United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
for consideration the report of the United States Magistrate
Judge in this action, this matter having been heretofore
referred to the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636. On March 19, 2018, the report of the Magistrate Judge
(Dkt. #140) was entered containing proposed findings of fact
and recommendations that Defendant Dr. David Lackey and
Respondent Office of the Attorney General for the State of
Texas's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. #63) be granted and that
Plaintiff Scott Fields's § 1983 malicious
prosecution, conspiracy, false arrest, and false imprisonment
claims against Dr. Lackey and Officer Colbert in their
individual capacities be dismissed. Having received the
report of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. #140), having considered
Plaintiff Scott Fields's objections (Dkts. #144, #146),
and having conducted a de novo review, the Court is of the
opinion that the Magistrate Judge's report (Dkt. #140)
should be adopted as set forth below.
underlying facts of this case have been set forth previously;
as such, the Court sets forth only those facts pertinent to
Fields's objections. On August 12, 2014, Defendant Dr.
David Lackey, the then-commissioner for the Texas Department
of State Health Services (“DSHS”), and Defendant
FNU Colbert, a DSHS officer, reported to the Sherman, Texas
Police Department that Plaintiff Scott Fields left a phone
message for Dr. Lackey, wherein Fields allegedly threatened
to physically assault or murder Dr. Lackey. Fields claims the
accusations made by Dr. Lackey and Officer Colbert were false
because the phone message itself did not contain any
statements that could be construed as threats of violence,
physical assault or murder (Dkt. #14 at p. 3). After being
detained for 215 days, the charges against Fields were
dismissed (Dkt. #14 at pp. 4, 33).
filed this civil rights action on August 12, 2016 (Dkt. #1).
At present, only Fields's claims against Defendants Dr.
Lackey and Officer Colbert in their individual capacities
remain in this case. On December 7, 2017, the undersigned
ordered Fields to file a Rule 7(a) reply addressing such
claims and Dr. Lackey and Officer Colbert's qualified
immunity defenses to Fields's claims. On January 8, 2018,
Fields filed a Notice of Interlocutory Appeal and a Motion to
Proceed In Forma Pauperis on Appeal (Dkts. #128,
#130). On February 1, 2018, the Court denied Fields's
Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis on Appeal, and
again ordered Fields to file a Rule 7(a) reply (Dkt. #131).
On March 8, 2018, Fields filed “Plaintiff's Rule 15
Amended Response to District Judge's February 1, 2018
Orders, ” which the Magistrate Judge construed as a
Rule 7(a) reply (Dkt. #137). On March 19, 2018, the
Magistrate Judge entered a Report and Recommendation,
recommending that the Court grant Defendant Lackey's
Motion to Dismiss and dismiss the entirety of Fields's
claims against both Dr. Lackey and Officer Colbert in their
individual capacities (Dkt. #140). On April 9, 2018, Fields
filed his fifth Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
on Appeal (Dkt. #143), which the Court addresses herein.
Fields also filed objection to the Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation; on April 18, 2018, Fields filed
“Plaintiff's Written Objections to March 19, 2018
Report and Recommendation by Magistrate Judge” (Dkt.
#144). Then, on May 9, 2018, Fields filed
“Plaintiff's Rule 15 Amended Objections to March
19, 2018 Report and Recommendation by Magistrate Judge”
TO REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
has filed two sets of objections to the Magistrate
Judge's report (Dkts. #144, #146). A party who files
timely written objections to a magistrate judge's report
and recommendation is entitled to a de novo review of those
findings or recommendations to which the party specifically
objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P.
has generally objected to the Magistrate Judge's
recommendation that the Court dismiss his claims against Dr.
Lackey and Officer Colbert in their individual capacities.
Specifically, the Court discerns Fields objects that: (1) the
undersigned and the Magistrate Judge have each been
disqualified from presiding over this matter; (2) the
Magistrate Judge failed to broadly construe Fields's
pro se pleadings; (3) the Magistrate Judge failed to
adequately address Fields's conspiracy claims; (4) the
Magistrate Judge failed to adequately address his malicious
prosecution claims; (5) Fields has overcome Dr. Lackey and
Officer Colbert's assertion of qualified immunity because
their accusations were entirely “bogus”; and (6)
any action by the Court is impermissible because there is a
stay pending appeal currently in place.
some of Fields's objections to the instant Report and
Recommendation are identical to and/or substantially similar
to objections Fields previously raised and which have been
disposed of by this Court in connection with earlier reports,
i.e., disqualification of the undersigned, liberal
construction of Fields's pro se pleadings
(see Dkts. #97, #98, #109, #111, #112, #113). The
Court has already substantively considered and found such
objections without merit (Dkts. #117, #124). Notwithstanding,
the Court herein again sets forth or otherwise incorporates
its analysis of each of Fields's stated objections.
