United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge
filed a Complaint on September 5, 2018. (Filing No.
1.) He has been given leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Filing No. 6.) The court now conducts an
initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint to determine
whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
brings this action against Lancaster County Court Judge
Laurie Yardley (“Judge Yardley”) in her official
and individual capacities. In his Complaint, Plaintiff
alleges that on or about May 30, 2018, Judge Yardley, while
sitting as a member of the Nebraska Judicial Qualifications
Commission Disciplinary Board (hereinafter
“Commission”), voted to dismiss Plaintiff's
complaint against Judge Darla S. Ideus,  another judge
“who practice[d] in the same Hall of Justice and Law
Enforcement Center . . . with [Judge Yardley].”
(Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 2, 5.)
Plaintiff alleges Judge Yardley's action violated
“Canon, Code of Judicial Conduct, ” several
provisions of the Nebraska Constitution, 42 U.S.C. §
1983, and his right to equal protection of the laws.
(Id. at CM/ECF pp. 2-4.) Based on the documents
attached to Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff seems to
allege, in conclusory fashion, that Judge Yardley's
actions were racially motivated. (Id. at CM/ECF p.
relief, Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $1 million.
(Id. at CM/ECF p. 4.) Plaintiff also asks for a
declaration that Judge Yardley's action caused him
emotional injuries and violated the Code of Judicial Conduct,
the Nebraska Constitution,  42 U.S.C. § 1983,
and Plaintiff's right to equal protection of the laws.
(Id. at CM/ECF pp. 3-4.)
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
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.
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.”).
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).
sued Judge Yardley, a state county court judge, in her
official capacity and in her individual capacity. Sovereign
immunity prevents the court from exercising jurisdiction over
claims for damages against Judge Yardley in her official
Eleventh Amendment bars claims for damages by private parties
against a state. See, e.g., Egerdahl v. Hibbing
Cmty. Coll., 72 F.3d 615, 618-19 (8th Cir. 1995);
Dover Elevator Co. v. Arkansas State Univ., 64 F.3d
442, 446-47 (8th Cir. 1995). Any award of retroactive
monetary relief payable by the state, including for back pay
or damages, is proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment absent a
waiver of immunity by the state or an override of immunity by
Congress. See, e.g., Dover Elevator Co., 64
F.3d at 444; Nevels v. Hanlon, 656 F.2d 372, 377-78
(8th Cir. 1981). A state's sovereign immunity extends to
public officials sued in their official capacities as
“[a] suit against a public employee in his or her
official capacity is merely a suit against the public
employer.” Johnson v. Outboard Marine Corp.,
172 F.3d 531, 535 (8th Cir. 1999).
Plaintiff brought suit against Judge Yardley in her official
capacity. As a county court judge within the Nebraska
Judicial Branch, Judge Yardley is a state official, and
Plaintiff's official-capacity claims are claims against
the state. See Tyler v. Kimes, No. 8:18CV74, 2018 WL
3057873, at *2 (D. Neb. June 20, 2018) (citing Tisdell v.
Crow Wing Cnty., No. CIV. 13-2531 PJS/LIB, 2014 WL
1757929, at *7 (D. Minn. Apr. 30, 2014) (official-capacity
claims against state court judge are claims against state)).
There is nothing in the record before the court showing that
the State of Nebraska waived, or that Congress ...