United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) of the Honorable Brian
A. Tsuchida, United States Magistrate Judge. Dkt. #6. The
R&R recommends dismissal of Plaintiff Kier Keand'e
Gardner's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) for
failure to state a claim. After considering Plaintiff's
Complaint, Dkt. #1, Objections, Dkt. #7, and the remaining
record, the Court agrees with Judge Tsuchida that
Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed with prejudice.
claims arise from Defendants' alleged fai l ure to file
and process his name change application and to rectify this
failure thereafter. Defendant contends that Mr. Reynolds,
Judge Hedine, Whatcom County Clerk's Office, and Whatcom
Superior Court failed to file his name-change documents in
violation of his right of access to the courts, access to the
government for redress of grievances, and equal rights under
the law. Dkt. #4 at 16-18. He likewise contends that Whatcom
County Council and Whatcom County Superior Court failed to
take “corrective action” to address this failure
in retaliation for his having commenced an unrelated action
against Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis. Id. at 20-21.
district court has jurisdiction to review a Magistrate
Judge's report and recommendation on dispositive matters.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). “The district judge
must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's
disposition that has been properly objected to.”
Id. “A judge of the court may accept, reject,
or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Court reviews de novo those
portions of the report and recommendation to which specific
written objection is made. United States v.
Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) (en
Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Immunity
R&R correctly determined that Plaintiff's Section
1983 claims against Judge Hedine and Mr. Reynolds for actions
taken in their capacities as judge and county clerk are
barred by judicial and quasi-judicial immunity. Dkt. #6 at
5-6. Plaintiff objects to the R&R on the grounds that
Judge Tsuchida erroneously applied federal case law involving
federal officers to Plaintiff's complaint, which alleges
violations by county officials. Dkt. #7 at 2-4. Because the
doctrine of judicial and quasi-judicial immunity plainly
applies to judicial officers as the county level, the Court
finds no error in the R&R's application of the law.
See Sutton v. LLewellyn, 288 Fed.Appx. 411, 412 (9th
Cir. 2008) (County Clerk of Monterey County Superior Court
had absolute quasi-judicial immunity from damages for civil
rights violations); Foti v. Cty. of San Mateo, 90
Fed.Appx. 488, 491 (9th Cir. 2003) (Judicial immunity barred
Section 1983 claims against county superior court judge).
Failure to State a Claim
the Court agrees that the facts alleged by Plaintiff do not
give rise to a constitutional violation under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1981, 1983, and no additional facts could cure
this defect. Id. at 7-12. The Court addresses
Plaintiff's objections, in turn, below.
Right of Access to the Courts
R&R concludes that Plaintiff is not entitled to a right
of access to the courts with respect to this civil action.
Dkt. #6 at 8 (“[A] prisoner has no constitutional right
of access to the courts to litigate an unrelated civil
claim.”) (citing Simmons v. Sacramento Cty.
Superior Court, 318 F.3d 1156, 1160 (9th Cir. 2003)).
Plaintiff objects that he should be allowed to amend his
complaint to demonstrate to the court the connection between
this civil action and his criminal case. Dkt. #7 at 5.
However, the injury alleged by Plaintiff-here,
Defendants' alleged failure to process his name-change
documents and to rectify this failure-cannot satisfy the
injury requirement to claim violation of his right of access
to the courts. An injury that invokes an inmate's
constitutional right of access to the courts must affect his
ability to attack his sentence, directly or collaterally, or
to challenge the conditions of his confinement.
Simmons, 318 F.3d at 1160. This civil case does not
fall into either category. Plaintiff contends that this name
change dispute has affected his ability to file pleadings
related to his criminal action because it has prevented him
from listing a particular name on pleadings. See
Dkt. #4, ¶67 (discussing Plaintiff's inability
“to get any motions, including criminal motions, in the
trial court for well over 30 months now . . . or be a part in
any judicial proceeding of a civil nature as KEANDE or in
Plaintiff's Given Names: KIER KEAND'E”).
Plaintiff's constitutional right of access to the courts