Buchheit v. Green, Nos. 12–3154

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtKELLY
Citation705 F.3d 1157
PartiesCharles B. BUCHHEIT, Plaintiff–Appellant/Cross–Appellee, v. Carol G. GREEN, Clerk of the Appellate Courts State of Kansas, Defendant–Appellee/Cross–Appellant. Daniel Mitchell, Shawnee County Court Judge, Defendant–Appellee.
Docket Number12–3158.,Nos. 12–3154
Decision Date27 November 2012

705 F.3d 1157

Charles B. BUCHHEIT, Plaintiff–Appellant/Cross–Appellee,
v.
Carol G. GREEN, Clerk of the Appellate Courts State of Kansas, Defendant–Appellee/Cross–Appellant.

Daniel Mitchell, Shawnee County Court Judge, Defendant–Appellee.

Nos. 12–3154, 12–3158.

United States Court of Appeals,
Tenth Circuit.

Nov. 27, 2012.


[705 F.3d 1158]


Submitted on the briefs: *

Charles B. Buchheit, Pro Se.


Stephen Phillips, Assistant Attorney General, Topeka, KS, for Defendant–Appellee/Cross Appellant.

Before KELLY, TYMKOVICH, and GORSUCH, Circuit Judges.

KELLY, Circuit Judge.

Charles Buchheit, proceeding pro se, appeals from the district court's sua sponte dismissal of his complaint against defendant state officials pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Buchheit v. Green, No. 12–4038–CM–KGS, 2012 WL 1673917 (D.Kan. May 14, 2012). Carol Green, the defendant clerk of the Kansas state appellate courts, cross-appeals the district court's denial of her motion to review the magistrate judge's order granting Mr. Buchheit in forma pauperis (“IFP”) status. Our jurisdiction arises under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.

Background

Mr. Buchheit filed his “Petition for Injunctive Relief Under the Fourteenth Amendment, As Well As, the Equal Access

[705 F.3d 1159]

to Justice Act” naming as defendants Ms. Green and Shawnee County Court Judge Daniel Mitchell. He alleged that the Kansas state appellate courts had denied his request to proceed IFP and had refused to docket his state appeals. See R. 8–9, 11–12, 80–81. A magistrate judge granted Mr. Buchheit's motion to proceed IFP in federal court. Id. at 97. Ms. Green objected on the grounds that the magistrate judge failed to screen the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). R. 42; seeFed.R.Civ.P. 72(a). The district court overruled the objection but dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that Mr. Buchheit sought retrospective relief against the state that is barred by sovereign immunity. Buchheit, 2012 WL 1673917, at *1, 4.

Discussion

The issues involved in the appeal and cross-appeal are entirely questions of law and our review is de novo.

A. Whether Mr. Buchheit's Suit is Barred by Sovereign Immunity

If the claims against Ms. Green and Judge Mitchell in their official capacities are claims against the State of Kansas, then sovereign immunity applies. See Moore v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs, 507 F.3d 1257, 1258 (10th Cir.2007). The Eleventh Amendment bars suits for damages and other forms of relief against state defendants acting in their official capacities. Fed. Maritime Comm'n v. S.C. State Ports Auth., 535 U.S. 743, 765, 122 S.Ct. 1864, 152 L.Ed.2d 962 (2002). There is an exception to state sovereign immunity, however, for suits seeking prospective injunctive relief. Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 159–60, 28 S.Ct. 441, 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908); Chamber of Commerce v. Edmondson, 594 F.3d 742, 760 (10th Cir.2010).

Mr. Buchheit maintains that he is seeking prospective injunctive relief. Aplt. Br. 4, 6. We disagree. Determining whether a request for injunctive relief is prospective requires a “straightforward inquiry into whether [the] complaint alleges an ongoing violation of federal law and seeks relief properly characterized as prospective.” Verizon Md., Inc. v. Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 535 U.S. 635, 645, 122 S.Ct. 1753, 152 L.Ed.2d 871 (2002) (quotation omitted). Although Mr. Buchheit's complaint states that he is seeking prospective injunctive relief, he wants an order allowing him to proceed IFP and docket his appeal in state court. R. 12. Because he is merely seeking to address alleged past harms rather than prevent prospective violations of federal law, we can only reasonably categorize such relief as retrospective. As such, it does not fall into the Ex Parte Young exception to state sovereign immunity, and we must affirm the dismissal of his complaint.

