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Bardes v. The U.S. Courts

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

August 8, 2017

DAVID A. BARDES, individually, as taxpayer, Plaintiff,



         THIS MATTER is before the Court for a sua sponte review of the Plaintiff's Complaint. Also pending before the Court are the Plaintiff's “Objections and Motion to Disqualify” [Doc. 7]; the Motions to Dismiss filed by the Defendants State of South Carolina, County of Charleston, and Correct Care Solutions, LLC [Docs. 10, 15]; the Plaintiff's “Objections and Response” [Doc. 18] to the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss; the United States' Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 21]; and the Plaintiff's “Objections and Motions in Opposition to Federal Government's Edict” [Doc. 23]. For the reasons stated below, this action will be dismissed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff brings this action against the United States Courts, the United States of America, the State of South Carolina, the County of Charleston, Correct Care Solutions, LLC, and John and Jane Doe pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and § 1985, seeking damages for injuries he allegedly sustained as a result of “hypothermic torture” that he claims occurred while he was being held as a detainee in the Charleston County Detention Center in Charleston, South Carolina. [Doc. 1]. The Plaintiff, acknowledging that he has filed several lawsuits regarding this matter in the past, incorporates the allegations of his dismissed lawsuits into the present action and “claim[s] every legal argument ever made, or could ever be made, and all case law in the record, in [his] favor.” [Id. at 3].


         Because the Plaintiff has paid the $400 fee associated with the filing of this action, the statutory screening procedure authorized under the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), is not applicable. Nevertheless, the Court has inherent authority to dismiss a frivolous complaint sua sponte. See Ross v. Baron, 493 F. App'x 405, 406 (4th Cir. 2012) (noting that “frivolous complaints are subject to dismissal pursuant to the inherent authority of the court, even when the filing fee has been paid”) (citing Mallard v. United States Dist. Ct., 490 U.S. 296, 307-08 (1989)).

         A complaint is deemed frivolous “where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 75 (4th Cir. 1994) (“Legally frivolous claims are based on an ‘indisputedly meritless legal theory' and including ‘claims of infringement of a legal interest which clearly does not exist.'”) (citation omitted).


         A. Plaintiff's Action is Frivolous

         The Plaintiff has previously filed at least four separate federal civil actions based on the same allegations which form the basis of the Plaintiff's present suit. See Bardes v. Margera, No. 2:08-cv-00487-PMD (D.S.C.); Bardes v. South Carolina, No. 2:10-cv-00559-PMD (D.S.C.); Bardes v. South Carolina, No. 1:11-cv-00999-CCE-LPA (M.D. N.C. ); and Bardes v. Auld, No. 1:15-cv-000-214-MR-DLH (W.D. N.C. ). The Plaintiff's first action was dismissed on its merits, and the subsequent actions were dismissed under the principles of res judicata/collateral estoppel. For the same reasons and based on the same authority cited in those decisions, the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel also bar the Plaintiff from re-litigating those issues in this case. “The patency of these barriers to this action renders it legally frivolous.” Bardes v. South Carolina, No. 1:11-cv-00999-CCE-LPA, 2013 WL 3864405, at *2 (M.D. N.C. July 24, 2013).

         In light of the Plaintiff's decision to prosecute this matter himself without the assistance of an attorney, the Court will further explain the basis of this ruling. The Plaintiff originally filed his claim in the District of South Carolina. That claim was dismissed on the merits by the Federal Court in South Carolina. If that dismissal was in error, then the Plaintiff had one avenue to challenge it: namely, appealing to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Even if that original dismissal was grossly in error (which the Plaintiff obviously feels it was), that does not give the Plaintiff the option of re-filing that suit in another district or recasting the suit as a claim against the participants in an earlier suit.

         A final judgment is exactly that: final. Bringing this claim now for the fifth time does not make that first judgment any less final. This Court has the legal duty to abide by that first judgment, even if this Court were to believe that it was in error or represented a miscarriage of justice. The only option that the Plaintiff may possibly have is to have the South Carolina judgment set aside - but that can be done only by the court in the District of South Carolina. This Court, sitting in the Western District of North Carolina, cannot set aside a judgment of the District of South Carolina. This Court simply does not have jurisdiction to do so.

         For the reasons stated herein, the Court concludes that the Plaintiff's Complaint is frivolous and therefore subject to dismissal with prejudice.[1]

         B. Plaintiff's Request ...

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