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Jones v. Sueaquan

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

September 15, 2014



G. R. SMITH, Magistrate Judge.

Inmate-plaintiff Robert Lee Jones brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 case against three police detectives who, he claims, wrongfully seized his personal property.[1] Doc. 1 at 5. He reveals that he sued them in state court and filed things like a motion for entry of default and for contempt but that court "failed to act upon the [those] motions." Id. This Court has located the online docket for that case, see attached print-out, and it appears that there has been no action taken in that case since Jones filed a "Motion for Contempt Sanctions" on June 14, 2013. Jones wants this Court to, inter alia, direct the defendants to return his property and pay him damages. Doe. 1 at 6. In other words, he has become impatient with the state court and wants this Court to take over that case.

Had the state court docket shown that Jones' case went to a final judgment, his case here would be barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, which precludes a federal district court from serving as a court of appellate review from state court judgments. Linge v. State of Georgia Inc., 2014 WL 2854971 at * 1 (11th Cir. June 24, 2014).[2] But no final judgment is cited. So while "certain of the prerequisites to the application of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine are met here, the absence of a final state court judgment precludes the Court from invoking this doctrine." Selakowski v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp., 2014 WL 1207874 at *3 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 24, 2014;).

None of that matters because even assuming that Jones can properly move his case to this Court, his claims would fail outright. "[T]he negligent deprivation of property does not amount to a constitutional violation actionable under § 1983. Daniels v. Williams , 474 U.S. at 328, 333-34 (1986)." Smith v. St. Lawerence, 2013 WL 4077500 at * 1 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 12, 2013), adopted, 2013 WL 5874580 (S.D. Ga. Oct 31) 2013). And "an unauthorized intentional deprivation of property by a state employee does not constitute a violation of the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment if a meaningful post-deprivation remedy for the loss is available." Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533, (1984); Lauderdale v. Tucker, 2013 WL 3441025 at *4 (N.D.Fla. July 9, 2013). A meaningful post-deprivation remedy (conversion, etc.) exists, [3] as well as mandamus to compel a lower court to act should no express procedural remedy otherwise exist-nothing, by the way, stops Jones from moving the state court for a ruling on his motions; sometimes cases simply get administratively misplaced. Clark v. Hunstein, 291 Ga. 646 (2012); Bledsoe v. Banke, 258 Ga. 815, 815 (1989). Accordingly, this case must be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

Finally, plaintiff must pay his filing fee. His furnished account information shows that he has no funds in his prison account during the past six months. Doc. 5. He therefore owes no partial filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) (requiring an initial fee assessment "when funds exist, " under a specific 20 percent formula). His custodian (or designee) therefore shall remit to the Clerk of Court (payable to the "Clerk of Court") 20 percent of all future deposits to the account, then forward those funds to the Clerk each time the set aside amount reaches $10.00, until the balance of the Court's $350.00 filing fee has been paid in full.

Also, the Clerk is DIRECTED to send this Order to plaintiffs account custodian immediately, as this payment directive is nondispositive within the meaning of Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a), so no Rule 72(b) adoption is required. In the event plaintiff is transferred to another institution, his present custodian shall forward a copy of this Order and all financial information concerning payment of the filing fee and costs in this case to plaintiffs new custodian. The balance due from the plaintiff shall be collected by the custodian at his next institution in accordance with the terms of this Order.


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