Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rucker v. Chang

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

March 5, 2018

KATRINA RUCKER, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN CHANG, Defendant.

          ORDER DISMISSING ACTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(E)(2)(B)(II)

          Leslie E. Kobayashi, United States District Judge

         Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Katrina Rucker's Discrimination Complaint, filed October 2, 2017. [Dkt. no. 1.] Plaintiff alleges that United States Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang made legal decisions as a United States magistrate judge in a civil lawsuit that she filed as a pro se litigant which were to her disadvantage, that he forced her to settle her civil lawsuit, that he denied her access to the court's electronic filing system, that he retaliated against her when she complained about her case being mismanaged by causing her to pay a fine, and that he refused to remove himself from her civil lawsuit after she asked him to do so. [Complaint at ¶¶ 3.1-3.6.]

         Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a claim and is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was a pro se litigant in a prior civil action known as Rucker v. Air Ventures Hawaii, LLC, CV 16-00492 HG-RLP (“CV 16-492”) filed in the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i, and Judge Chang was the magistrate judge originally assigned in that underlying civil matter.[1] This action was dismissed with prejudice on December 6, 2017 when Defendant Air Ventures Hawaii, LLC's Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint was granted. [CV 16-492, dkt. nos. 149 (motion), 165 (order granting motion).]

         In the instant action, Plaintiff filed her Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees of Costs. [Filed 10/19/17 (dkt. no. 11).] She currently proceeds without prepayment of the filing fee in this matter.

         STANDARD

         For parties proceeding in forma pauperis, § 1915(e)(2)(B) provides that “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . . . (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” A dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B) is governed by the same standard as a dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rosati v. Igbinoso, 791 F.3d 1037, 1039 (9th Cir. 2015). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is appropriate if the facts as pleaded fail to state a claim for relief that is “plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation and quotation marks omitted).

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff is barred from proceeding in this action without prepayment of the filing fee, unless her Application (i.e., petition to proceed in forma pauperis) is granted. Substantively, Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a claim and is not amenable to amendment.

         The entirety of the claims alleged by Plaintiff against Judge Chang arise out of the performance of his official duties as the magistrate judge in CV 16-492. [Complaint at ¶¶ 3.1-3.6.] Judges are absolutely immune from liability based on acts performed in their official capacities and taken where they have jurisdiction. Ashelman v. Pope, 793 F.2d 1072, 1075 (9th Cir. 1986) (en banc) (citing Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 335, 347, 20 L.Ed. 646 (1872)). The policy for extending this immunity to judges is to “ensure independent and disinterested judicial . . . decision making, ” and therefore the scope of this immunity is broadly construed, even where allegations exist that conspiracy or bribery were involved in a judicial decision. Id. at 1078 (citations omitted).

“[T]he factors determining whether an act by a judge is a ‘judicial' one relates to the nature of the act itself, i.e., whether it is a function normally performed by a judge, and to the expectations of the parties, i.e., whether they dealt with the judge in his judicial capacity.”

Partington v. Gedan, 961 F.2d 852, 866 (9th Cir. 1992) (alteration in Partington) (quoting Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 362, 98 S.Ct. 1099, 1107, 55 L.Ed.2d 331 (1978)).

         As to the allegations made against Judge Chang, all of the actions of which Plaintiff complains were conducted within his normal, official judicial capacity and function. Ruling on Plaintiff's objections and requests, and holding court proceedings in CV 16-492 were clearly part of the core functions of a judge and thus subject to absolute immunity. It is clear that Judge Chang had jurisdiction over CV ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.