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Fulton v. Worcester Superior Court Department

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

July 31, 2018

ALBERT FULTON JR. III, Plaintiff,
v.
WORCESTER SUPERIOR COURT DEPT., WORCESTER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, JUSTICE JANET KENTON-WALKER, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY COURTNEY SANS, SHERIFF LEWIS EVANGELIDIS, SUPERINTENDENT DAVID TUTTLE, CLASSIFICATION COORDINATOR PAUL THEISEN, DEPUTY SCOTT MCMILLEN, and CORRECTIONAL OFFICER DEAN HATCH, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          DAVID H. HENNESSY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         For the reasons stated below, the Court will allow the motion to proceed in forma pauperis, assess an initial filing fee, deny without prejudice the motion to serve by First Class Mail as moot, deny without prejudice the motion to appoint counsel, and order plaintiff to file an amended complaint.

         I. Background

         On April 4, 2018, pro se pretrial detainee plaintiff, Albert Fulton Jr. III, filed a voluminous complaint against the Worcester County Superior Court Department (“Superior Court”), Worcester County Sheriff's Office (“WCSO”), Honorable Janet Kenton-Walker, Assistant District Attorney Courtney Sans, Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, Superintendent David Tuttle, Deputy Scott McMillen, Classification Coordinator Paul Theisen, and Corrections Officer Dean Hatch. Fulton alleges, among other things, that he was extorted and assaulted by inmates, and that these assaults were preventable. He further alleges that he was retaliated-against, mistreated and harassed by defendant Dean Hatch, and that other defendants were aware of, and did nothing, to resolve Fulton's issues. Fulton claims some defendants are responsible because of their supervisory positions. Additionally, Fulton also claims that a state court judge improperly denied his motions for a jail transfer and that an Assistant District Attorney disclosed information to a state-court defendant that placed him in danger of physical harm. Fulton seeks damages and injunctive relief against the defendants.

         On May 2, 2018, the Court denied plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis because it did not include a prison account statement as required pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(2).

         On May 14, 2018 plaintiff filed a renewed motion to proceed in forma pauperis, but without a complete prison account statement. On May 18, 2018, the Court ordered plaintiff to file a complete prison account statement. On June 7, 2018 and June 28, 2018, the Court received a complete prisoner account statement. Also currently pending is a motion to permit service of the complaint by first class mail and motion for appointment of counsel.

         II. Discussion

         A. Plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Leave to File In Forma Pauperis and Motion to Serve Complaint by First Class Mail.

         Plaintiff's renewed motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 8) is hereby ALLOWED. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), the Court assesses an initial partial filing fee of $15.30. The remainder of the fee, $334.70, shall be collected in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The Clerk shall send a copy of this Order to the Treasurer's Office at the Suffolk County House of Correction, along with the standard Notice to Prison form. As plaintiff is being permitted to proceed in forma pauperis, his motion to serve the complaint by first class mail (ECF No. 3) is DENIED without prejudice as MOOT. Summonses, however, shall not issue until further order of the Court.

         B. Preliminary Screening of the Complaint

         Because plaintiff is a prisoner and proceeding in forma pauperis, his complaint is subject to screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and §1915A, and is construed generously. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Instituto de Educacion Universal Corp. v. U.S. Dept. of Education, 209 F.3d 18, 23 (1st Cir. 2000).

         1. Claims Against Justice Janet Kenton-Walker Barred By Absolute Judicial Immunity

         All claims against Judge Janet Kenton-Walker are barred by the doctrine of absolute judicial immunity. Becks v. Plymouth County Superior Court, 511 F.Supp.2d 203, 206 (D.Mass.2007) (“Absolute immunity from civil liability applies to any judicial officer for any normal and routine judicial act.”). “Absolute immunity applies to ‘judges performing judicial acts within their jurisdiction,' and the protection it affords applies even if the official ‘acted maliciously and corruptly in exercising his judicial ... functions' or ‘in the presence of grave procedural errors.'” Ives v. Agastoni, No. CV 15-30153-MAP, 2015 WL 9647559, at *3 (D. Mass. Dec. 14, 2015)(quoting Goldstein v. Galvin, 719 F.3d 16, 24 (1st Cir.2013)), report and recommendation adopted, No. 15-CV-30153-MAP, 2016 WL 79881 (D. Mass. Jan. 5, 2016). Plaintiff merely alleges that Judge Janet ...


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