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Patterson v. Frith Conner

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

March 5, 2019

FABIAN JAMES PATTERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
ROIANNE HOULTON FRITH CONNER, Defendant.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          STEPHEN M. DOYLE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On May 30, 2018, pro se Plaintiff filed a Complaint (Doc. 1) against Attorney Roianne Conner (“Defendant”). While far from a model of clarity, the Complaint appears to allege claims of slander, defamation of character, and falsification of legal documents, all relating to Plaintiff's 1993 criminal conviction in which Defendant was allegedly the prosecutor. See generally (Doc. 1). Plaintiff's Complaint also asserts non-specific violations of Plaintiff's civil and constitutional rights. Id. at 1. On July 28, 2018, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. 11). In response to Defendant's motion, the United States Magistrate Judge previously assigned to the case entered a show cause order directing Plaintiff to either file an amended complaint or to respond to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. See (Doc. 13). On August 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed a document titled “MOTION TO CONTINUE IN LAWSUIT MOTION TO BE HEARD (APPROACH THE BENCH)[.]” (Doc. 15) at 1. From what the undersigned can discern, Plantiff's motion asks the Court “to hear [Plaintiff's] complaint against the Defendant in an open courtroom setting” so he can obtain certain information from Defendant and meet her in person. See generally (Doc. 15). On August 24, 2018, Defendant filed a second Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. (Doc. 16). In that motion, Defendant states that “Plaintiff has failed to submit any document amending his original Complaint or explaining why the instant cause should not be dismissed[, ]” and asks the court to dismiss Plaintiff's original Complaint for failure to comply with the Court's order and for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (Doc. 16) at 2. On September 5, 2018, Plaintiff filed a document titled, in part, “MOTION TO PROCEED[.]” (Doc. 17) at 1. That document does not intelligibly respond to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss[1] nor does it appear to be an attempt to amend Plaintiff's Complaint. See generally (Doc. 17). Finally, on December 27, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend his Complaint. See (Doc. 20). That motion, inter alia, seeks to add additional defendants, including “past public defenders employees and their supervisors and directors” for “mishandling” Plaintiff's earlier criminal case. (Doc. 20) at 1.

         The motions before the Court are ripe for disposition or recommendation to the District Judge.[2] For the reasons that follow, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that Plaintiff's Motion to Amend (Doc. 20) be DENIED as futile; Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 11) be GRANTED; Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16) be DENIED as moot; Plaintiff's Motion to Continue in Lawsuit (Doc. 15) be DENIED as moot; Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed (Doc. 17) be DENIED as moot; and this action be DISMISSED.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Plaintiff's Filings

         1. Plaintiff's Complaint

         Plaintiff's Complaint attempts to state claims against Defendant for slander, defamation of character, and falsification of legal documents arising from the conduct of Defendant when she was-according to Plaintiff-impersonating “a Montgomery County, Alabama Deputy District Attorney” in 1993-1996. (Doc. 1) at 1, 2. He also asserts that his civil and constitutional rights[3] have been violated by “OTHERS OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT” because of Defendant. Id. at 2. As best the undersigned can interpret, Plaintiff alleges that, while impersonating a prosecutor, Defendant averred in a state court proceeding that Plaintiff withdrew a plea of not guilty to a plea of guilty for a charge of sexual abuse in the first degree. See (Doc. 1) at 2. However, Plaintiff appears to claim that the change of plea never actually took place. See (Doc. 1-6) at 1 (handwritten note from Plaintiff on a state-court document reflecting the disposition of his sex abuse charge stating that he “would like to enter a plea of not guilty, because . . . [he] has never in 1993, been in a courtroom, anywhere in the United States of America, especially in Alabama with [Defendant] and made a guilty plea”); (Doc. 1-7) (a case action summary from state court regarding Plaintiff's guilty plea for the sexual abuse charge with a handwritten note from Plaintiff stating “THIS INCIDENT NEVER HAPPEN, and the lower courts refuse this evidents of my INNOCENCE, WHY?”). Plaintiff asserts that the fictional event, which purportedly occurred on January 14, 1993, has been used “to bring criminal charges against [him] . . . under the community notification law” on three separate occasions and that, based upon those new criminal charges, he was incarcerated. (Doc. 1) at 2. Further, Plaintiff alleges that because of Defendant's “appearance and influence in [his] criminal appeal matter in criminal Appeals Court[, ]” he “lost” his children and his home. Id.

         Although the relief Plaintiff seeks is unclear, it does appear that Plaintiff wishes to confront Defendant in court and to accept “whatever financial decision or allotment the courts decide[.]” (Doc. 1) at 2 (Plaintiff states: “THAT'S WHY I BEEN WAITING TO SEE THIS WOMAN, IN COURT (IN A TRIAL AMONGST MY PEERS) BECAUSE I DON'T THINK WE HAVE EVER MET[.]”). It also appears that Plaintiff wishes for the Court to enter an order expunging any fines, fees, restrictions, or requirements (except for registration and monthly reporting) imposed upon Plaintiff as a result of his three additional criminal cases. (Doc. 1-1) at 1-5.

         2. Plaintiff's Motion to Amend His Complaint

         Plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint seeks to add as defendants the 15th Judicial Circuit's Public Defenders Office as well as individual public defenders. (Doc. 20). The motion also calls for “A F.B.I. OR U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL investigation of [Plaintiff] . . . being ARRESTED and CO-HEARSE to plea guilty 3 times by Montgomery county public defender office employees on a falsified legal document-to a criminal incident that NEVER HAPPEN[.]” Id. at 1. Plaintiff lists multiple grievances he has with the putative defendants, all involving state court criminal proceedings against him that appear to have occurred in 2004, 2010, and 2017. See generally id. Plaintiff states that the proposed defendants “SHOULD BE MADE TO ASSIST/GO BACK and DO WHAT THEY WAS PAID TO DO ON MY BEHALF THESE 4 TIMES/cases[.]” Id. at 2.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         The purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is to test the facial sufficiency of a claimant's statement for relief. See S.E.C. v. ESM Group, Inc., 835 F.2d 270, 272 (11th Cir. 1988). It is read alongside Rule 8(a), which requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). The rule is not designed to strike inartistic pleadings or to provide a more definite statement to answer an apparent ambiguity, and the analysis of a 12(b)(6) motion is limited primarily to the face of the complaint and its attachments. 5 Charles A. Wright & Arthur Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1356 at 590-92 (1969) (Wright & Miller). While a complaint need not provide detailed factual allegations, the standard “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)); see also Wilchombe v. TeeVee Toons, Inc., 555 F.3d 949, 958 (11th Cir. 2009); Cobb v. State of Fla., 293 Fed.Appx. 708, 709 (11th Cir. 2008). “[N]aked assertion[s]” bereft of “further factual enhancement” do not suffice. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557. Indeed, a complaint's “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555. “Moreover, the facts supporting the claim must be ‘consistent with the allegations in the complaint.'” Wilchombe, 555 F.3d at 958 (quoting Twombly, 550 ...


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