United States District Court, District of Columbia
BOBBY J. FULTON, JR., Plaintiff,
SHIVA V. HODGES et al., Defendants.
BERMAN JACKSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action filed pro se in the Superior Court of the
District of Columbia, plaintiff sues the United States
District Court for the District of South Carolina, as well as
a District Judge and a Magistrate Judge of that court for
“fraud upon the courts[.]” Compl. [Dkt. # 1-1 at
1, 3]. Defendants removed the case to this court pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§ 1442(a)(1), 1446 and 2679(d).
See Not. of Removal [Dkt. #1]. The United States has
now moved to dismiss the complaint on several grounds,
including lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Mot.
to Dismiss [Dkt. # 7] (asserting defenses 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)). Plaintiff has filed
an opposition [Dkt. # 9] and a motion that seeks to remand
the case to Superior Court. See Mot. to Transfer
[Dkt. # 10]. The Court agrees that sovereign immunity bars
plaintiff's claims, see Defs.' Mem. at 6-8,
but also finds the claims to be “patently
insubstantial.” Tooley v. Napolitano, 586 F.3d
1006, 1010 (D.C. Cir. 2009). So, for the reasons explained
more fully below, the Court will grant the United States'
motion on jurisdictional grounds, deny plaintiff's motion
as moot, and dismiss this case.
alleges that the named defendants “presided over his
civil actions against . . . Sheriff officials in Williamsburg
County, South Carolina.” Compl. at 2. He takes issue
with the Magistrate Judge's “ruling and
recommendation in favor of defendant Sheriff officials [on]
summary judgment” and accuses “both judges . . .
and the district court” of colluding with “the
defendant Sheriff officials[.]” Id. Plaintiff
“prays for permanent injunction and termination of each
defendant, ” and monetary damages of $10 million from
each defendant “paid in gold bullions.”
Id. at 3.
the doctrine of sovereign immunity, “the United States
may not be sued without its consent and . . . the existence
of consent is a prerequisite for jurisdiction.”
United States v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983).
The Federal Tort Claims Act provides a limited waiver of
immunity from suit “for money damages . . . for
personal injury . . . caused by the negligent . . . act or
omission of any employee of the Government while acting
within the scope of his office or employment[.]” 28
U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1). The waiver covers only those
“circumstances where the United States, if a
private person, would be liable to the claimant in
accordance with the law of the place where the act or
omission occurred.” Id. (emphasis added).
Since judges are public officers, the United States enjoys
full immunity from this lawsuit.
the lawsuit originated in this court, it could not survive
jurisdictional scrutiny. The Supreme Court “has
repeatedly held that the federal courts are without power to
entertain claims otherwise within their jurisdiction if they
are so attenuated and unsubstantial as to be absolutely
devoid of merit, . . . wholly insubstantial, . . . plainly
unsubstantial, . . . or no longer open to discussion.”
Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536 (1974)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted)). In other
words, a complaint may “be dismissed on jurisdictional
grounds when it is patently insubstantial, presenting no
federal question suitable for decision.”
Tooley, 586 F.3d at 1009 (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted).
complaint “is properly dismissed as frivolous . . . if
it is clear from the face of the pleading that the named
defendant is absolutely immune from suit on the claims
asserted.” Crisafi v. Holland, 655 F.2d 1305,
1308 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (per curiam) (citations omitted).
Judges “enjoy absolute judicial immunity from suits for
money damages for all actions taken in [their] judicial
capacity, unless [the] actions are taken in the complete
absence of all jurisdiction.” Sindram v. Suda,
986 F.2d 1459, 1460 (D.C. Cir. 1993) (per curiam) (citation
omitted). Such “immunity is an immunity from suit, not
just from ultimate assessment of damages.” Mireles
v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991). It is without question
that the challenged actions fall within defendants'
judicial functions and jurisdiction, thereby rendering
plaintiff's claims “patently frivolous.”
Caldwell v. Kagan, 777 F.Supp.2d 177, 179 (D.D.C.),
aff'd, 455 Fed. App'x 1 (D.C. Cir. 2011);
see Fleming v. United States, 847 F.Supp. 170, 172
(D.D.C.), aff'd, No. 94-5079, 1994 WL 474995
(D.C. Cir. July 27, 1994) (“By filing a complaint in
this Court against federal judges who have done nothing more
than their duty . . ., Fleming has instituted a meritless
reasons stated above, defendants' motion to dismiss for
want of jurisdiction will be granted and plaintiffs motion to
transfer will be denied as moot. Because the Court can
discern no “allegation of other facts” that could
possibly overcome the jurisdictional defects, it will dismiss
this action with prejudice. Firestone v. Firestone,
76 F.3d 1205, 1209 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (citations and internal
quotation marks omitted). An order will issue separately.
 The appropriate designee has certified
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2679(d) that each named
defendant “was acting within the scope of her
employment as an officer of the United States District Court
at the time of the alleged incidents.” Certification
[Dkt. ## 1-2, 1-3]. Accordingly, this action is “deemed
to be . . . brought against the United States . . . and the