United States District Court, District of Columbia
RICHARD J. LEON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss [ECF No. 3] and plaintiffs Motion for Mistrial [ECF
No. 8]. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the
former and denies the latter.
filed a civil action in the Superior Court of the District of
Columbia, and his original complaint alleged "conspiracy
to commit murder." Compl., Chamberlain v.
Bryson, No. 2016-CA-0007785 (D.C. Super. Ct. filed Oct.
24, 2016) [ECF No. 1-1]. His Amended Complaint alleged:
Bryson conspired to commit murder by colluding with members
of the Texas Sheriffs' Association to impose bodily harm
of a critical nature and with murderous intent. Ronnie
Coleman (eventual Mr. Universe), "Tank" Abbot, Lee
Ander, Matilda, Mike Epps and others were co-conspirators.
Am. Compl, Chamberlain v. Bryson, No.
2016-CA-0007785 (D.C. Super. Ct. filed Nov. 3, 2016) [ECF No.
1-1]. He has demanded a judgment against defendant of
"all savings, property & earnings."
defendant is "a judge of the United States Court of
Appeals for the Federal Circuit." Mem. of P. & A. in
Support of Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss ("Def.'s
Mem."), Bryson Decl. ¶ 1 [ECF No. 3]. Plaintiffs
"complaint appears to arise from [Judge Bryson's]
actions in connection with [plaintiffs] case in the United
States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit." Bryson
Decl. ¶ 6; see Chamberlain v. United States,
655 Fed.App'x 822 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (per curiam). Judge
Bryson describes the circumstances as follows:
My only contact with . . . plaintiff... is in connection with
an appeal that he filed in the United States Court of Appeals
for the Federal Circuit, No. 2016-1603. I was a member of the
panel of the court that sat on that case. That case was an
appeal from an order of the United States Court of Federal
Claims dismissing a complaint filed by [plaintiff] for
failure to pay the filing fee. I joined the opinion affirming
the decision of the Court of Federal Claims in that case,
Chamberlain v. United States, No. 2016-1603 (July 8,
2016). In addition to participating in the decision of the
appeal, I participated in the disposition of various motions
associated with the appeal. I have had no other contact with
[plaintiff]; I am not personally acquainted with him; and I
have no other knowledge of [plaintiff] or his allegations.
Decl. ¶ 5. Judge Bryson avers that "[a] 11 of [his]
actions in that case were taken in the performance of [his]
official duties and in [his] official capacity as a federal
judge, " and "were taken in the good faith belief
in their legality." Id. ¶ 6; see
also Certification ("[T]he Honorable William C.
Bryson was acting within the scope of his office of
employment as a judicial officer of the United States at
the time of the incident out of which [p]laintiff s claim
arose.") [ECF No. 1-3].
Court dismisses the Amended Complaint in its entirety for two
reasons. First, the pleading fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. A plaintiffs complaint need only
provide a "short and plain statement of [his] claim
showing that [he] is entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), that '"give[s] the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests,
'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive a motion
to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), "a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face."' Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
Plaintiffs Amended Complaint fails to set forth
'"factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.'" Patton Boggs LLP v.
Chevron Corp., 683 F.3d 397, 403 (D.C. Cir. 2012)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Simply stated, the
absence of factual allegations to support a claim that Judge
Bryson entered into an agreement with another person to
commit an unlawful act warrants dismissal. See, e.g.,
Bush v. Butler, 521 F.Supp.2d 63, 68-69 (D.D.C. 2007);
Graves v. United States, 961 F.Supp. 314, 320
Judge Bryson enjoys absolute immunity from liability for
damages for acts taken in his judicial capacity. "The
purpose of the doctrine is to 'protect judicial
independence by insulating judges from vexatious actions
prosecuted by disgruntled litigants, '" as is the
case here. Cartner v. Frazier, No. CIV.A. 13-1016,
2013 WL 4560640, at *1 (D.D.C. Aug. 28, 2013) (citing
Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 225 (1988)),
aff'd sub nom. Cartner v. Fisher, No. 13-7134,
2014 WL 260567 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 6, 2014) (per curiam). It is
apparent that plaintiffs claims arise from actions taken by
Judge Bryson in his capacity as a federal judge, and,
therefore, all of plaintiff s claims are barred. See
Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991); Thomas v.
Wilkins, 61 F.Supp.3d 13, 19 (D.D.C. 2014),
aff'd, No. 14-5197, 2015 WL 1606933 (D.C. Cir.
Feb. 23, 2015) (per curiam).
Order is issued separately.