United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. CLAYTON SCOFIELD, III, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court on civil contemnor Leonard Rowe's counseled "Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241" [Doc. No. 1]; the United States of America's "Statement of Interest" [Doc. No. 7]; Warden Ralph Cherry's "Response to the Court's Show Cause Order Regarding Petition for Habeas Corpus" [Doc. No. 8]; Mr. Rowe's counseled "Reply Brief in Opposition to Statements of Interest of Respondent and United States of America" [Doc. No. 9], and Mr. Rowe's pro se "Statement Concerning His Intent to Release Liens" [Doc. No. 10]. Mr. Rowe's Reply Brief and pro se Statement were filed on June 9, 2014. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that Mr. Rowe's § 2241 Petition be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
This case arises out of a civil lawsuit that Mr. Rowe and others initiated in 1998 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. See Rowe Entm't, Inc. v. The William Morris Agency, Inc., No. 1:98-CV-8272-RPP (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 19, 1998) (the "New York Case"). In 2005, the Honorable Robert P. Patterson granted summary judgment to the defendants in the New York Case, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed this decision later the same year. See Rowe Entm't, Inc. v. The William Morris Agency, Inc. , 167 F.Appx. 227 (2d Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 549 U.S. 887 (2006).
The New York Case lay dormant until 2012 when Mr. Rowe filed a pro se motion and other papers seeking relief from the judgment, claiming that certain defendants, their attorneys, and Mr. Rowe's own former attorneys had conspired to conceal and destroy evidence. See, e.g., New York Case [Doc. Nos. 755, 756, 757, 758 therein]. When Mr. Rowe sought to take discovery in connection with his motions, seeking to reopen the case, Judge Patterson issued an Order on June 12, 2012, stating as follows:
Since Plaintiff's motion under Rule 60(b) has not been granted, Plaintiff has no standing at this time to try to use court procedures to further his cause or for discovery purposes.... Plaintiff Leonard Rowe is being warned that during the pendency of this motion any further actions of this type will be considered sanctionable.
Id. [Doc. No. 778 therein at 1-2].
Nevertheless, in September 2012, Mr. Rowe filed a motion to compel production of documents, see id. [Doc. No. 842 therein], prompting Judge Patterson, in November 2012, to enter an Order directing Mr. Rowe to show cause why he should not be sanctioned, see id. [Doc. No. 846 therein]. In the same Order, Judge Patterson also denied as meritless Mr. Rowe's motion seeking relief from the judgment in the New York Case.
Rather than appeal, Mr. Rowe then filed a "Motion to Disqualify Judge Robert P. Patterson for His Personal Bias, Prejudice, and Corruption Against The Plaintiff Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 144, 455, " alleging that Judge Patterson "colluded with the Defendants and Plaintiff's former attorneys in a corrupt and sinister conspiracy." Id . [Doc. No. 856 therein at 1-2]. Judge Patterson denied this motion as well. See id. [Doc. No. 861 therein].
Mr. Rowe, however, persisted in seeking to overturn the judgment in the New York Case. He next threatened to file more than a billion dollars in commercial liens against the defendants and the attorneys in the New York Case, prompting Judge Patterson in November 2013 to enter orders directing Mr. Rowe to show cause why he should not be permanently enjoined pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65, The All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651, and the Court's inherent powers, from a list of clearly-specified activities (the "Prohibited Activities"), and temporarily restraining him from engaging in those Prohibited Activities. See id. [Doc. Nos. 865, 873 therein]. On December 5, 2013, Mr. Rowe moved to vacate the temporary restraining orders, see id. [Doc. No. 878 therein], but this motion was mooted when, at the conclusion of a hearing the next day in which Mr. Rowe declined to participate, Judge Patterson entered a Permanent Injunction, see id. [Doc. No. 883 therein].
Ignoring the Permanent Injunction, Mr. Rowe engaged in Prohibited Activities, and Judge Patterson issued two "Order[s] to Show Cause for Contempt of Court Against Leonard Rowe" on January 16, 2014. See id. [Doc. Nos. 886, 891 therein]. Mr. Rowe replied in writing that he believed that Judge Patterson lacked jurisdiction over him, that he would not appear at the contempt hearing, and that he intended to continue engaging in Prohibited Activities. See id. [Doc. Nos. 895, 902 therein]. Mr. Rowe also demanded that "[i]f further actions of mine are to be addressed in the future, please instruct all that they are to be done in the Northern District of Georgia Federal Court system." See id. at 2.
On February 13, 2014, Judge Patterson issued two more show cause orders directing Mr. Rowe to appear in person or by telephone to show why he should not be held in contempt for engaging in Prohibited Activities in violation of the Permanent Injunction. See id. [Doc. Nos. 921, 922 therein]. Mr. Rowe declined to appear in person or by phone. On February 19, 2014, and February 20, 2014, Judge Patterson found Mr. Rowe in contempt in an order and supplemental order. See id. [Doc. Nos. 929, 931 therein].
On February 28, 2014, Judge Patterson issued an Order (1) setting a hearing for March 7, 2014, to determine whether Mr. Rowe should be arrested and held in civil confinement, and (2) directing the parties to be prepared to address both personal and subject matter jurisdiction. See id. [Doc. No. 933 therein]. Once again, Mr. Rowe declined to participate in person or by phone, and, after the March 7 hearing, Judge Patterson entered an Order directing the United State Marshals Service to arrest and confine Mr. Rowe until he purged himself of his contempt by, among other things, releasing the commercial liens he had filed. ...