No. [47]; and Motion to Recuse the District Judge for Bias and Harassment, ECF No. [48].

Before all else, the Court must consider Plaintiff's motion to recuse, which, for reasons discussed below, the Court finds meritless. Having made a determination that recusal is not warranted, the Court shall then turn to the remaining motions before the court. In summary, and upon consideration of the parties' submissions, the relevant authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court shall dismiss, with prejudice, Plaintiff's claims against the Federal Defendants pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), because Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against the Federal Defendants. With respect to the claims asserted against Defendants May, Brown, Polen, Hazouris, and Kelley, the Court shall dismiss Plaintiff's claims against these Florida Defendants under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) due to this Court's lack of personal jurisdiction. Further, as explained more fully below, dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against Defendants May, Brown, Polen, Hazouris, and Kelley (all of whom are Florida state court judges) shall be with prejudice in view of the fact that Plaintiff's claims against them are necessarily barred by the doctrine of judicial immunity, as well as the fact that transfer to the proper court with personal jurisdiction -- the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida -- would in any event be precluded by a recent pre-filing injunction order issued against Plaintiff in that court. Finally, for reasons explained below, the Court shall deny each of Plaintiff's pending motions and discharge her lis pendens notice.*fn3

Plaintiff's Motion to Recuse

The Court shall first address Plaintiff's [48] Motion to Recuse the District Judge for Bias and Harrassment, which Plaintiff filed on February 12, 2013, and which states only that "Plaintiff has filed a Judicial Misconduct and Disability Complaint, which sets forth in detail the grounds for this motion. A copy is attached and incorporated by reference as though set forth verbatim herein." ECF No. [48], at 1. On February 27, 2013, Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland of the D.C. Circuit dismissed Plaintiff's Judicial Misconduct and Disability Complaint, finding that "because complainant's allegations lack sufficient evidence to raise an inference that misconduct has occurred and are directly related to the merits of the subject judges' decisions, the complaint must be dismissed." Order on Judicial Council Complaint No. DC-13-90004 (Feb. 27, 2013), at 3. This Court finds that Plaintiff's recusal motion requires dismissal for the same reason.

The disqualification of a federal judicial officer is governed by 28 U.S.C. §455, which provides, in pertinent part:

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:

(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary ...


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