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Robertson-Little v. Forte

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

June 28, 2017



         THIS MATTER is before the Court sua sponte under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) and 12(b)(6) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)(2)(B) on the Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights filed by Caska Robertson-Little on December 13, 2016 (Doc. 1) (“Complaint”). The Court will dismiss Robertson-Little's Complaint for failure to meet the requirements of Rule 8(a) and failure to state a claim for relief, and will deny Robertson-Little leave to file an amended complaint as futile under the Heck doctrine.


         Robertson-Little originally filed this proceeding as a prisoner civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). He names only two Defendants-Anthony J. Forte, Director of the Risk Management Division of the State of New Mexico and Susana Martinez, Governor of the State of New Mexico. (Doc. 1 at 5). Robertson-Little was convicted by a jury on charges of Aggravated Battery Against a Household Member (Great Bodily Injury) and False Imprisonment in State of New Mexico, County of Santa Fe, First Judicial District Court cause number D-101-CR-201200630. He is incarcerated at the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility, serving a sentence on his conviction and as a habitual offender. (Doc. 1 at 5, 66-67, 79; No. D-101-CR-201200630). In his 14-page Complaint with 69 pages of attachments, he makes wide-ranging, rambling, and largely incomprehensible allegations against judges, defense counsel, prosecutors, correctional officers and other state officials that he is illegally incarcerated in violation of his constitutional rights. (Doc. 1). He attaches a copy of the United States Constitution and, by his initials, indicates his rights have been violated under: Article I, Sections 6 (compensation of Senators and Representatives), 8 (power to lay and collect taxes), 9 (migration or importation of persons), and 10 (States may not enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation); Article III, Sections 1 (judicial power of the United States) and 2 (judicial power extends to all cases); Article IV, Sections 1 (full faith and credit) and 2 (privileges and immunities); Article VII (ratification); and Amendments I (freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly), IV (search and arrest warrants), V (rights in criminal cases), VI (rights to a fair trial), VIII (bails, fines, and punishments), and XIV (civil rights). (Doc. 1 at 6, 19-27). In his request for relief, Robertson-Little states:

“The sum of One Billion Dollars $1, 000, 000, 000.00 is being presented for the courts to award me for the continuous conflicts of interest pertaining to all personnel involved working under the color of State of New Mexico Law as Governor and the Risk Management are all aware of the situation of my case. ‘To go home and live worry less open dozens of businesses.'”

(Doc. 1 at 8). Since the filing of his original Complaint, Robertson-Little has filed 12 supplements to his Complaint (Doc. 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 24, 25, 30, 34, 35) and has sent the Court 10 letters addressing and expanding on his allegations (Doc. 8, 9, 14, 16, 17, 22, 23, 26, 28, 39).

         Also pending before the Court is Robertson-Little's letter motion for a preliminary injunction. (Doc. 29). His letter motion states “[t]here have been (8) Eight Attorneys that have not given any type of Assistance in my behalf. Your ‘Honors Please' I ask to be released in a PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION . . . Thank you with all Due Respect Relief is to be released to begin needed studying to begin trial.” (Doc. 29).


         Plaintiff Robertson-Little has several motions pending before the Court. First, he has filed two motions directed to proceeding in forma pauperis in this Court, a motion for a ten-day extension of time to make the initial partial payment and a motion to continue in forma pauperis. (Doc. 15, 19). The Court will grant both motions. Robertson-Little has also filed an Application for Free Process, seeking to be granted free process in a New Mexico state court proceeding. (Doc. 27). This Court lacks authority to determine whether Robertson-Little should be granted free process in state court and will dismiss the Application. Similarly, Robertson-Little has filed a Motion to Join Case, seeking to be made a party to a pending state court proceeding. (Doc. 32). This Court does not have jurisdiction to order Robertson-Little joined as a party in a New Mexico state court case and, again, will dismiss the Motion.

         Last, Robertson-Little has filed a letter motion for a preliminary injunction. (Doc. 29). A party seeking a preliminary injunction must establish: (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a likelihood that the party will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction; (3) that the balance of equities tips in the party's favor; and (4) that the injunction serves the public interest. Little v. Jones, 607 F.3d 1245, 1251 (10th Cir.2010). A preliminary injunction requiring the nonmoving party to take affirmative action is an extraordinary remedy that is generally disfavored. Druley v. Patton, 601 F.App'x 632, 634 (10th Cir. 2015). Robertson-Little's letter motion does not address any of the requirements for issuance of a preliminary injunction and, therefore, will be denied.


         The decision to strike a pleading or to dismiss an action for failure to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 is within the sound discretion of the district court. See Kuehl v. FDIC, 8 F.3d 905, 908 (1st Cir.1993); Atkins v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 967 F.2d 1197, 1203 (8th Cir.1992); Salahuddin v. Cuomo, 861 F.2d 40, 42 (2d Cir.1988). In order to state a claim for relief, Rule 8(a) requires a plaintiff's complaint contain “(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends, ... (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief, and (3) a demand for judgment for the relief [he] seeks.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Although the Court is to construe pro se pleadings liberally, a pro se plaintiff must follow the rules of federal and appellate procedure, see Ogden v. San Juan County, 32 F.3d 452, 455 (10th Cir.1994).

         A pro se complaint may be stricken or dismissed under Rule 8(a) if it is “incomprehensible.” See Carpenter v. Williams, 86 F.3d 1015, 1016 (10th Cir.1996); Olguin v. Atherton, 215 F.3d 1337 (10th Cir. 2000). Rule 8(a)'s purpose is to require plaintiffs to state their claims intelligibly so as to give fair notice of the claims to opposing parties and the court. Mann v. Boatright, 477 F.3d 1140, 1148 (10th Cir. 2007); Monument Builders of Greater Kansas City, Inc., v. American Cemetery Ass'n of Kansas, 891 F.2d 1473, 1480 (10th Cir.1989). Imprecise pleadings undermine the utility of the complaint and violate that purpose of Rule 8. See Knox v. First Security Bank of Utah, 196 F.2d 112, 117 (10th Cir. 1952). Rambling and incomprehensible filings that bury material allegations in “a morass of irrelevancies” do not meet Rule 8(a)'s pleading requirement of a “short and plain statement.” Mann, 477 F.3d at 1148; Ausherman v. Stump, 643 F.2d 715, 716 (10th Cir.1981).

         Moreover, a plaintiff may not seek to supplement or modify a complaint in a manner that turns the complaint into a “moving target.” It is unreasonable to expect the Court or the defendants continually to have to adapt as the plaintiff develops new theories or locates new defendants. There comes a point when even a pro se plaintiff has had sufficient time to investigate and to properly frame his claims against specific defendants. Minter v. Prime Equipment Co., 451 F.3d 1196, 1206 (10th Cir.2006).

         Plaintiff's rambling, incomprehensible filings do not comply with the requirements of Rule 8. Plaintiff's filings bury any material allegations in “a morass of irrelevancies” and do not meet Rule 8(a)'s “short and plain statement” pleading requirement. Mann, 477 F.3d at 1148; Ausherman, 643 F.2d at 716. Further, in addition to being ...

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