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Jones v. Hill

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

March 31, 2015

JUANITA L. JONES, a/k/a JUANITA L. OWENS Plaintiff,
v.
J. CALVIN HILL, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION

DAVID C. KEESLER, Magistrate Judge.

THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT regarding Defendants' motions to dismiss (Document Nos. 17, 26, 30, 32, 37, 49, and 51). These motions have been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b), and immediate review is appropriate. Having carefully considered the motions, the record, and applicable authority, the undersigned will respectfully recommend that the motions to dismiss be granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Juanita L. Jones ("Plaintiff" or "Jones"), appearing pro se, initiated the current action ("Jones II") with the filing of a "Complaint" (Document No. 1) on December 8, 2014. Plaintiff later filed an "Amended Complaint" (Document No. 15) on December 29, 2014. The Amended Complaint asserts that jurisdiction here is proper pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 et seq . and 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242. (Document No. 15, p.2). The Amended Complaint alleges that the eighteen (18) named Defendants, including several judges, the State of North Carolina, and the City of Asheville, are liable for depriving Plaintiff of real property without due process, and further suggests that Defendants entered into a conspiracy to deprive Plaintiff of her rights. (Document No. 15).

The Amended Complaint acknowledges that Plaintiff has filed another lawsuit with the same facts that are involved in this action. (Document No. 15, p.19) (citing Juanita L. Jones a/k/a Juanita L. Owens v. J. Calvin Hill, et al., 1:13cv328-MR-DSC ("Jones I"). In Jones I, this Court noted that the lawsuit sprang from a boundary line dispute that was litigated in Buncombe County District Court, Charles E. Barnard and Annie M. Barnard v. Juanita L. Jones a/k/a Juanita L. Owens, Buncombe County File No. 12 CVD 2491. Jones, 2014 WL 4854748, at *1.

In the underlying state court action, Barnard v. Jones, Judge Samuel A. Cathey, after conducting a trial on all issues, found that Jones had erected a fence encroaching upon the real property of her neighbors, Charles and Annie Barnard (the "Barnards"). Id . Judge Cathey dismissed Jones' counterclaim for adverse possession and permanently enjoined her from coming onto the Barnard's property or "directly or indirectly harassing, contacting, bothering, cussing, name calling or interfering with [them]." Id . Judge Cathey also awarded the Barnards $482 in damages plus costs. Id.

Jones I appears to have involved essentially the same claims and issues, and most of the same defendants, as the instant action, Jones II. The undersigned observes that the Honorable Martin Reidinger adopted a Memorandum And Recommendation ("M&R") by the Honorable David S. Cayer on September 30, 2014, dismissing Jones I. See Jones, 1:13cv328-MR-DSC, 2014 WL 4854748 (W.D. N.C. Sept. 30, 2014). Specifically, this Court held that: (1) the Rooker-Feldman doctrine barred Plaintiff from attacking state court judgments in federal court; and (2) that Plaintiff did not have a private right of action under federal criminal statutes 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242. Jones, 2014 WL 4854748, at *3. The undersigned notes that Plaintiff Jones did not object to the M&R in Jones I, nor did she appeal Judge Reidinger's final decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Defendants in the instant action now all seek dismissal of the "Amended Complaint" (Document No. 15). See (Document Nos. 17, 26, 30, 32, 37, 49, and 51). The pending motions primarily seek dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), although additional grounds for dismissal are asserted by some Defendants. Id . Plaintiff's "Memorandum Law In Opposition To Dismiss All Defendants" (Document No. 43) was filed on January 26, 2015. Despite the Court's "Order" (Document No. 54) sua sponte allowing Plaintiff additional time to file a response to the most recent motions to dismiss (Document Nos. 49 and 51), Plaintiff has failed to file a timely response to those motions.

The pending motions are now ripe for review and a recommended disposition to the Honorable Max O. Cogburn, Jr.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The plaintiff has the burden of proving that subject matter jurisdiction exists. See Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991). The existence of subject matter jurisdiction is a threshold issue the court must address before considering the merits of the case. Jones v. Am. Postal Workers Union, 192 F.3d 417, 422 (4th Cir. 1999). When a defendant challenges subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), "the district court is to regard the pleadings as mere evidence on the issue, and may consider evidence outside the pleadings without converting the proceeding to one for summary judgment." Richmond, 945 F.2d at 768. The district court should grant the Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss "only if the material jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and the moving party is entitled to prevail as a matter of law." Id . See also, Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir. 1999).

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) tests the "legal sufficiency of the complaint" but "does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992); Eastern Shore Markets, Inc. v. J.D. Assoc. Ltd. Partnership, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). A complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss will survive if it contains "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 697 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also, Robinson v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., 551 F.3d 218, 222 (4th Cir. 2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.

The Supreme Court has also opined that

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" In addition, when ruling on a defendant's motion to ...

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