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Sibley v. Macaluso

United States District Court, District Circuit

July 26, 2013

MONTGOMERY BLAIR SIBLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
JUDITH N. MACALUSO, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JOHN D. BATES, United States District Judge

This case arises out of two unrelated legal matters that plaintiff Montgomery Blair Sibley brought before the D.C. Superior Court and D.C. Court of Appeals. Dissatisfied with various aspects of both matters, Sibley sued D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith N. Macaluso (“Judge Macaluso”), judges on the D.C. Court of Appeals (“Court of Appeals judges”), [1] and “Jane Doe” – an unidentified D.C. Court of Appeals clerk. Sibley seeks monetary damages and declaratory relief from both Judge Macaluso and the Court of Appeals judges, and just monetary damages from “Jane Doe.” Before the Court is defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and for lack of standing. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

Pro se plaintiff Sibley is a resident of the District of Columbia and a frequent filer of lawsuits. After initiating separate cases in the D.C. Superior Court and D.C. Court of Appeals, he filed suit in this Court relating to events that transpired in the two other lawsuits.

I. Claims against Judge Macaluso arising from the St. Albans matter

Sibley filed a civil action against St. Albans School, the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation (the “St. Albans matter”) in D.C. Superior Court on April 6, 2010. See Am. Compl. [Docket Entry 2] ¶ 8(a) (Mar. 21, 2013). The St. Albans matter was assigned to Judge Macaluso. See id. Sibley alleges that, on May 8, 2012, he requested in writing that Judge Macaluso produce a copy of her trial calendar. See id. ¶ 8(c). Sibley further alleges that he received no response from Judge Macaluso. See id. ¶ 8(d). At a hearing on the St. Albans matter on June 15, 2012, Sibley again requested – by oral motion – that Judge Macaluso release a copy of her trial calendar. See id. Judge Macaluso denied the motion. See id. Sibley claims that Judge Macaluso deprived him of his First Amendment rights and requests nominal, actual, and punitive damages totaling $1, 075, 001.00 as well as a declaratory judgment against Judge Macaluso. See id. ¶¶ 11-13, 15-17.

II. Claims against the Court of Appeals judges and “Jane Doe” arising from the BOEE matter

Sibley’s claims against the Court of Appeals judges and “Jane Doe” stem from a suit he filed against the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (“the BOEE matter”) on November 30, 2012. See id. ¶ 9(a). The BOEE matter sought to challenge the ability of President Obama to continue to hold the office of president. See Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss (“Defs.’ Mot.”) [Docket Entry 6] at 3 (Apr. 11, 2013). At the same time he filed the BOEE matter, Sibley filed a motion for expedited briefing, oral argument, and resolution, asserting that “[t]ime is plainly of the essence: The next President of the United States is due to be sworn into that office on January 20, 2013 – some short fifty-one (51) days away. The importance of a prompt resolution of the federal constitutional questions presented by this case cannot be overstated.” See Am. Compl. ¶ 9(a) (emphasis in original). Sibley alleges that the Court of Appeals judges failed to address this motion. See id.

Sibley further contends that, when he called the D.C. Court of Appeals Clerk’s Office on February 1, 2013, he was told that the court had entered an order on the BOEE matter on January 16, 2013.[2] See id. ¶ 9(b). He subsequently obtained a copy of the purported January 16, 2013 per curiam “order” from BOEE counsel.[3] See id. ¶ 9(c). The “order” – which defendants note was never actually entered on the docket – professes to rule on Sibley’s “petition for rehearing en banc.” See Defs.’ Mot. at 4; Ex. 2 to Defs.’ Mot. [Docket Entry 6-2] (Apr. 11, 2013); Ex. B to Am. Compl. However, Sibley had not filed a petition for a rehearing en banc but rather a petition for an en banc hearing. See Defs.’ Mot. at 4; Ex. 2 to Defs.’ Mot.

On February 5, 2013, Sibley filed a verified motion to vacate and for clarification of the January 16, 2013 “order, ” in which he indicated that the court ruled on what was purportedly his “‘petition for rehearing en banc’ [but] that [he] never filed such a petition for rehearing en banc nor could he as the only Order entered in this matter was the January 16, 2013[] Order.” See Am. Compl. ¶ 9(d) (emphasis in original).

On February 6, 2013, the court issued a per curiam order[4] on the BOEE matter, denying Sibely’s petition for a hearing en banc and denying his motion to vacate the January 16, 2013 “order” because “no order was entered.” See Ex. C to Am. Compl. Then, on March 13, 2013, the court granted the BOEE’s motion to dismiss in a per curiam order, [5] noting that “[a]ny issues raised in the petition for review are now moot as the Electoral College previously met and President Obama received a majority of the votes.” See Ex. D to Am. Compl.

Sibley alleges that the actions of Court of Appeals judges “raise a reasonable suspicion[] of malfeasance and corruption” and infringed various of his constitutional rights; he requests nominal, actual, and punitive damages – jointly and severally – totaling $1, 075, 001.00, as well as a declaratory judgment against the Court of Appeals judges. See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 22(b), 28-29 (internal quotation marks omitted). He additionally contends that the “January 16, 2013[] Order and the February 6, 2013[] Order are internally inconsistent” and that “a felony has been committed in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2071 and/or 28 U.S.C. § 951.” See id. ¶ 20. “[T]he only acceptable remedy, ” he insists, “is for the Court of Appeals Defendants to be publicly polled as to which is a true order of that Court.” See id. ¶ 22(b). Sibley also seeks nominal, actual, and punitive damages totaling $1, 075, 001.00 from “Jane Doe” for “issuing a forged District of Columbia Court Order” which Sibley alleges violated his First Amendment rights. See id. ¶¶ 24-26.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

“[I]n passing on a motion to dismiss, whether on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter or for failure to state a cause of action, the allegations of the complaint should be construed favorably to the pleader.” Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); see also Leatherman v. Tarrant Cnty. Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 164 (1993). Therefore, the factual allegations must be presumed true, and plaintiffs must be given every favorable inference that may be drawn from the allegations of fact. See Scheuer, 416 U.S. at 236; Sparrow v. United Air Lines, Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1113 (D.C. Cir. 2000). However, the Court need not accept as true “a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation, ” nor inferences that ...


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