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Palmer v. Stephens

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

January 28, 2016

RUSSELL WAYNE PALMER, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM STEPHENS, Defendant.

DISMISSAL ORDER

DERRICK K. WATSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Russell Wayne Palmer’s “Notice of Intent to Seek Criminal Complaint and Show Cause Presenting Multi-District Litigation, ” “Motion for Relief From Judgment Through Independent Action Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc., Rule 60(d), ” “Motion in Objection to Change of Venue, ” and application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). Doc. Nos. 1-4. Palmer is incarcerated at the James Lynaugh Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections (“TDC”), located in Fort Stockton, Texas. Although Palmer names TDC Director William Stephens as the only Defendant to this suit, he apparently seeks review of a decision by the Honorable Robert A. Junell, District Judge for the Western District of Texas, Pecos Division. Judge Junell denied Palmer’s petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See Palmer v. Stephens, 4:15-cv-00019-RAJ (W.D. Tex. Aug. 20, 2015).

The court construes Palmer’s “Notice of Intent to Seek Criminal Complaint and Show Cause Presenting Multi-District Litigation, ” and “Motion for Relief From Judgment Through Independent Action Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc., Rule 60(d), ” collectively as a prisoner civil rights complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the following reasons, Palmer’s Complaint is DISMISSED without leave to amend. Palmer’s preemptive “Objection to Change of Venue” and his IFP application are DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

Palmer has not submitted a formal complaint on court approved prisoner forms setting forth this court’s jurisdiction and venue over his claims. Moreover, his pleadings provide no statement of facts that clearly identify the basis for his claims or their connection to the District of Hawaii. Rather, Palmer’s pleadings are a largely incoherent string of citations to federal statutes and caselaw and vague allegations that he and others have been denied justice. The only conclusion the court can discern from his filings is that Palmer is challenging the August 20, 2015 decision denying his habeas corpus petition in Palmer v. Stephens, 4:15-cv-00019-RAJ. Palmer alleges that decision is void under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4). See Mot., Doc. No. 2, PageID #10. Palmer apparently believes that Rule 60(d) allows this court to review the judgment of a different district court as an independent action and grant him relief from that judgment.

Palmer references another case, “David Lightfoot Hernandez v. Stuart Jenkins, filed October 21, 2015, ” and claims that Hernandez’s petition for writ of certiorari will support Palmer’s intent to seek a criminal, multi-district complaint in the District of Hawaii against Judge Junell.[1] See id., PageID #12; Doc. No. 1, PageID #3. Hernandez is also an inmate at the Lynaugh Unit, and he and Palmer were co-plaintiffs in Hernandez, et al. v. Texas, 1:14-cv-00769-SS (W.D. Tex., Austin Div. Aug. 15, 2014). Plaintiff was severed from that action, and Hernandez then voluntarily dismissed the case. See id., Doc. Nos. 2, 8, 11.

Palmer also refers to another action in this court, Roberts et al. v. State of Texas, et al., 1:16-00013 HG/KSC (D. Haw. Jan. 13, 2016), alleging that these cases “are connected by similar argument and request for relief.” Doc. No. 1, PageID #3. The thrust of Palmer’s pleadings when taken together and viewed in light of the cases he cites, is that he seeks to appeal a decision from the Western District of Texas and to hold Judge Junell and others criminally liable for unidentified wrongs committed against him and others who have allegedly been denied justice.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The court must screen all civil actions brought by prisoners relating to prison conditions or seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Complaints or claims must be dismissed if they are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (c)(1).

A complaint that lacks a cognizable legal theory or alleges insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory fails to state a claim. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To state a claim, a pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8 does not demand detailed factual allegations, but requires “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. A claim is plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

Leave to amend should be granted if it appears the plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). When it is clear the complaint cannot be saved by amendment, dismissal without leave to amend is appropriate. Sylvia Landfield Trust v. City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013).

III. DISCUSSION

“To sustain an action under section 1983, a plaintiff must show ‘(1) that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) that the conduct deprived the plaintiff of a federal constitutional or statutory right.’” Hydrick v. Hunter, 500 F.3d 978, 987 (9th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted), vacated and remanded on other ...


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