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Lawrence Emerson Warner v. David Barilla

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


April 13, 2011

LAWRENCE EMERSON WARNER
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAVID BARILLA DEFENDANT.
LAWRENCE EMERSON WARNER
PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER LEWIS DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Martin C. Carlson

MEMORANDUM

Hon. John E. Jones III

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:

These matters are before the Court on a joint Report and Recommendation ("R&R") of Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson filed in each case on March 23, 2011, which recommends that the complaints be dismissed for the failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Magistrate Judge Carlson also recommends that the dismissal of these actions be without prejudice as to any effort by Plaintiff Lawrence Emerson Warner ("Plaintiff" or Warner") to allege facts which might state a claim upon which relief may be granted as a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The time for filing objections to the R&R has passed without a filing from Plaintiff.*fn1 Accordingly, this joint R&R is ripe for our review. For the reasons that follow, the R&R shall be adopted in its entirety and these matters shall be dismissed without prejudice.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

When, as here, no objections are made to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the district court is not statutorily required to review the report before accepting it. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985). According to the Third Circuit, however, "the better practice is to afford some level of review to dispositive legal issues raised by the report." Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 878 (3d Cir. 1987). "[T]he court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), advisory committee notes; see also Henderson, 812 F.2d at 878-79 (stating "the failure of a party to object to a magistrate's legal conclusions may result in the loss of the right to de novo review in the district court"); Tice v. Wilson, 425 F. Supp. 2d 676, 680 (W.D. Pa. 2006); Cruz v. Chater, 990 F. Supp. 375-78 (M.D. Pa. 1998); Oldrati v. Apfel, 33 F. Supp. 2d 397, 399 (E.D. Pa. 1998). The Court's examination of this case confirms the Magistrate Judge's determinations.

II. DISCUSSION

These two pro se civil rights actions brought by Plaintiff were filed on March 21, 2011. As noted by Magistrate Judge Carlson, while the complaints are brief, they are not models of clarity. Under a liberal construction of the filings, it appears that Plaintiff names a local district magisterial judge, David Barilla, and a local police officer, Officer Lewis, as Defendants. The complaints then recite that Plaintiff had a dispute between individuals referred to as "Colon" and "Daiz" during which he was falsely accused of extinguishing his cigarette on another man's shirt. As a result of this dust-up, Plaintiff came before Magisterial Judge Barilla in some form of court proceeding, during which Plaintiff alleges Officer Lewis gave an inaccurate summary of the statement Plaintiff had given at the scene. Accusing the Defendants of "favortizm [sic]", and stating that "David Barilla and Officer Lewis worked together to push this case aside - hush-hush I call it," (Doc. 1), Warner demands that "this matter is taking [sic] care of the proper way (justice) against the wrongdoers." As noted by Magistrate Judge Carlson, Warner's complaints state no other even colorable or intelligible prayers for relief.

In the R&R, Magistrate Judge Carlson reviewed Warner's claims pursuant his statutory obligation to conduct a preliminary review of pro se complaints brought by plaintiffs seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis.*fn2 See 28 U.S.C.§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Thus, Magistrate Judge Carlson was tasked to determine whether Warner's complaints should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Id. After a review of the complaints, Magistrate Judge Carlson appropriately determined that they fail to meet the substantive standards required by law, in that they do not set forth a short and plain statement*fn3 of a cognizable violation of some right guaranteed by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Moreover, to the extent that Plaintiff is attempting to have this Court reverse the rulings of a State magisterial judge, we are prevented from doing so pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.*fn4 Finally, David Barilla is likely cloaked with judicial immunity and Officer Lewis cannot be held liable for testimony given in a state judicial proceeding. See Mireless v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 13 (1991) and Briscoe v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325, 345-46 (1983).

As we have already mentioned, no objections have filed objections to this joint R&R. Because we agree with the sound reasoning that led the Magistrate Judge to the conclusions in his thorough and thoughtful R&R, we will adopt the R&R in its entirety. With a mind towards conserving judicial resources, we will not rehash the reasoning of the Magistrate Judge; rather, we will attach a copy of the R&R to this document, as it accurately reflects our consideration and resolution of the cases sub judice. An appropriate Order shall issue.*fn5


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