United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
LATICIA W. LEWIS
JUDGE THOMAS R. DUPLANTIER
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. DOUGLAS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
se plaintiff Laticia W. Lewis filed the above-captioned
matter in this District Court against Judge Thomas R.
Duplantier of the 15th Judicial District Court in Lafayette,
Louisiana. Lewis alleges that Judge Duplantier did not
provide her with a fair trial in a legal dispute involving
2, 2019, this Court ordered Lewis to show cause why her
claims should not be summarily dismissed for failure to state
an actionable claim in this federal court. [Doc. #3]. Lewis
has complied with that order and filed a response. [Doc. #4].
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) provides for summary dismissal
sua sponte, should the Court determine that a case
is frivolous. Section 1915(e)(2)(B) provides in pertinent
part as follows:
(2) 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
(B) the action or appeal -
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (emphasis added). In plain
language, Section 1915 requires dismissal if the Court is
satisfied that the case fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted.
Court has permitted the plaintiff to proceed in forma
pauperis in the instant proceeding under the provisions
of 28 U.S.C. Â§1915(a). However, summons has not issued in
order to allow the Court to review plaintiff's complaint
to determine whether it satisfies the requirements of the
federal in forma pauperis statute. On its face,
plaintiff's complaint fails to meet the requirements of
the statute. There exists no absolute right to proceed in
forma pauperis in federal civil matters; instead, it is
a privilege extended to those unable to pay filing fees
when it is apparent that the claims do not lack merit on
regard to Judge Duplantier, the only defendant in this
lawsuit, it is well settled that judges are protected by
absolute immunity for actions taken in their judicial
capacity. See In re Foust, 310 F.3d 849, 855 (5th
Cir. 2002) (citing Mays v. Sudderth, 97 F.3d 107,
109-113 (5th Cir. 1996)). Essential policy considerations
support this grant of absolute judicial immunity. A
judge's role in the judicial system requires that he
enjoy the "freedom to determine the law unfettered by
the threat of collateral attacks" against him
personally. Mays, 97 F.3d at 111. "The
independence of the judiciary must not be sacrificed one
microscopic portion of a millimeter, lest the fears of
section 1983 intrusions cow the judge from his duty."
McAlester v. Brown, 469 F.2d 1280, 1283 (5th
Cir.1972). Absolute immunity applies to judicial acts within
a judge's jurisdiction in suits brought under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1983 and 1985. Mays, 97 F.3d at 111.
Moreover, a judge does not lose immunity even if he was in
error, took action maliciously, or acted in excess of his
authority. Id. Rather, he loses immunity only if his
act was not a "judicial act" or was "performed
in the clear absence of jurisdiction." Id.
allegations in Lewis's complaint challenge Judge
Duplantier's actions taken in his official capacity as
judge when he presided over her trial. In her response to
this Court's rule to show cause, Lewis complains that
Judge Duplantier told her to “shut up” and
refused to allow her to speak in the courtroom during the
legal dispute involving her children. [Doc. #4 at p. 1]. She
claims that Judge Duplantier violated her parental rights by
allowing her children to remain with the “so called
predator” and refused to use any evidence at the
hearing that she presented to the court. [Id. at p.
2]. She maintains ...