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Davis v. City of Vicksburg

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

July 13, 2015



DAVID BRAMLETTE, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on the plaintiff Chakakhan Davis's Amended Complaint (docket entry 7), and on the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker (docket entry 8). Having carefully considered the Amended Complaint, the Report and Recommendation, and the plaintiff's objections thereto (docket entry 12), the Court finds as follows:

Davis filed her Complaint on June 25, 2013, naming the City of Vicksburg, the Warren County Circuit Court, Warren County, Mississippi, and Warren County Circuit Court Judge Issadore W. Patrick, Jr., as defendants. She also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. On October 25, 2013, Magistrate Judge Parker granted Davis leave to proceed in forma pauperis and ordered her to file an amended complaint to include the facts and circumstances supporting the claims asserted against each defendant. With respect to Judge Patrick, the plaintiff was directed to amend her complaint to include facts and circumstances that could overcome judicial immunity. Davis filed her Amended Complaint on March 26, 2014.

Because Davis was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915 imposes a screening responsibility upon the district court:

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... (b) the action or appeal - (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see also Newsome v. EEOC, 301 F.3d 227, 231-33 (5th Cir. 2002)(dismissing non-prisoner plaintiff's in forma pauperis complaint for frivolity and failure to state a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)); Dawson v. Parkland Health and Hosp. Sys., 2006 WL 3342622, at *1 n.1 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 17, 2006)(stating that § 1915(e) applies equally to prisoner and non-prisoner in forma pauperis cases).

Davis alleges that she was a plaintiff in a civil matter in the Circuit Court of Warren County ("the Warren County case"), involving injuries she received during an incident at Office Max. Judge Patrick was the presiding judge. The case presently before this Court arises out of proceedings which transpired during the pendency of the Warren County case.

According to Davis's Amended Complaint, her causes of action arise under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution through 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000, et. seq. Her specific counts include "unlawful quid pro quo sexual harassment, attempted sexual blackmail, a sexually hostile and brutal court decorum, and retaliation." Amended Complaint, p. 1. She also claims that she is entitled to "compensatory damages, punitive damages, costs and attorneys fees." Id.

According to the Amended Complaint, Judge Patrick, "made numerous flirtatious unwelcome sexual advances" toward the plaintiff during court proceedings (Amended Complaint, ¶ 12); "asked [the plaintiff] to stand repeatedly after being made aware of [the plaintiff's] inability to stand for a long period of time in the morning" (¶ 12); "asked [the plaintiff] to take the mic stand having to walk the greater distance than other litigants as sexual sneak attacks so that he could view [the plaintiff's] shape and or figure" (¶ 13); "engaged in sexual explicit tongue movement gesturing that he wanted to perform oral sex on" the plaintiff (¶ 14); "licked his lips flirtatiously" while staring at the plaintiff's "breast, vaginal and buttocks areas" (¶ 15); "made comments that he was the sensors that picked up [the plaintiff's] body, ... used intimidating sexual [sic] explicit gestures with body language that if [she] had accepted his sexual advances, he would have acted favorably toward [her] deliberately conveying an abuse of legal authority and procedure, as well as retaliated [against the plaintiff] for not welcoming his sexual advances by making fun of [her] religion and socioeconomic status inflicting harm" (¶ 16).

In Count One of her Amended Complaint, the plaintiff asserts a claim for sexual harassment against Judge Patrick. She also brings a claim for "careless training and supervision" of Judge Patrick by defendants City of Vicksburg and Warren County (hereafter "the municipal defendants"), and defendant Warren County Circuit Court. (Amended Complaint, ¶¶ 19-23).

In Count Two, the plaintiff asserts a claim for racial discrimination against all defendants. (¶¶ 24-28).

In Count Three, the plaintiff brings a claim against all defendants for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and against the municipal defendants and Warren County Circuit Court for "careless training and supervision" of Judge Patrick. (¶¶ 29-35).

Count Four alleges extreme and outrageous conduct on the part of all defendants and seeks punitive damages. (¶¶ 36-37).

The Court first addresses the claims against Warren County Circuit Court and Judge Patrick in his official capacity. Sovereign immunity, available to the State of Mississippi, is also available to an arm of the state such as the Warren County Circuit Court "regardless of the nature of the relief sought." Alicea v. Grenada County, 1997 WL 206767, *8 (N.D. Miss. March 6, 1997)(quoting Pennhurst State School v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984)). "In addition, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that Congress did not intend for § 1983 to overcome the sovereign immunity of states embodied in the Eleventh Amendment and ...

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