United States District Court, D. Maryland
JOSEPHAT MUA, et al. Plaintiffs,
STATE OF MARYLAND, et al. Defendants.
L. Hollander United States District Judge.
Memorandum resolves several motions filed by plaintiffs
Josephat Mua and Francoise Vandenplas, husband and wife who
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.
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
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).
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
/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.
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.
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.
Motion to Recuse
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).”
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