United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL
JOHN CORBETT O'MEARA JUDGE
Martin Smith is presently confined at the Carson Correctional
Facility in Carson City, Michigan. He has filed a pro
se complaint challenging the conduct of Theresa Spencer.
He claims that Spencer, in her role as clerk of Lapeer County
Circuit Court, interfered with his right of access to the
courts by failing to docket Plaintiff's legal filings.
For the reasons which follow, the complaint is dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
the filing of his complaint, Plaintiff has filed two motions.
First, he filed a Motion for Leave to File Supplemental
Complaint. He seeks to supplement his complaint with the
addition of several paragraphs and an affidavit from his
mother. The proposed additions seek to provide further
support for Plaintiff's claims, but do not raise new
claims. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1) allows a
party to amend a pleading once as a matter of course within
21 days of serving it or 21 days after service of a
responsive pleading or a motion under Rule 12(b). The
complaint has not been served. Therefore, Plaintiff's
motion to supplement his complaint will be granted.
also has filed a Memorandum of Law in Support of Preliminary
Injunction (which was docketed as motion for preliminary
injunction). The Court, as set forth below, has determined
that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted. Therefore, Plaintiff's request for a
preliminary injunction will be denied as moot.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set
forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” as well as
“a demand for the relief sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this rule is to “give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley
v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) and Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). The notice pleading standard requires more than the
bare assertion of legal conclusions or “an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
“A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Id. at 1949
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
has been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of the
filing fee for this action. Under the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (“PLRA”), the court is required to
sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint before service on a defendant if it determines that
the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Similarly, the court is required to dismiss a
complaint seeking redress against government entities,
officers, and employees that it finds to be frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege
that (1) he was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the United
States, and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting
under color of state law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436
U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978). A pro se civil rights
complaint is to be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
noted, Plaintiff's complaint focuses on the actions of
Lapeer County Circuit Court clerk Theresa Spencer. It is
well-established that court clerks and other court employees
have absolute immunity against liability for actions arising
out of the performance of judicial or quasi-judicial
functions. Foster v. Walsh, 864 F.2d 416, 418 (6th
Cir. 1988). “Quasi-judicial immunity extends to those
persons performing tasks so integral or intertwined with the
judicial process that these persons are considered an arm of
the judicial offer who is immune.” Bush v.
Rauch, 38 F.3d 842, 847 (6th Cir. 1994). In Ortman
v. Michigan, 16 F.3d 1220, 1994 WL 12230 (6th Cir. Jan.
18, 1994), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a
court clerk was entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity
from liability for allegedly improperly handling the
plaintiff's attempts to appeal. The allegations against
Spencer in this case involve the performance of judicial
functions. Thus, Spencer's actions fall within the
doctrine of quasi-judicial immunity and she is immune from
reasons stated, the Court concludes that the complaint fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the complaint is dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File
a Supplemental Complaint (ECF No. 4) is GRANTED, and
Plaintiff's Motion for ...