B. Whether the District Court Must Screen Non–Prisoner Complaints Before Granting IFP

In her cross-appeal, Ms. Green argues that the magistrate judge was required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen Mr. Buchheit's complaint before granting IFP and authorizing service. Aplee. Br. 12. She argues that the purpose of § 1915(e)(2) is to discourage the filing of baseless law suits that paying litigants would not file (due to the cost of bringing suit) and that represented clients would not file because of the potential for Rule 11 sanctions. Id. at 12–13 (citing Trujillo v. Williams, 465 F.3d 1210, 1216 (10th Cir.2006)).

The dismissal of Mr. Buchheit's claim may normally render such a cross-appeal moot. See Bannister v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 692 F.3d 1117, 1120 (10th Cir.2012) (dismissing defendant's cross-appeal as moot where it affirmed

[705 F.3d 1160]

the district court ruling in defendant's favor); Miller ex rel. S.M. v. Bd...

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118 practice notes
  • Vigil v. Doe, No. CIV 19-0164 JB\JFR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 31, 2019
    ...fails to state a claim and the court must thereby dismiss the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). See Buchheit v. Green, 705 F.3d 1157, 1160-61 (10th Cir. 2012) ("There is simply nothing in the language of the statute [regarding IFP proceedings, 28 U.S.C. § 1915,] indicating ......
  • Columbian Fin. Corp. v. Stork, Case No. 14-2168-SAC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • November 18, 2014
    ...asPage 16retrospective. As such, it does not fall into the Ex Parte Young exception to state sovereign immunity. See Buchheit v. Green, 705 F.3d 1157, 1159 (10th Cir. 2012). 2. OSBC Plaintiffs also contend that OSBC is not a state entity or an arm of the state so is not entitled to immunity......
  • Carter v. U.S. Dep't of Def., No. CIV 16-0786 JB/SMV
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • February 28, 2017
    ...even if the complaint fails to state a claim and the Court must dismiss it pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). See Buchheit v. Green, 705 F.3d 1157, 1160-61 (10th Cir. 2012)("There is simply nothing in the language of the statute [regarding proceedings in forma pauperis, 28 U.S.C. § 19......
  • Johnson v. Spencer, No. 17-8089
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • February 13, 2020
    ...frivolous or malicious." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) (1993). In 1996, "[s]ubsection (d) was changed to (e)," Buchheit v. Green , 705 F.3d 1157, 1160 (10th Cir. 2012), which now provides that the court "shall " dismiss the action at any time if it determines that it "is......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
118 cases
  • Vigil v. Doe, No. CIV 19-0164 JB\JFR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 31, 2019
    ...fails to state a claim and the court must thereby dismiss the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). See Buchheit v. Green, 705 F.3d 1157, 1160-61 (10th Cir. 2012) ("There is simply nothing in the language of the statute [regarding IFP proceedings, 28 U.S.C. § 1915,] indicating ......
  • Columbian Fin. Corp. v. Stork, Case No. 14-2168-SAC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • November 18, 2014
    ...asPage 16retrospective. As such, it does not fall into the Ex Parte Young exception to state sovereign immunity. See Buchheit v. Green, 705 F.3d 1157, 1159 (10th Cir. 2012). 2. OSBC Plaintiffs also contend that OSBC is not a state entity or an arm of the state so is not entitled to immunity......
  • Carter v. U.S. Dep't of Def., No. CIV 16-0786 JB/SMV
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • February 28, 2017
    ...even if the complaint fails to state a claim and the Court must dismiss it pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). See Buchheit v. Green, 705 F.3d 1157, 1160-61 (10th Cir. 2012)("There is simply nothing in the language of the statute [regarding proceedings in forma pauperis, 28 U.S.C. § 19......
  • Johnson v. Spencer, No. 17-8089
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • February 13, 2020
    ...frivolous or malicious." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) (1993). In 1996, "[s]ubsection (d) was changed to (e)," Buchheit v. Green , 705 F.3d 1157, 1160 (10th Cir. 2012), which now provides that the court "shall " dismiss the action at any time if it determines that it "is......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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