United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN CHIEF JUDGE.
April 20, 2015, Plaintiff Glenn Hopkins filed a
three-hundred-sixty-two page complaint alleging that four
federal judges violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act by way of their treatment of his many
federal court cases over the past eighteen years. That
complaint was dismissed without prejudice on Rule 8
grounds-the complaint was so verbose and indecipherable as to
deprive any reasonable reader of notice-and Hopkins has since
filed an amended complaint. The amended complaint, which
measures fifty-eight pages, is similar to Hopkins' last:
it alleges that Judge Richard Henry Mills of the Central
District of Illinois engaged in “judicial
racketeering” and “public corruption” based
on the way that he ruled on Hopkins' federal lawsuits
over the years; that Chief Judge Diane Wood, Judge Diane
Sykes, and Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner engaged in the same
type of misconduct in disposing of Hopkins' appeal of one
of Judge Mills' rulings to the Seventh Circuit, and that
Chief Judge Wood also acted improperly when she resolved
Hopkins' misconduct complaints against Judge Mills and
other judges. Hopkins has named the judges in their
individual capacity and has also sued the United States on
the theory that it is responsible for the judges' conduct
under the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Bivens
doctrine. With his complaint, Hopkins moved to proceed in
forma pauperis-to proceed with his case by paying the
Court's filing in installments rather than all at once.
The propriety of Hopkins' pauper motion is now before the
Court for review.
points need to be resolved before in forma pauperis
status can be granted: the plaintiff must show that he is
indigent by submitting an affidavit “that includes a
statement of all assets [he] possesses [showing] that [he] is
unable to pay such fees or give security therefor, ”
and the plaintiff's suit can't be bunk-it can't
be “frivolous or malicious, ” fail to state a
claim on which relief can be granted, or seek monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from that relief.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) & (e)(2).
Hopkins seems to clear the first hurdle but he trips over the
second, as his amended complaint isn't viable for at
least three reasons, if not many more.
Hopkins suit is primarily based on the Racketeer Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations Act, and he purports to bring his
individual claims against the four judges not in his own
capacity but as a relator on behalf of the United States. The
rub is that the federal racketeering act doesn't allow
for qui tam actions, only individual suits, meaning
that the relator-style racketeering claims aren't viable.
See United States ex rel. Kalish v. Desnick, No. 91
C 2288, 1992 WL 32185, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 18, 1992).
even if the Court construed the racketeering and public
corruption claims to be properly raised by Hopkins himself,
all of those claims are caught in the teeth of judicial
immunity. Absolute judicial immunity protects judges from
damages suits if the actions complained of were taken in the
judges' judicial capacity and those actions were within
the jurisdictional authority of the court. E.g.,
Mireless v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991);
Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 225-26 (1988).
Both of these prerequisites are satisfied here. The actions
Hopkins complains of were taken when the judges were acting
in a judicial role: the vast majority of the allegations
concern the judges' dispositive rulings, which clearly
fall within that category, Stump v. Sparkman, 435
U.S. 349, 356 (1978), and the rest concern Chief Judge
Wood's role in resolving misconduct complaints, which
also comes within the judicial function. See Overton v.
Torruella, 183 F.Supp.2d 295, 300 (D. Mass. 2001). Once
more, the actions Hopkins complains of were ones that were
within the authority of the court-Judge Mills had
jurisdiction to issue his rulings in the AutoZone, White,
Illinois, and Springfield Housing Authority cases pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1367; Chief Judge
Wood, Judge Rovner, and Judge Sykes had the authority to
issue a ruling in the Springfield Housing Authority appeal
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291; and Chief Judge Wood had
the authority to review Hopkins' misconduct filings
against all of his various judges pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 351 and 352. Throughout his complaint, Hopkins says
that the judges' rulings were outside of their
jurisdiction because those rulings were erroneous,
obstructive, incomplete, in excess of their authority, and so
on, but all of that is beside the point-“a judge will
not be deprived of immunity because the action he took was in
error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of his
authority.” See Dellenbach v. Letsinger, 889
F.2d 755, 759 (7th Cir. 1989).
presuming this entire suit wasn't foreclosed by judicial
immunity, Hopkins' suit must still be dismissed because
his complaint is utterly fantastic. Courts are duty bound to
screen pro se pauper complaints to make sure the
complaint isn't so irrational or delusional as to be a
waste of time for all involved, Dix v. Unknown TSA Agent
No. 1, 588 F. App'x 499 (7th Cir. 2015), and the
allegations in Hopkins' complaint cross that line. One
only needs to read four to five pages into Hopkins'
complaint to get to the gist of his lawsuit-he thinks that
Judge Mills, Judge Rovner, Judge Sykes, and Chief Judge Wood
all joined into some racketeering enterprise with other
judges on the Seventh Circuit to engage in what he calls
“intentional case fixing, ” all with the goal of
depriving Hopkins of success in his many suits. That notion
is ridiculous, and it becomes doubly so given Hopkins'
allegation that Chief Judge Wood furthered this alleged
racketeering conduct by improperly denying Hopkins'
misconduct complaints. It's true that a complaint
doesn't cross the delusional or fanciful line merely by
putting forth allegations that are exotic or strange,
Felton v. City of Chicago, 827 F.3d 632, 635 (7th
Cir. 2016), but wherever that line sits and wherever it might
blur, Hopkins' allegations go far past it. Courts
routinely find that complaints alleging a broad-reaching
conspiracy among a number of judges against a single litigant
are irrational or wholly incredible. See,
e.g., Futterknecht v. Thurber, No.
2:14-7395, 2015 WL 4603010, at *9 (D.N.J. July 30, 2015);
Holland v. Lake County Mun. Government, No.
2:13-cv-179, 2013 WL 5230242, at *3 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 16,
2013); Chandler v. Branchaud, No. 1:11-cv-22, 2011
WL 4068004, at *4 (D. Vt. 2011); Stone v. Baum, 409
F.Supp.2d 1164, 1176 (D. Ariz. 2005). Hopkins suit, as
irrational and delusional as it is, can't go forward.
up, because Hopkins' suit is either barred by judicial
immunity or is utterly fantastic and fanciful, his motion to
proceed as a pauper (Doc. 4) is DENIED, and his amended
complaint is DISMISSED with prejudice pursuant to 29 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e). His motion for service of process (Doc. 5) is
DENIED as MOOT. The CLERK is DIRECTED to enter judgment
consistent with this order and then close this case.
 Hopkins is also suing the United
States on the theory that it is responsible for the
judges' conduct under the Bivens doctrine or
under the Federal Tort Claims Act, but those claims, too,
must fall. Hopkins is suing the United States for monetary
damages alone, so his Bivens claim against it
isn't viable, as the United States hasn't waived its
sovereign immunity for Bivens damages claims.
E.g., Al-Dahir v. F.B.I., 454 F. App'x
238, 242 (5th Cir. 2011); Huberty v. U.S. Ambassador to
Costa Rica, 316 F. App'x 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2008);
Consejo de Desarrolo Economico de Mexicali, A.C. v.
United States, 482 F.3d 1157, 1173 (9th Cir. 2007). Now,
the United States has waived its sovereign immunity for
claims concerning its officers' negligence under the
Federal Tort Claims Act, but if a suit against the United
States' officers in their ...