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Parker v. Claus

United States District Court, D. Delaware

June 10, 2019

STEPHANIE PARKER and next friend dependent minor children, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM H. CLAUS IV, etal., Defendants.

          Stephanie Parker, Bridgeville, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Stephanie Parker appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 4). She filed this action alleging felony theft of real property in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1985(3) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 2). Parker asserts jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. The Court proceeds to screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         BACKGROUND

         Parker has a child whose father is George K. Trammell, III. As discussed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in its June 13, 2012 opinion," "Trammell is a frequent pro se litigator; most of his suits are nearly indecipherable and concern state court actions regarding his father's estate." Trammell v. Trammell, 485 Fed.Appx. 524, 525 (3d Cir. 2012); In re Trammell, 468 Fed.Appx. 111 (3d Cir. 2012); Trammell v. Trammell, 446 Fed.Appx. 530, 531 (3d Cir. 2011); Trammell v. Lilies Love & Care Daycare Ctr, 448 Fed.Appx. 188 (3d Cir. 2011); see also Trammell v. All Other Collateral Heirs of Estate of Marie Jones Polk, 446 Fed.Appx. 437 (3d Cir. 2011). The instant lawsuit filed by Parker follows Trammell's lead.

         Parker alleges that the real property of Trammell's deceased aunt, Marie Jones Polk, is the subject of an "attempted felony theft." (D.I. 2 at 2). The property is located at 22612 Eskridge Road in Seaford, Delaware. (Id.). Parker alleges that Trammell, "my baby's dad . . . was completely wrongfully unlawfully disenfranchised of the real property." (Id. at 4). As alleged, the property was purchased by Defendant William H. Claus, IV and/or Bonnie Sue Low, and Claus was involved in an illegal conspiracy to wrongfully exploit the involuntarily disadvantaged for unconscionable personal gain. (Id. at 3). In the caption of the Complaint Parker names as defendants numerous State court judges, State and County administrators, and the current governor of the State of Delaware, but the body of the Complaint is void of any allegations directed towards them. (Id. at 1).

         The Court takes judicial notice that in Department of Finance of Sussex County v. Clifford E. Polk Heirs, Civ. No. 17-1448-RGA, Trammell attempted to remove the case from the Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for Sussex County, and sought a writ of prohibition to prevent a sheriffs sale of real property located in Seaford, Delaware.[1] (See Civ. No. 17-1448-RGA at D.I. 6 and D.I. 7 at A 15, both referring to - Del. Super. C.A. No. S17T-07-004). In Claus v. Trammell, Civ. No. 18-1125-RGA, Trammell and Parker attempted to remove a case, filed as a complaint for ejectment, from the Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for Sussex County, which is the same property that is the subject matter of the instant complaint.[2] (See Civ. No. 18-1125-RGA at D.I. 3, referring to Del. Super. C.A. No. S18C-06-021).[3] Both cases were remanded to State Court.

         In the first case, Civ. No. 17-1448-RGA, Trammell states that he was intentionally and deliberately disenfranchised. In the second case, Civ. No. 18-1125-RGA, Trammell and Parker stated that, in an attempt to cover up Trammell's "incontrovertible equitabl[e] interest" in the real property at issue, Claus has finally put Trammell's name in the caption. Also, in their opposition to remand, and similar to this case, Trammell and Parker invoked 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and asserted constitutional violations of felony theft of real property.

         Parker alleges that her minor children are "second level collateral heirs" to the real property at issue. (D.I. 2 at 4). She alleges that Claus is a "documented felony conspirator" who wrongfully and purportedly purchased the real property of the estate of Marie Jones Polk when the property was not for sale "by way of any legal means." (Id. at 4-5). Parker names the Sussex County, Delaware Department of Finance as a "nominal defendant" as "tortfeasor/fraudfeasor of the indignant racist, disdaining, transparent overreaching hoodwinker." (Id. at 7). She seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         RECUSAL

         The last page of the Complaint seeks my recusal. (D.I. 2 at 8). Parker states that I cannot be assigned this case because I entered the remand order in Civ. No. 18-1125-RGA and it is currently on direct appeal in No. 18-3800. (Id.). Parker contends the order was "illegal" and that I am part of the problem. (Id.).

         A judge is required to recuse himself "in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). The test for recusal under § 455(a) is whether a "reasonable person, with knowledge of all the facts, would conclude that the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned," In re Kensington Int'l Ltd., 368 F.3d 289, 301 (3d Cir. 2004), not "whether a judge actually harbors bias against a party," United States v. Kennedy, 682 F.3d 244, 258 (3d Cir. 2012). Under § 455(b)(1), a judge is required to recuse himself "[w]here he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party."

         Under either subsection, the bias necessary to require recusal generally "must stem from a source outside of the official proceedings." Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 554 (1994); Selkridge v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 360 F.3d 155, 167 (3d Cir. 2004). Hence, "judicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion." Liteky, 510 U.S. at 555.

         It is evident that Parker takes exception to my prior rulings and this serves as her basis to seek recusal. A reasonable, well-informed observer could not believe that the ruling was based on impartiality, bias, or actual prejudice by me. Nor do my rulings demonstrate the Court acting in such a manner when ruling in the cases wherein Parker is a party. After careful and deliberate consideration, the undersigned concludes that the Court has no actual bias or prejudice towards Parker and that a reasonable, well-informed observer would not question the Court's impartiality. In ...


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