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Robinson v. State

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

March 14, 2019

ERIC M. ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF NEBRASKA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Eric M. Robinson (“Robinson”) filed a Complaint (filing no. 1) which is captioned as an “In Pro Se Motion for a Special Pleading ‘Complaint' (Special Hearing)”[1] and was docketed as an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has also filed additional motions and supplemental materials. (Filing Nos. 7, 17, 19, 21, 22, & 24-34.) The court granted Robinson leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Filing No. 16.) The court now conducts an initial review of Robinson's pleadings to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. See28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).

         I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT AND ADDITIONAL PLEADINGS

         Robinson filed his Complaint in this action against the State of Nebraska on February 16, 2018. The Complaint itself is a seven-page handwritten document in which Robinson alleges Judge Acton of the Lancaster County Court of Nebraska forged a document in Case Number CR14-9536 and this document is the “genesis of all prior pleadings and arguments bound to Robinson's unlawful incarceration and conviction from 2014 to current day.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 2.) The document at issue, attached to the Complaint as “Exhibit 1, ” is Judge Acton's handwritten entry in the “Case Action Summary” of CR14-9536 dated September 16, 2014, which states “Motion to Withdraw sustained. Bill Chapin appointed to represent defendant.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 9.) Robinson alleges that Judge Acton did not adjudicate matters of withdrawal and appointment of counsel on September 16, 2014, but rather a different judge, Judge Foster, adjudicated such matters at a formal hearings conference on September 15, 2014, at which Robinson appeared. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 3-4.) Robinson alleges no order was entered at that formal hearings conference appointing replacement counsel and he did not learn of Judge Acton's “forged” Case Action Summary until he received a copy of the document in November 2017. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 4-5.) Robinson alleges the forged document “‘contaminates' all grievance matters with its ‘forged' poisonous tree applications from 2014 till present day.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 3.) Robinson asks the court to sustain his motion “for a formal hearings conference record, collecting these ‘forged' and ‘fraud' matters at discussion.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 7.)

         Attached to Robinson's Complaint are four exhibits totaling 76 pages consisting of various state county and district court records from Robinson's criminal proceedings in those courts along with Robinson's handwritten commentary. In addition, Robinson has filed two supplements (filing nos. 7 & 25) and fourteen motions for supplemental filings (filing nos. 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, & 26- 34)[2] totaling approximately 667 pages and consisting of state court records from Robinson's various county and district court proceedings along with Robinson's handwritten or typed commentary, ramblings, and frustrations related to those proceedings. As best the court can decipher from the plethora of pleadings, Robinson claims Judge Acton committed fraud when he entered the September 16, 2014 Case Action Summary tying Bill Chapin to Robinson's criminal action at ¶ 14-9536, and once Bill Chapin was in the picture, the Lancaster County Court and District Court were bound to provide Robinson with his “counsel of choice” (Chapin) and their failure to do so violates his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and voids all his criminal prosecutions from 2014 to the present. (See, e.g., Filing No. 21 at CM/ECF p. 18; Filing No. 22 at CM/ECF pp. 2-5, 36.)

         As additional background, the court notes that Robinson previously filed an action in this court at Case Number 8:17CV204 seeking a writ of mandamus related to his state criminal proceedings which the court dismissed without prejudice. (See Filing Nos. 28 & 29, No. 8:17CV204.) Robinson also currently has other pending cases in this court related to his state criminal proceedings. See 8:18CV111 (§ 1983 action), 4:18CV3154 (§ 2241 habeas), 8:19CV42 (§ 2241 habeas), and 8:19CV43 (§ 2254 habeas).

         II. APPLICABLE STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         The court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court must dismiss a complaint or any portion of it that states a frivolous or malicious claim, that fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         Pro se plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to “nudge[] their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, ” or “their complaint must be dismissed.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”).

         “The essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is to give the opposing party ‘fair notice of the nature and basis or grounds for a claim, and a general indication of the type of litigation involved.'” Topchian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Hopkins v. Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir. 1999)). However, “[a] pro se complaint must be liberally construed, and pro se litigants are held to a lesser pleading standard than other parties.” Topchian, 760 F.3d at 849 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Robinson's Complaint with its hundreds of pages of additional motions and supplemental materials does not comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, which states that a pleading must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” (emphasis added) The court has warned Robinson in his previous litigation in this court that he must comply with Rule 8 in any complaint he files against state officials. (See, e.g., Filing No. 28, No. 8:17CV204.) In addition to this basic pleading deficiency, the most liberal construction of Robinson's pleadings fails to suggest that he is entitled to relief.

         First, Robinson has sued the State of Nebraska. To the extent Robinson seeks redress for violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a suit may be brought under § 1983 only against a “person” who acted under color of state law. A state is not a “person” as that term is used in § 1983 and is not suable under the statute. Hilton v. South Carolina Pub. Railways Comm'n, 502 U.S. 197, 200-01 (1991). Thus, § 1983 does not create a cause of action against the State of Nebraska.

         Robinson alleges that he has been unlawfully convicted and/or incarcerated in several state court criminal cases because of the alleged forged document entered by Judge Acton in the Lancaster County Court of Nebraska. Indeed, he even seeks to “vacate judgment for all mentioned and effected cases adjudged void, procured by said fraud upon the court, pursuant to Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil ...


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