United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DISMISSING ACTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
E. Kobayashi, United States District Judge
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.]
Complaint fails to state a claim and is dismissed pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
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. 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
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.
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
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.
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
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)).
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 ...