argues that “at all times relevant through course of
[this case], Judge Mazzant and Judge Nowak alike are and have
been inherently disqualified from presid[ing] over both
causes by terms of 28 U.S.C. [§] 455” (Dkt. #146
at p. 3). As support, Fields avers that both “Judges
Mazzant and Nowak are and have been longtime residential and
political fixtures amid the Grayson County, Texas and
Sherman, Texas landscapes, ” and “enjoy personal
relationships, or histories of personal time or
fraternization, with some or most of the defendants who have
been dismissed from this lawsuit” (Dkts. #144 at pp.
3-4; #146 at p. 3). The Court has addressed this same
spurious allegation on no less than six occasions.
again fails to identify any legal authority or factual
support for his proposition that the undersigned or the
Magistrate Judge should be disqualified from presiding over
this case. Fields's unfounded allegations, that both
“Judges Mazzant and Nowak are and have been longtime
residential and political fixtures” in Grayson County,
Texas, and “enjoy personal relationships. . . with some
or most of the defendants who have been dismissed from this
lawsuit, ” even if true, without more, are insufficient
for recusal. Parrish v. Board of Comm'rs of Ala.
State Bar, 524 F.2d 98 (5th Cir. 1975) (en banc) (fact
that judge had acquaintanceship or friendship with some
defendants, witnesses, and defense counsel did not require
recusal), cert. denied, 425 U.S. 944
(1976). Accordingly, this objection is once more overruled.
Pro Se Status
also again asserts that “this district court is or has
been inherently mandated to review all of Plaintiff's
pleadings with a liberal construction; with a special
solitude; and in a manner that construes and recognizes any
and all alleged facts that can be inferred from his
pleadings” (Dkts. #144 at p. 5; #146 at p. 5) (internal
citations omitted). As examples of the Court's alleged
failure to accommodate Fields's status as a pro
se litigant, he alleges that “terms of this cause
have transpired to be bulky. . . and expressly motions, that
this document should not be subject to any perceived page
limitations, ” and “Plaintiff alleges that this
district court's demand for or construe of
‘specific pleadings' cannot detract from rules of
law regarding [pro se] litigation” (Dkts. #144
at p. 5, #146 at p. 5). Fields also specifically argues that
the Court's direction, in ordering a Rule 7(a) reply, to
address Dr. Lackey and Officer Colbert's assertions of
qualified immunity with specific, concrete facts violates the
Court's responsibility to liberally construe pro
is correct that “parties who proceed pro se
are often given more leeway than represented parties in
correcting errors in pleadings, ” and that “a
court must liberally construe a pro se complaint,
taking all well-pleaded allegations as true.”
Simmons v. Methodist Hosps. of Dallas, 106 F.Supp.3d
799, 803 (N.D. Tex.), aff'd, 632 Fed.Appx. 784
(5th Cir. 2015). However, “pro se litigants
are [still] expected to comply with the rules of
pleading.” Id. (citing Birl v.
Estelle, 660 F.2d 592, 593 (5th Cir. 1981) (per
curiam)). And, “a pro se plaintiff's
complaint ‘must set forth facts giving rise to a claim
on which relief may be granted.'” Id.
(quoting Johnson v. Atkins, 999 F.2d 99, 100 (5th
Cir. 1993) (per curiam)). In the instant case, the Court
ordered Fields to file a Rule 7(a) reply. In ordering a Rule
7(a) reply, the Court sought factual information related to
Fields's claims against Dr. Lackey and Officer Colbert in
their individual capacities. The Court ordered a Rule 7(a)
reply because Fields's pleadings contained “only
sparse details of claimed wrongdoing by [the instant]
officials.” Hatcher v. City of Grand Prairie,
No. 3:14-CV-432-M, 2014 WL 3893907, at *8-9 (N.D. Tex. Aug.
6, 2014); Reyes v. Sazan, 168 F.3d 158, 161 (5th
Cir. 1999) (“Faced with sparse details of claimed
wrongdoing by officials, trial courts ought routinely require
plaintiffs to file a reply under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 7(a) to qualified immunity defenses.”).
status as a pro se litigant did not excuse him from
complying with the Court's order or the pleading
requirements imposed on overcoming the assertion of a
qualified immunity defense. See Vafaiyan v. City of
Wichita Falls, Tex., 398 Fed.Appx. 989, 990 (5th Cir.
2010). Moreover, upon independent review of the record, the
Court finds that each of Fields's pleadings were afforded
a liberal construction. Accordingly, Fields's objection