United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Southern Division
Shomari E. Norman, Plaintiff,
Evonne S. Hopkins, et al., Defendants.
ORDER & MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION
T. Numbers, II United States Magistrate Judge.
Shomari E. Norman, proceeding pro se, brings this
action to challenge the outcome of a child support
determination made in June 2012 in Wake County District
Court. Norman's filings are not a model of clarity. The
court liberally construes Norman's complaint to allege
that the child support determination resulted from
“bias and prejudice” against him by the
defendants: Evonne S. Hopkins, Raleigh Law Center, Marc
Anthony, North Carolina Child Support Agency (NC CSA), and
Judge Lori Christian. D.E. 1. Plaintiff also alleges that
defendants slandered his credit and character, improperly
terminated his parental rights, gave false statements and
testimony, committed a conspiracy to interfere with his civil
rights, committed various constitutional violations,
committed coercion, breached their oaths, violated tort law,
and intentionally inflicted emotional distress. D.E. 1, 6, 7.
has submitted several motions that are before this court for
consideration: the court reads three of them as motions to
amend his complaint (D.E. 8, 11, 22), two are motions to
change venue (D.E. 9, 20), and one is a motion for the court
to audit records (D.E. 10). Judge Christian has moved to
dismiss the complaint against her (D.E. 13). Norman later
filed a motion (D.E. 21) which the court reads as a response
to Judge Christian's motion to dismiss.
reviewing the parties' arguments, the court grants
Norman's Motions to Amend (D.E. 8, 11, 22), denies
Norman's Motions to Change Venue (D.E. 9, 20), and denies
Norman's Motion to Audit Records (D.E. 10). And the
undersigned magistrate judge recommends that the Court grant
Judge Christian's Motion to Dismiss (D.E. 13).
to documents filed with the court, Norman's complaint
arose from a child support case in the District Court for
Wake County. Judge Christian presided over the matter, which
began in June 2012. Defendant Evonne S. Hopkins, an attorney,
and her law office, Defendant Raleigh Law Center represented
the mother of Norman's child in her action against
Norman. Defendant Marc Anthony represented Defendant NC CSA.
In April 2013, Judge Christian found against Norman.
filed his complaint in this action in July 2018. D.E. 1. He
filed three motions to amend his complaint over the next two
months. DE. 8, 11, 22.
Motions to Amend
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), a “party may
amend its pleading once as a matter of course before being
served with a responsive pleading.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(1)(A). By its terms, the rule leaves no place for the
exercise of discretion by a district court, and so the Court
has no discretion to reject an amended pleading filed before
a party serves its responsive pleading. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 15(a). For purposes of this Rule, an answer is a
responsive pleading, and a motion to dismiss is not a
responsive pleading. Dominion Healthcare Servs., Inc. v.
Value Options, Inc., 2009 WL 580326, at *2 (M.D. N.C.
Mar. 5, 2009); see Smith v. Blackledge, 451 F.2d
1201, 1203 n.2 (4th Cir. 1971).
secondary and tertiary motions to amend a pleading, “a
party may amend its pleading only with the opposing
party's written consent or the court's leave.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The Fourth Circuit has held that a
court should deny “leave to amend a pleading . . . only
when the amendment would be prejudicial to the opposing
party, there has been bad faith on the part of the moving
party, or the amendment would have been futile.”
Laber v. Harvey, 438 F.3d 404, 426 (4th Cir. 2006)
Norman filed his first Motion to Amend before any responsive
pleading, the Court grants it (D.E. 8). Norman's second
and third Motions to Amend are largely duplicative of his
original complaint, but are not prejudicial to the opposing
parties, in bad faith, or necessarily futile. Thus, the Court
grants Norman's second and third motions to amend (D.E.
Motion to Audit Records
has filed a motion entitled “MOTION FOR AUDIT OF
RECORDS.” D.E. 10. Besides reciting federal statutes
and regulations raised in his Motions to Amend, Norman
appears to allege that Defendant NC CSA improperly ...