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Landrith v. Roberts

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

November 4, 2013

BRET D. LANDRITH, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
JOHN G. ROBERTS, JR., Defendant

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BRET D. LANDRITH, Plaintiff, Pro se, Topeka, KS.

SAMUEL K. LIPARI, Plaintiff, Pro se, Independence, MO.

For JOHN G. ROBERTS, JR., Chief Justice of the United States - in his official capacity as head of the Judicial Conference of the United States, Defendant: Claire M. Whitaker, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

OPINION

AMY BERMAN JACKSON, United States District Judge.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiffs Bret D. Landrith and Samuel K. Lipari, proceeding pro se, bring this action for injunctive and declaratory relief against the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (" Chief Justice" ) in his capacity as administrator of the Judicial Conference of the United States (" Judicial Conference" ). Plaintiffs believe that their constitutional rights have been violated in a multitude of ways, and that these violations are ultimately attributable to, and redressable by, the Chief Justice and the Judicial Conference. Plaintiffs have additionally filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, a motion for Rule 11 sanctions against defendant and his counsel, and two motions requesting an ECF password. The Chief Justice filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) and opposes plaintiffs' motions to amend their complaint and for sanctions.

Because the Court finds that plaintiffs lack standing as to Counts I and II of the first amended complaint and that Count

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III is moot, the Court will grant the Chief Justice's motion to dismiss the case. The Court will also deny plaintiffs' motion for leave to file a second amended complaint on the basis of futility. The Court will deny plaintiffs' motion for Rule 11 sanctions, will deny plaintiffs' motion for an ECF password as moot.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual Background

Plaintiff Landrith is a disbarred former attorney and plaintiff Lipari, a " medical supply business owner," is his former client. [1] See Am. Compl. [Dkt. # 11] ¶ ¶ 4, 7, 49. Plaintiffs are frequent litigants in state and federal court, see, e.g., Attach. 1 to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 9-1] at 6-7 (detailing numerous lawsuits brought by Landrith), and contend they have been mistreated and " repeatedly vilified" by federal judges, Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 33-36. In this lawsuit, they claim that the Chief Justice, in his capacity as the administrator of the Judicial Conference, violated their rights under the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. [2] Id. at 2, 40, 48, 51. They seek prospective injunctive and declaratory relief to redress their asserted injuries, id. at 43, 50, 52, which fall into four general categories.

First, plaintiffs assert that they have been injured by federal judges in retribution for bringing multiple lawsuits challenging the alleged monopolization of the medical supply industry. Id. ¶ ¶ 35-36. They claim that federal judges have adopted a " widespread practice" of dismissing their antitrust and RICO claims under Rule 12(b)(6) " with scurrilous attacks on the plaintiff and his counsel." Id. ¶ 28. According to plaintiffs, these " attacks" have " denied [Lipari] the constitutional right to operate a business," as well as " an unbiased forum" to pursue his claims, and resources for his medical supply business. Id. ¶ ¶ 10, 13, 32. Plaintiffs further contend that federal judges have conspired to enforce a " Code of Silence" against them. See, e.g., id. ¶ 7; Pls.' Answer to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 15] (" Pls.' Answer" ) at 3, 17. This " Code" allegedly causes federal judges to tolerate misconduct by government attorneys and the judiciary at the expense of plaintiffs' rights, Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 7, 12, and deprives plaintiffs of meaningful appellate review, id. at 49.

Second, plaintiffs assert that Landrith has been a victim of retaliation by state and federal officials for his representation of racial minority clients in civil rights actions. Id. ¶ ¶ 44-45. According to the amended complaint, Landrith's disbarment by the Kansas Supreme Court -- and reciprocal disbarment by federal courts in Kansas and Missouri -- was in retribution for bringing these suits. Id. ¶ ¶ 4, 45. Plaintiffs also assert that Landrith's name has been placed in " state and national law enforcement databases," including a secret " Do Not Work List" allegedly maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security pursuant to the " USA PATRIOT Act II." Id. ¶ ¶ 50-51. As a result, plaintiffs claim that Landrith has lost numerous job opportunities and is " ineligible for even

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a part time worker [sic] at McDonalds' [sic] franchise restaurants." Id. ¶ 51. Plaintiffs further allege that judicial retaliation under the " Code of Silence" prevented an " intimate associate" of Landrith's from admission to the Nebraska Bar, id. ¶ 52, and caused both the cancellation of Landrith's federal food stamp benefits, and a Kansas court's alleged threat to jail Landrith for failure to pay child support, id. at 45-46.

