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Pikulin v. Gonzales

April 5, 2007

WILLIAM PIKULIN & SAVELY PETREYKOV, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ALBERTO GONZALES, ESQ., ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; LAWRENCE M. MCKENNA, FEDERAL JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK; AND JAMES PARKISON, CLERK OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amon, United States District Judge

AMENDED

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiffs William Pikulin and Savely Petreykov brought this pro se action against a judge and the Clerk of the Court of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ("S.D.N.Y."). On February 23, 2007, this Court purported to grant the plaintiffs in forma pauperis application for the purpose of disposing of the action as frivolous, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). On March 9, 2007, plaintiffs filed a Motion for New Trial, in which they complain that they did not seek in forma pauperis status in this case, and, accordingly, the dismissal pursuant to § 1915, which governs in forma pauperis actions, was improper. Though plaintiffs had sought in forma pauperis status in the last case filed before this Court, docket number 06-CV-3959, they paid the filing fee in the instant case and did not seek in forma pauperis status. Accordingly, in the February 23, 2007 Order, the Court should have relied on its inherent power to dismiss frivolous actions, rather than § 1915(e). Accordingly, the Court issues the below amended order dismissing the action as frivolous pursuant to its inherent power to dismiss frivolous cases. Fitzgerald v. First East Seventh Street Tenants Corp., 221 F.3d 362, 364 (2d Cir. 2000). In addition, plaintiffs claim that the Court be recused from the case for the above error is denied as without merit. Adverse decisions on cases are not a grounds for disqualification. 28 U.S.C. § 455; Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs believe they were harmed as a result of a series of events that began in 1988, when a construction company they owned, W. P. Contractors, Inc., entered into a contract with the City of New York. (Complaint ¶ 9.) Beginning in 1995, plaintiffs have made multiple attempts to litigate these issues in the courts of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.*fn1

Apparently unhappy with the outcome of these initial cases, plaintiffs filed this suit and another recent suit, Pikulin, et. al. v. The United States, et. al., 06 CV 3959 (CBA), in this Court, alleging that the judges and other judicial officers in the previous cases obstructed the litigation in those cases. The Court dismissed the recent case against the E.D.N.Y. officials by Order dated December 15, 2006.

The instant case names as defendants the Honorable Lawrence M. McKenna, the presiding judge in the original action in the S.D.N.Y.; the Clerk of Court for the S.D.N.Y., James Parkison (collectively, "the judicial defendants"); and Alberto Gonzales, the current Attorney General of the United States. Plaintiffs allege that the judicial defendants violated plaintiffs' civil rights by permitting the City of New York to file "illegal motions," altering docket entries, refusing to enforce an alleged default judgment against defendant, refusing to accept for filing copies of previously filed documents, removing from the docket an August 5, 1996 Order issued by Judge McKenna, and intentionally mailing documents to an incorrect address. (Id. ¶¶ 20-22, 29, 45, 56, 78). Plaintiffs further allege that Judge McKenna denied plaintiffs' motions and "unconstitutionally and unlawfully" refused to recuse himself. (Id. ¶¶ 31-34, 51.) Plaintiffs claim that these actions constitute violations of several sections of Title 28 of the United States Code regarding the judiciary and judicial procedure, and of plaintiffs' civil rights in violation of Sections 1981, 1983, and 1985(2) of Title 42 of the United States Code. (Id. ¶¶ 88-89.) Plaintiffs allege that the current United States Attorney General, defendant Alberto Gonzales, has deprived them of civil rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985(3) and 1986, and is "responsible for the crimes committed by [the judicial officials]." (Id.) Plaintiffs seek $500,000,000 in damages against the judicial defendants and $300,000,000 in damages against Defendant Gonzales. Plaintiffs further demand that this Court enforce an alleged "unopposed 'Willful Default Judgment #95 civ 1147 SDNY' from May 15, 1995," plus interest, in an amount of $423,267,080 against the City of New York, who is not a party to this case.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

The Court has the inherent power to dismiss frivolous cases. Fitzgerald, 221 F.3d at 364. Because plaintiffs are pro se, their complaint must be read liberally and interpreted as raising the strongest arguments it suggests. SeeMcEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 (2d Cir. 2004); Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994). If a liberal reading of the complaint "gives any indication that a valid claim might be stated," this Court must grant leave to amend it. See Cuoco v. Moritsugu, 222 F.3d 99, 112 (2d Cir. 2000);Gomez v. USAA Fed. Sav. Bank, 171 F.3d 794, 795 (2d Cir. 1999).

B. Judicial Immunity

All of plaintiffs' claims against judicial officers acting in their judicial capacities must be dismissed, as judges are entitled to absolute immunity from suit. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991). Absolute judicial immunity extends to court clerks who are performing tasks "which are judicial in nature and an integral part of the judicial process." Rodriguez v. Weprin, 116 F.3d 62, 66 (2d Cir. 1997). Plaintiffs' allegations against the judicial defendants relate to judicial acts performed within their judicial capacities, including the Clerk's Office activities of filing and docketing legal documents and Judge McKenna's rulings on legal motions. These actions constitute an "integral part of the judicial process" and are therefore shielded from liability by absolute judicial immunity. "A complaint will be dismissed as 'frivolous' when 'it is clear that the defendants are immune from suit.'" Montero v. Travis, 171 F.3d 757, 760 (2d Cir. 1999) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989)).

In any event, all of plaintiffs' claims would be time-barred. The statute of limitations for civil rights actions arising in New York is three years. Ish Yerushalayim v. United States, 374 F.3d 89, 91 (2d Cir. 2004) (per curiam).*fn2 ...


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