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Mua v. State

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 4, 2017

JOSEPHAT MUA, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
STATE OF MARYLAND, et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen L. Hollander United States District Judge.

         This Memorandum resolves several motions filed by plaintiffs Josephat Mua and Francoise Vandenplas, husband and wife who are self-represented.

         On May 12, 2016, plaintiffs filed suit against the State of Maryland (“State”); California Casualty Indemnity Exchange (“CCIE”), an insurance company; and Marsden & Seledee, LLC (“Marsden & Seledee”), a law firm. See ECF 1, “Complaint.” According to plaintiffs, defendants have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.; the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq.; and Maryland law with respect to events that transpired following a vehicular accident that occurred in August 2011. ECF 1, ¶ 8.

         The case is related to several other suits litigated by plaintiffs in both Maryland and federal court. These include the following Maryland cases: Case No. 0602-0005340-2014, in the District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County; Case No. 24-C-16-02625, in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City; and Case No. 420645V, in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. And, these include the following federal cases in this Court: PJM-14-3810; PJM-15-0060; ELH-16-3247; and ELH-16-3267.

         In addition, plaintiffs have instituted many other cases. These include Mua v. The Maryland Office of the Attorney General et al., PJM-14-2070, and the following two cases in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals: Mua v. Bd. of Ed., Prince George's Co, et al., Appeal No. 0356 (Sept. Term 2014), and Mua v. AFSCME AFL-CIO et al., Appeal No. 2374 (Sept. Term 2013).

         As to the case sub judice, by Memorandum (ECF 41) and Order (ECF 42) of February 15, 2017, I granted the motion to dismiss filed by CCIE and Marsden & Seledee (ECF 10); I granted the State's motion to dismiss (ECF 17); and I granted defendants' joint motion to strike plaintiffs' notice of removal (ECF 28). In particular, I dismissed several claims against CCIE and Marsden & Seledee, with prejudice, on the basis of res judicata, because the claims had already been litigated in Maryland State court (Case No. 0602-0005340-2014, the “State Case, ” in the District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County) and in this Court, i.e., Mua and Vandenplas v. California Casualty Indemnity Exchange and Marsden & Seledee, LLC, PJM-14-3810. See ECF 41 at 32. However, despite the frequent filings by plaintiffs of submissions raising claims that have already been litigated, I denied the defense motion for sanctions and for a pre-filing injunction to bar further suits by plaintiffs, absent prior approval by the court (ECF 25).

         Thereafter, on March 1, 2017, plaintiffs submitted a motion for reconsideration, “based new [sic] evidence” (ECF 43, “Motion for Reconsideration”), supported by 35 exhibits, filed separately in paper format. On the same date, plaintiffs also filed a motion for “stay of the opinion and judgment order…pending appeal and administrative proceedings in the county and state…” (ECF 44, “Motion to Stay”). The Motion to Stay essentially mirrors the Motion for Reconsideration. And, like the Motion for Reconsideration, the Motion to Stay is supported by 35 exhibits, filed separately in paper format.

         On March 14, 2017, CCIE submitted a response in opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration and to the Motion to Stay (ECF 45, “Opposition”), supported by one exhibit. ECF 45-1. Plaintiffs have replied (ECF 52), supported by numerous exhibits. ECF 52-2 to ECF 52-27.

         Then, on March 15, 2017, plaintiffs noted an appeal to the Fourth Circuit (ECF 46) with respect to my Memorandum and Order of February 15, 2017 (ECF 41; ECF 42). According to correspondence from the Fourth Circuit (ECF 48), the appeal will be deemed filed after my disposition of the Motion for Reconsideration (ECF 43).

         On March 16, 2017, plaintiffs filed a motion for writ of mandamus (ECF 49). Of significance here, they asked this Court to enter an Order commanding the Clerk of this Court to docket all exhibits that plaintiffs have filed, including those submitted with the Motion for Reconsideration and the Motion to Stay. ECF 49. Plaintiffs also asked the Clerk to docket all exhibits to its responses to the motions to dismiss, ECF 10 and ECF 17. See ECF 31, supported by 37 exhibits filed separately in paper format; ECF 32, supported by 40 exhibits filed separately in paper format.

         By Order of March 20, 2017 (ECF 50), I denied the writ of mandamus because all exhibits filed by plaintiffs had already been docketed. I said, id. at 2:

Plaintiffs seem to misapprehend the docketing system of this Court. Plaintiffs believe that exhibits filed separately in paper format are “not public record” and are “not docketed.” ECF 49 at 3. This is incorrect. The Clerk has discretion to file in paper format any documents that are “[e]xcessively large” and “exceed…30 megabytes.” See Electronic Case Filing Policies and Procedures Manual for the District of Maryland (December 2016), available at http://www.mdd.uscourts.gov/sites/mdd /files/CMECFProcedures Manual.pdf). Although documents filed in paper format are not available electronically, they are still docketed. Moreover, documents filed in paper format are available to the public. And, the public is informed about the existence of these documents by way of a “placeholder” entry on the docket.

         Four days later, on March 24, 2017, plaintiffs submitted a “Motion to Recuse, ” asking me to recuse myself on the grounds of conflict of interest, bias, and prejudice. ECF 51, “Motion to Recuse.” The Motion to Recuse was filed pursuant to “Maryland Rule 16-813, Maryland Rule 3-505, CJCR 2.11, the Canons of Judicial Conduct, and state and federal constitutional guarantees to due process of law, equal protection of the law, and a fair hearing and trial.” Id. at 1. It is supported by Mua's “Affidavit of Bias And Prejudice” (ECF 51-1) and several exhibits. See ECF 51-3 to ECF 51-8.

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the various motions. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall deny the Motion to Recuse, the Motion for Reconsideration, and the Motion to Stay.

         I. Discussion[1]

         A. Motion to Recuse

         In the Motion to Recuse (ECF 51), plaintiffs complain that I am “well connected to the [Maryland] Court of Special Appeals for Maryland were [sic] significant violations occurred.” Id. at 6. Further, they claim that I am biased because I “used to work in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals from 1994, and continued in that position through 2010 under the supervision of Honorable Chief Judge Peter B. Krauser.” ECF 51 at 6-7. Plaintiffs contend: “There were many violations in the court [sic] of Special Appeals for Maryland including fraudulent conduct to cover up public corruption in Prince George's County.” Id. at 8. As an example, plaintiffs assert that on December 8, 2016, Judge Peter Krauser issued an unfavorable ruling against Mr. Mua in “COSA -0356-Mua, Josephat M Bd. of Ed., Prince George's Co, ” in which “Honorable Chief Judge misled that, Petitioner had not showed how he was prejudiced contrary to the content of the brief.” Id. at 8. In addition, plaintiffs claim, id.: “Other cases in which misleading rulings were issued are the following (COSA 2374 Mua, Josephat M.- AFSCME AFL-CIO; COSA 00356 SEPTEMBER TERM 2014).”

         Plaintiffs also state, id. at 9:

Honorable Judge Sherrie L. Krauser [i.e., the spouse of Judge Peter Krauser], presided over a case in Prince George's County where significant misconduct involving Attorneys hired by Petitioner Mr. Mua led by Mr. Mitchell Batt, Ardra O'Neal, Bryan Chapman and others engaged in an organized scheme to derail justice in state and Federal court with ties to other states. (See Prince George's ...

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