United States District Court, D. Delaware
In re THOMAS E. NOBLE, Movant.
CHIEF JUDGE LEONARD STARK, et al., Defendants. THOMAS E. NOBLE, Plaintiff,
Thomas E. Noble, a pro se litigant incarcerated at
FDC Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has engaged
in filing numerous lawsuits that contain frivolous legal
arguments that are vexatious and abuse the judicial
process. On September 13, 2004, then United States
District Judge Kent A. Jordan entered an order enjoining
Movant from filing any pro se civil rights
complaints without prior approval of the Court. See Noble
v. Becker, Civ. No. 03-906-KAJ, D.I. 12. In Noble v.
Becker, Civ. No. 03-906-KAJ, Movant was given notice to
show cause why injunctive relief should not issue. See
Gagliardi v. McWilliams, 834 F.2d 81, 83 (3d Cir. 1987).
He responded to the show cause order, but "did not show
cause" why the order should not be entered. (See Civ.
No. 03-906-KAJ, D.I. 7 & D.I. 12 at 4). The barring order
issued, and Movant did not appeal. In 2016, Movant filed
various civil rights claims, which the District Court
dismissed pursuant to the filing injunction. Movant sought
mandamus relief. On October 6, 2016, the Third Circuit held
that Movant was not entitled to mandamus relief vacating the
district court's filing injunction, and he was not
entitled to a writ of mandamus for review of the district
court's enforcement of the filing injunction. In re
Noble, 663 Fed.Appx. at 190.
requests leave, "under protest, " to file a
complaint attacking the barring order as unconstitutional.
(D.I. 1). Chief Judge Leonard Stark is named specifically as
a defendant and is referred to in the body of the proposed
complaint. (D.I. 1 at Ex. B). The caption of the proposed
complaint also names as Defendants, "All Other Judges of
the District of Delaware and All Judges of the Third Circuit
and the Other District Courts in its Jurisdiction."
Movant does not explain why he should be given leave to
commence a new action. The proposed complaint alleges civil
rights violations. It alleges a conspiracy to rob Movant of
his constitutional rights. It refers to actions taken by
federal district and appellate judges, Delaware judges, and
Chief Judge Stark. The proposed complaint alleges that judges
have "serially obstructed justice for well over three
decades" and his constitutional rights have been
violated by Delaware and Pennsylvania officials. As in other
filings, the proposed complaint takes exception to the
barring order entered in 2004, claiming it was never served
upon him, and it has no legitimate force. The proposed
complaint alleges the order was "a falsified document,
filed clandestinely" and the "judge outright lied
about [his] many meritorious claims falsely labeling them
frivolous." (D.I. 1 at Ex. B at p.4).
is evident that Movant seeks leave to file a new complaint
because he believes the 2004 barring order is
unconstitutional and he is unhappy with rulings from various
federal and state judges in Delaware and Pennsylvania. The
proposed complaint seeks declaratory relief vacating the
"unserved unconstitutional order dated 2004." (D.I.
2 at Ex. B. at p.4.) As previously discussed by the United
States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Movant could
have challenged the 2004 barring order through the normal
appeal process. In re Noble, 663 Fed.Appx. at 190.
He did not.
proposed complaint states, "judicial immunity does not
bar declaratory relief." (D.I. 1 at Ex. B at p.4). The
doctrine of absolute judicial immunity does not bar claims
against judges for declaratory relief. See Larsen v.
Senate of Commonwealth of Pa., 152 F.3d 240, 249 (3d
Cir. 1998). The declaratory relief sought in the proposed
complaint, however, is not "declaratory relief in the
true legal sense." Corliss v. O'Brien, 200
Fed.Appx. 80, 84 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing 28 U.S.C. §
2201; Fed.R.Civ.P. 57). A declaratory judgment "is meant
to define the legal rights and obligations of the named
parties in anticipation of future conduct."
O'Callaghan v. Honorable X, 661 Fed.Appx. 179,
182 (3d Cir. 2016) (citing Utah Animal Rights Coal. v.
Salt Lake City Corp., 371 F.3d 1248, 1266 (10th Cir.
2004)). The proposed complaint seeks a declaration that the
2004 barring order is unconstitutional. Asking a court to
proclaim that one's rights were violated is not a proper
basis for declaratory relief. See Corliss, 200
Fed.Appx. at 84 (finding declaratory relief to be
inappropriate where a plaintiff asked "the District
Court [to] 'declare' that his constitutional rights
were violated"); accord O'Callaghan, 661
Fed.Appx. at 182 ("O'Callaghan's complaint
sought a declaration that Honorable X had previously violated
his rights. That is not a proper use of a declaratory
judgment. . . ."). In reviewing the allegations, it is
clear that the proposed complaint does not state a cognizable
Because the claim for declaratory relief is not cognizable,
the Court will deny the motion for approval to file a
complaint. See, e.g., Gochin v. Thomas Jefferson
Univ., 2017 WL 2152177, *8 (E.D. Pa. May 17, 2017), app.
pending, No. 17-2260. The proposed complaint raises claims
that are legally frivolous and permitting a curative
amendment would be futile.
in accordance with Judge Jordan's September 13, 2004
order that enjoins Movant from filing new civil rights cases,
Movant's motion for leave to file a complaint (D.I. 1)
will be denied and all other motions will be dismissed as
moot (D.I. 2, 3). See Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501
U.S. 32, 43 (1991) (the court has inherent authority "to
manage [its] own affairs so as to achieve the orderly and
expeditious disposition of cases."). A separate order
The United States Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit has described Movant as a serial litigator,
filing over five dozen lawsuits in federal district courts,
including over thirty complaints in this District Court.
In re Noble,663 ...