Third, plaintiffs contend they have been injured by the misconduct of state and federal officials, including the Chief Justice and his counsel in this case. See, e.g., id. ¶ ¶ 69, 85-86, 100. They allege widespread judicial tolerance of " misrepresentations" of fact and law by state and federal prosecutors. See, e.g., id. ¶ ¶ 65-69 (claiming that unnamed judges applied a heightened standard for Rule 12(b)(6) to plaintiffs' cases, and that the Kansas Attorney General, DOJ attorneys, and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas misrepresented key precedent during litigation against plaintiffs). In addition, they claim that the Chief Justice and his counsel have committed " abuse of process" and " the ethical misconduct of dishonesty toward the tribunal" before this Court by declining to respond to plaintiffs' offers of settlement, misstating aspects of plaintiffs' pleadings, making arguments with which plaintiffs disagree, and filing a motion to dismiss. Id. ¶ ¶ 74, 80, 89, 98-103, 105-08, 112-13. Plaintiffs express the concern that defendant has invited the Court to " commit fraud" on itself. Id. ¶ 98.

Fourth, plaintiffs assert that they are the targets of surveillance and interference by the FBI and DOJ, and that these intrusions have increased in retaliation for filing this lawsuit. [3] Id. ¶ ¶ 31, 114-20. They claim that the " scurrilous attacks by federal judges" have led the FBI and DOJ to investigate them as " dangers to large corporations or national security." Id. ¶ 31. Plaintiffs also contend that since they brought this lawsuit, the government has interfered with their cell phone service, email accounts, and website. Id. ¶ ¶ 31, 81-82, 114-15, 117-18; see also id. ¶ 120 (alleging the existence of a " secret part or unpublished part of USA PATRIOT Act" that " address[es] citizens posting information about the courts on the Internet" and presumably authorizes the claimed disruptions). They insist that these technological difficulties were a " direct response to" this lawsuit. Id. ¶ 124.

According to the amended complaint, all of these injuries are attributable to, and redressable by, the Chief Justice in his capacity as the administrator of the Judicial Conference. Plaintiffs assert that federal judges and government attorneys are " employees" of the Chief Justice and compare the Chief Justice to a " Walmart [sic] store manager" who " permit[s] . . . employees . . . to shoplift, embezzle, and injure its customers." Id. ¶ ¶ 72-73, 125. Plaintiffs also contend that Attorney General Eric Holder is the Chief Justice's " agent" because he " report[s] to the . . . Chief Justice . . . by statute." [4] Id. ¶ ¶ 123-24. Therefore, they claim, the

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Chief Justice may be held responsible for the alleged actions of the DOJ, as well.

II. Procedural Background

Plaintiffs filed their original complaint on November 26, 2012, Compl. [Dkt. # 1], and defendant moved to dismiss on March 11, 2013, Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 9]. In response to defendant's motion, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on April 1, 2013. Am. Compl. [Dkt. # 11]. The Court denied defendant's initial motion to dismiss as moot on April 5, 2013, Order [Dkt. # 12], and defendant moved to dismiss plaintiffs' amended complaint on April 22, 2013, Def.'s Renewed & Supplemental Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 14]. On May 23, 2013, plaintiffs filed both a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, Mot. for Leave to Amend Compl. Under Rule 15 [Dkt. # 17] (" Mot. to Amend" ), and a motion for sanctions against defendant and his counsel, Pls.' Rule 11 Mot. for Sanctions [Dkt. # 18] (" Pls.' Mot. for Sanctions" ). In addition, on March 1, 2013, plaintiffs filed a motion requesting access to the electronic filing system pursuant to LCvR 5.4. Pls.' Mot. for CM/ECF Password [Dkt. # 5]. Plaintiffs renewed that motion on May 23, 2013. Pls.' 2d Mot. for Leave to File Electronically via CM/ECF and to Receive Passwords [Dkt. # 17-1]. [5]

ANALYSIS

I. The Court Will Grant Defendant's Motion to ...


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