United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Sorokin United States District Judge.
before the court is the pro se plaintiff's
amended complaint. For the reasons set forth below, summons
will not issue for service of the amended complaint on
defendants Flynn and Storms and the new claims are dismissed
without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
initiated this action on May 6, 2019, by filing a complaint
naming as defendants Brandeis University and the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts. Doc. No. 1. By Order dated May 15, 2019,
plaintiff was permitted to proceed in forma pauperis
and under the pseudonym “John Doe.” Doc. No. 7.
The claims against the Commonwealth were dismissed.
22, 2019, summons issued for service of the complaint on
Brandeis University. Doc. No. 12. On June 4, 2019, plaintiff
filed an amended complaint. Pl. Amended Complaint (“Am.
Compl.”), Doc. No. 14.
13, 2019, the summons was returned executed. Doc. No. 15.
Brandeis University's Answer is due on July 5, 2019.
SCREENING OF PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED COMPLAINT
is entitled to amend his complaint without leave of the court
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1). Because
plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the
amended complaint is subject to preliminary review pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Section 1915(e)(2) authorizes
federal courts to dismiss a complaint sua sponte if
the claims therein lack an arguable basis in law or in fact,
fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325-327 (1989)
(summary dismissal appropriate when the “claim is based
on an indisputably meritless legal theory” or
“lacks an arguable basis either in law or in
examining the sufficiency of the pleadings, the court
considers whether the plaintiff has pled “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). “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.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). The
court accepts as true the factual allegations of the
complaint, draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff that are supported by the factual allegations, and
determines whether the complaint, so read, sets forth a claim
for recovery that is “'plausible on its
face.” Eldredge v. Town of Falmouth, 662 F.3d
100, 104 (1st Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted)). The allegations
must be sufficient to identify the manner by which the
defendant subjected the plaintiff to harm and the harm
alleged must be one for which the law affords a remedy.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Legal conclusions couched as
facts and “threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action” will not suffice. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. See also Ocasio-Hernandez v.
Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011).
conducting this review, the Court liberally construes the
amended complaint because the plaintiff is proceeding pro
se. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21
(1972); Rodi v. New Eng. Sch. of Law, 389 F.3d 5, 13
(1st Cir. 2004).
addition to asserting claims against Brandeis University, the
amended complaint names as defendants a state court judge, in
his individual capacity, and a former assistant district
attorney. As to these two defendants, plaintiff alleges that
they violated plaintiff's constitutional rights and he
also asserts claims of defamation and intentional infliction
of emotional distress. The claims in the amended complaint
against Brandeis University remain the same.
amended complaint, plaintiff contends that the state court
proceedings were fundamentally unfair and that he was
arraigned before Judge Flynn without the presence of his
assigned public defender. Am. Compl. at ¶ 188. Plaintiff
again complains that after having retained private counsel,
the University disregarded plaintiff's protections under
the Fifth Amendment and proceeded with its informal Special
Examiner's Process. Id. at ¶ 191. Plaintiff
alleges that the University conspired with the assistant
district attorney by leaking the findings to the assistant
district attorney for use in the criminal prosecution of
extent that the plaintiff sues the judge in his individual
capacity, the Supreme Court has recognized absolute immunity
for judges acting in the performance of their judicial
duties. See Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731,
745-46 (1982). “[I]t is an axiom of black letter law
that when a judge carries out traditional adjudicatory
functions, he or she has absolute immunity for those
actions.” Zenon v. Guzman, 924 F.3d 611, 616
(1st Cir. 2019) (citing Goldstein v. Galvin, 719
F.3d 16, 25 (1st Cir. 2013)). Judges are immune from suit for
damages resulting from any judicial act unless performed in
“the clear absence of all jurisdiction.”
Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991).
Allegations of bad faith or malice do not overcome judicial
immunity. Id. at 11. Because plaintiff has not
alleged that the judge acted without ...