United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Mouratidis Appearing pro se.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
case concerns various claims made by Plaintiff Louis
Mouratidis against a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, members
of the New Jersey Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on
Judicial Conduct, and the clerk and deputy clerk of the New
Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division. This matter is
before the Court because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma
pauperis and the Court must screen this complaint before
allowing the case to proceed. Also before the Court are
Plaintiff's Motions for a Preliminary Injunction and a
Temporary Restraining Order, Motion to Amend, and Request for
Leave of Court Under the Doctrine of Relation Back
(collectively, the “Pending Motions”). This Court
will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, with prejudice. As a
result, this Court will also dismiss all Pending Motions as
Court takes it facts from Plaintiff's Complaint filed on
November 1, 2018. Plaintiff has named twelve putative
Defendants: Justice Virginia A. Long, Judge Stephen Skillman,
David P. Anderson, Jr., Matthew Boxer, Paul J. Walker, Susan
A. Feeney, Karen Kessler, Vincent E. Gentile, Judge Edward H.
Stern (collectively, the “ACJC”), Judge Deborah
S. Katz, Clerk Joseph H. Orlando, and Deputy Clerk John K.
Grant (collectively, Mr. Orlando and Mr. Grant will be
referred to as the “Clerk Defendants”). Plaintiff
claims these individuals have perpetrated a series of state
and federal crimes against him, violated New Jersey statutes,
violated rules of conduct, and violated constitutional rights
giving rise to claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983,
1985, and 1986.
spite of the amount of violations claimed of state and
federal law, the facts of this case are straightforward.
Between April 2017 and January 2019, Plaintiff has attempted
to petition for a waiver of transcript fees. Plaintiff
alleges he needs these transcripts in order to modify or
dissolve a final order in a Family Part proceeding in the
Superior Court, Chancery Division. His requests were heard
before Judge Katz, a New Jersey Superior Court judge in the
Camden Vicinage who serves as the Assignment Judge. Plaintiff
claims his petitions were properly filed and meritorious. All
have been denied.
result, Plaintiff resorted to two alternate means to have his
petitions heard before another Superior Court judge. First,
Plaintiff filed motions for recusal before Judge Katz.
Second, Plaintiff filed a grievance before the New Jersey
Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct,
comprising of the nine individuals described supra.
The motions for recusal were denied. The grievance was also
denied because Plaintiff essentially complained that Judge
Katz's decision was incorrect and not that her conduct
was in some way improper, according to the ACJC's
description of the complaint. The ACJC advised Plaintiff that
the proper avenue for his grievance would be an appeal.
result, Plaintiff thereafter filed an appeal with the New
Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division in October 2018.
Plaintiff received a letter shortly thereafter from Defendant
Orlando stating that his appeal was deficient and would be
dismissed for three reasons. Plaintiff did not thereafter
attempt to amend his filing to correct the deficiencies noted
by Mr. Orlando.
Plaintiff filed this action. In it, Plaintiff alleges that
the members of the ACJC and Judge Katz conspired to deny him
the ability to receive transcripts at public expense. This
conspiracy, Plaintiff alleges, “discriminated by its
disruptive impact against the Plaintiff” and:
deprived [Plaintiff] again (directly) of the laws [of] the
State of New Jersey [i]njured in his persons & deprived
of flexing & exercising rights & privileges of a
Disabled Citizen of the United States of America, rights to
properly petition, right to contest civil injunctions, rights
not to be enslaved. In direct violations to the First - Fifth
& Fourteenth Amend. U.S.C.A. In which has promoted the
8th Amend. Violation incorporating the New Jersey Const. Art.
I. Sec. 1. Sec. 12.
(Pl. Compl. ¶ 25.)
Plaintiff claims the ACJC:
has without doubt, willfully neglected to investigate and or
cover up the actions of the judge who committed the illegal
countless acts and actions in accordance to N.J.R.G.A.
2:15-8(a)(1) - (2) - (3) - (4) (5) and (6), incorporating the
N.J. Rules of Judicial Conduct Canons R. 1.1 - 1.2 - 2.1 -
3.2 - 3.9.
(Pl. Compl. ¶ 28.)
Finally, Plaintiff alleges the Clerk Defendants:
refused to file Plaintiff[']s legislative proper appeal
and documents by fabricating that the Plaintiff has not filed
the proper documents, in which is inconsistent with the
evidence of exhibits provided.
(Pl. Compl. ¶ 38.)
generally complains of psychological injuries as a result of
the actions of the putative Defendants. Specifically,
Plaintiff alleges he suffers from “Massive Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder under his Rehabilitation, Sub
category specifically from Abusive Legal Proceedings
generically coined, Legal Abuse Syndrome - Judicial Legal
Combet [sic] Trauma, It's an assault on the stress of the
human mind, via: brain.” (Pl. Compl. ¶ 40.)
Plaintiff does not clearly request any particular relief,
although it appears he requests this Court to dissolve the
restraining order and grant him declaratory relief in
addition to punishing putative Defendants under various
Court, after receiving Plaintiff's Complaint,
administratively terminated the action until Plaintiff filed
the correct in forma pauperis application (the
“IFP Application”). Plaintiff did so in November
2018 and the Court granted his IFP Application, but
restricted the Clerk from filing his Complaint or issuing
summons until the screening process was completed. In the
interim between the filing of this Opinion and the grant of
Plaintiff's IFP Application, Plaintiff filed the Pending
Motions with supporting legal briefs and filed a notice
stating he had filed another petition for waiver of
transcript fees. Plaintiff's Complaint is ripe for
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367.
§ 1915 refers to “prisoners, ” federal
courts apply § 1915 to non-prisoner IFP applications.
See Hickson v. Mauro, No. 11-6304, 2011 WL 6001088,
at *1 (D.N.J. Nov. 30, 2011) (citing Lister v. Dep't
of Treasury, 408 F.3d 1309, 1312 (10th Cir. 2005));
Lister, 408 F.3d at 1312 (“Section 1915(a)
applies to all persons applying for IFP status, and not just
to prisoners.”). Once IFP status has been granted, a
court must follow the screening provisions of the IFP
statute. The screening provisions of the IFP statute require
a federal court to dismiss an action sua sponte if,
among other things, the action is frivolous or malicious, or
if it fails to comply with the proper pleading standards.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii);
Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013);
Martin v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., No.
17-3129, 2017 WL 3783702, at *1 (D.N.J. Aug. 30, 2017)
(“Federal law requires this Court to screen
Plaintiff's Complaint for sua sponte dismissal
prior to service, and to dismiss any claim if that claim
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and/or to dismiss any defendant who is
immune from suit.”).
indicated, this Court must follow the Rule 12(b)(6) standard
in considering a pro se complaint. Pro se complaints must be
construed liberally, and all reasonable latitude must be
afforded the pro se litigant. Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 107 (1976). But, pro se litigants “must still
plead the essential elements of [their] claim and [are] not
excused from conforming to the standard rules of civil
procedure.” McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S.
106, 113 (1993) (“[W]e have never suggested that
procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be
interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed
without counsel.”); Sykes v. Blockbuster
Video, 205 Fed.Appx. 961, 963 (3d Cir. 2006) (finding
that pro se plaintiffs are expected to comply with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure).
screening a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded
allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v.
Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well
settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do . . . .” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration
in original) (citations omitted) (citing Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957); Sanjuan v. Am. Bd.
of Psychiatry & Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251
(7th Cir. 1994); Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265,
To determine the sufficiency of a complaint, a court must
take three steps. First, the court must “tak[e] note of
the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.”
Second, the court should identify allegations that,
“because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth.” Third,
“whe[n] there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a
court should ...