IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
August 21, 2012
JEAN COULTER, PLAINTIFF,
MARY SUZANNE RAMSDEN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Cathy Bissoon
Magistrate Judge Mitchell
Jean Coulter ("Plaintiff") brings the instant cause of action pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, et seq., alleging violations of various constitutional rights due to the alleged bad acts of Defendants.*fn1 See generally (Doc. 1). This matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for pretrial proceedings in accordance with the Magistrates Act, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), and Rules 72.C and 72.D of the Local Rules for Magistrate Judges. On July 13, 2012, the magistrate judge sua sponte issued a report and recommendation recommending that this case be dismissed due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (Doc. 2). Plaintiff timely filed objections on July 27, 2012. (Doc. 3). In response to those objections, the magistrate judge filed an amended report and recommendation on July 31, 2012.*fn2 (Doc. 4). Plaintiff timely filed objections to the amended report on August 15, 2012. (Doc. 5).
The bases for Plaintiff's objections are largely addressed in the magistrate judge's latest report. However, in the interest of thoroughness, the undersigned will address two of Plaintiff's arguments specifically.
First, Plaintiff asserts that she has an "absolute right" to amend a deficient civil rights complaint, and that it was error for the magistrate judge to recommend that leave to do so be denied. (Doc 5. at 2). The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has held that, in civil rights cases, a court must give a plaintiff the opportunity to amend a deficient complaint when dismissing a case for failure to state a claim, unless doing so would be inequitable or futile. See Fletcher-Harlee Corp. v. Pote Concrete Contractors, Inc., 482 F.3d 247, 251 (3d Cir. 2007). In the instant case, it is clear that Plaintiff's allegations in her complaint are insufficient to state a plausible claim for conspiracy. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (a complaint must be dismissed even if the claim to relief is "conceivable," because a plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face"). Despite Plaintiff's protestations to the contrary, there is no indication -- either in the text of the complaint, or in either set of objections -- that granting leave to amend would be anything other than futile. Accordingly, this argument is unpersuasive.
Second, Plaintiff alleges that the magistrate judge has denied a "[p]etition for [his] recusal," and she moves this Court to effect his "removal." (Doc. 5 at 1). At the outset, this Court notes that Plaintiff has not, in fact, filed a motion for recusal in this case. Additionally, in spite of her vitriolic, unsubstantiated accusations to the contrary, there is no indication in the record of this case, or in any of Plaintiff's other, numerous civil rights cases mentioned above, that the magistrate judge has behaved in a manner that "was anything other than completely fair and impartial." Coulter v. Doerr, No. 12-1864, 2012 WL 1941594, at *2 (3d Cir. May 30, 2012). Indeed, the filing of an amended report and recommendation in response to Plaintiff's initial objections, see (Doc. 4), is indicative of the magistrate judge's thorough analysis of Plaintiffs' claims, as well as his commitment to arriving at the proper result under the law.*fn3 As the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has made quite clear to Plaintiff before, her mere displeasure with the magistrate judge's rulings is not an adequate basis for his recusal.*fn4 Doerr, 2012 WL 1941594, at *3 (citing Securacomm Consulting Inc. v. Securacom, Inc., 244 F.3d 273, 278 (3d Cir. 2000)).
After de novo review of the pleadings and documents in the case, together with the amended report and recommendation (Doc. 4), as well as Plaintiffs objections (Docs. 3 and 5), the following ORDER is entered:
AND NOW, this 21st day of August, 2012,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this civil action is DISMISSED for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, to the extent that Plaintiff's second set of objections may be construed as a "motion to remove" Judge Mitchell from this case, the same is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the magistrate judge's report and recommendation (Doc. 4), as it is supplemented by this memorandum order, is adopted as the opinion of the Court.
BY THE COURT:
CATHY BISSOON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cc: JEAN COULTER 4000 Presidential Boulevard Apartment #507 Philadephia, PA 19131