United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING FILING RESTRICTION AND SCREENING
William T. Lawrence, Judge
David Pannell is a restricted filer in all courts within the
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Specifically, on April 11, 2017, the Seventh Circuit issued
the following filing restriction in Pannell v. Neal,
Nos. 17-1536 & 17-1573:
Pannell is fined $500. Until he pays that sum in full to the
clerk of this court, he is barred from filing further civil
suits in the courts of this circuit, in accordance with
Support Systems International v. Mack, 45 F.3d 185
(7th Cir. 1995). Any papers he submits attacking his current
criminal judgment, including future collateral attacks, shall
be returned unfiled and any applications for leave to file
collateral attacks will be deemed denied on the 30th day
unless the court orders otherwise.
Pannell filed this action on October 20, 2017, in Indiana
state court against Chief Judge Magnus-Stinson, the District
Judge from this Court who ruled on Mr. Pannell's 28
U.S.C. § 2254 habeas action in Case No.
1:12-cv-01301-JMS-DML; Kelly Miklos, the attorney from the
Indiana Attorney General's Office who represented the
respondent in Mr. Panell's § 2254; and Gregory
Zoeller, the former Indiana Attorney General. The action was
removed to federal court, specifically, the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. It was
then transferred to this Court.
Court concluded that this action falls within the Seventh
Circuit filing restriction and therefore ordered Mr. Pannell
to demonstrate that the fine imposed in Nos. 17-1536 &
17-1573 has been paid or that the filing restriction is
otherwise inapplicable. Mr. Pannell has responded. He does
not demonstrate or even assert that he has paid the fine
imposed by the Seventh Circuit, thus the filing restriction
remains in effect.
Pannell, however, correctly points that because this case was
removed by the defendants, he is permitted to file certain
papers because he is in a “purely defensive
mode.” Matter of Skupniewitz, 73 F.3d 702, 705
(7th Cir. 1996). When this is the case, as it is here, due
process requires that be able to “file a response to
any motion made by the defendant which could result in a
final judgment.” Id. at 706. But he cannot
file other papers in this action, including
“complaints, petitions, or motions.” Id.
Such papers must be returned to Mr. Pannell unfiled.
that the Court has set forth how the Seventh Circuit's
filing restriction impacts this case, the Court must now
screen Mr. Pannell's complaint.
plaintiff is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Indiana
State Prison. Because the plaintiff is a
“prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(h), this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b) to screen his complaint. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b), the Court must dismiss the complaint if it
is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief,
or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief. In determining whether the complaint states
a claim, the Court applies the same standard as when
addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463
F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive dismissal,
[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Pro se
complaints such as that filed by the plaintiff are construed
liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch,
517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).
noted above, Mr. Pannell bring this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens against Chief Judge
Magnus-Stinson, the District Judge from this Court who ruled
on Mr. Pannell's 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas action in
Case No. 1:12-cv-01301-JMS-DML; Kelly Miklos, the attorney
from the Indiana Attorney General's Office who
represented the respondent in Mr. Panell's § 2254;
and Gregory Zoeller, the former Indiana Attorney General. He
alleges that Ms. Miklos and Mr. Zoeller conspired with Chief
Judge Stinson in violation of his constitutional rights in
order to deny him relief in his § 2254.
defendants are all entitled to immunity. First, the
plaintiff's claims against Chief Judge Magnus-Stinson
must be dismissed because she is entitled to
absolute immunity. Judges are entitled to absolute immunity
when, as here, the challenged actions are “judicial in
nature.” Brunson v. Murray, 843 F.3d 698, 710
(7th Cir. 2016); see Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11
(1991) (“Judicial immunity is an immunity from suit,
not just from ultimate assessment of ...