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Wojdacz v. Blackburn

United States District Court, D. Colorado

August 25, 2014

ELIZABETH WOJDACZ, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT E. BLACKBURN, MICHAEL E. HEGARTY, ERIC LAMPHERE, KIM DELINE, MICHAEL WATTS, RUTHERFORD, MULLEN & MOORE, LINDSEY TOPPER, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT, JOEL KERN, W. LAMBERT, CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS, SCOTT WHITTINGTON, MEDINA GENERAL HOSPITAL, AKROM CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER OF AKRON, and ASHALND COUNTY DEPT. OF HUMAN SERVICES, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS, ADOPTING RECOMMENDATION, AND DISMISSING ACTION

MARCIA S. KRIEGER, Chief District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court pursuant to Ms. Wojdacz's pro se Objections (#157) to the Magistrate Judge's August 5, 2014 Recommendation (#147) that various parties' Motions to Dismiss (#31, 32, 54, 56, 65, 90, 97) be granted and that Ms. Wojdacz's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (#139) be denied. Also pending are several Motions for Summary Judgment (#148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154) filed by Ms. Wojdacz.

FACTS

Ms. Wojdacz's pro se Amended Complaint (#22) is somewhat disjointed and difficult to follow. The first portion generally relates an incident in 1995 in which Ms. Wojdacz, then residing in Ohio, was had certain difficulties with the staff at hospitals in Medina and Akron, Ohio. Generally speaking, Ms. Wojdacz alleges that hospital staff detained her and her son Christopher, forced her to sign certain documents, and ultimately conspired with Christopher to deprive Ms. Wodjacz of custody over Christopher. Ms. Wojdacz sought to regain custody over Christopher through the court system, but was apparently unsuccessful. Christopher ultimately died in his college dorm room in 1997. Officials investigating the matter deemed it a suicide. Ms. Wojdacz claims to have evidence supporting her contention that Christopher was actually murdered.

The next portion of her Amended Complaint takes place in 2000 in Colorado Springs, where Ms. Wojdacz had moved with another son, Sean. She alleges that Sean cooperated with police and state officials in order to terminate Ms. Wojdacz's custody over him. She contends that she was not appointed counsel to assist her in addressing the issue of custody over Sean.

Ms. Wojdacz states that in 2002, she provided Colorado Springs Police Sergeant Clayton various information about Christopher's murder and a "RICO violation, " but Sergeant Clayton never took action on it. She also alleges that Colorado Springs police failed to take action on certain complaints she raised concerning criminal activity by her common-law husband.

The Amended Complaint then speeds to the recent past, reciting Ms. Wojdacz's involvement in a civil action in this Court, Wojdacz v. Norman, et al., D.C. Colo. Civ. Case No. 12-cv-1483-REB-MEH. She complains about various matters and rulings occurring in that case, such as defense counsel serving pleadings on her at an incorrect address, thus depriving her of the ability to attend the Scheduling Conference; Magistrate Judge Hegarty halting depositions noticed by Ms. Wojdacz and "coach[ing]" the deponents how to answer; and Judge Blackburn failing to take action to cure litigation abuses by Michael Watts, Kim DeLine, and Eric Lamphere (and their law firm, Rutherford, Mullen & Moore), counsel representing defendants in the action.[1]

The Amended Complaint then turns to April 2013, when Ms. Wojdacz allegedly provided "evidence of tax fraud, perjury, and other criminal acts" by Mr. Norman and another individual to the Colorado Springs Police Department. She alleges that the police "tampered" with the evidence; that Defendant Lambert, a detective with the Colorado Springs Police Department, "refused to investigate the matter"; and that Joel Kern, a Sergeant with the police department, "threatened to arrest her if she continued to try to meet with [the] police chief concerning the misconduct of the officers." Ultimately, she met with Scott Whittington, a Lieutenant with the police department, who agreed to receive Ms. Wojdacz's complaint about the other police officers, but Mr. Whittington never contacted her again. She alleges that the Colorado Springs Police Department "have established a practice and pattern where Plaintiff is refused any and all remedy through them respecting the filing of criminal charges where she is a victim of criminal acts." She offers a conclusory assertion that the police department refused to file criminal charges against Mr. Norman if, in exchange, he would assist them "in having Plaintiff committed to mental health evaluations and possible commitment" to cover up their involvement "in the child snatching of her son, Sean."

The remainder of the Amended Complaint appears to be Ms. Wojdacz's identification of her claims. She alleges that the various Defendant hospitals and the Colorado Springs Police Department (and the individual officers named here) have engaged in a host of criminal acts and deprivations of her Constitutional rights, and that that Judges Blackburn and Hegarty and the attorneys involved in the Wojdacz v. Norman case engaged in "RICO acts" and conspired to violate her Constitutional rights.

Each of the Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss the claims against them, alleging a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), a lack of personal jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(2), and the failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). See Docket #31 (Defendants Blackburn and Hegarty); #32 (Defendants City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Police Dept., Kern, Lambert, Lamhere, and Whittington); #54 (Defendant Ashland County Dept. of Human Services); #56 (Defendants DeLine, Watts, and Rutherford Mullen & Moore); #65 (Defendant Akron Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron); #90 (Defendant Topper); #97 (Medina General Hospital). Separately, Ms. Wojdacz filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction (#139), seeking to have Judge Blackburn enjoined from continuing to preside over the Wojdacz v. Norman case. The Court referred all of these motions to the Magistrate Judge for recommendation.

On August 5, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued the instant Recommendation (#147), finding that: (i) the claims against Judges Blackburn and Hegarty were barred by the doctrine of absolute judicial immunity; (ii) the Amended Complaint failed to adequately allege a RICO claim against any Defendant, insofar as Ms. Wojdacz failed to sufficiently allege either a RICO enterprise or any acts of racketerring activity; (iii) none of the criminal statutes cited by Ms. Wojdacz offer her a private civil right of action; (iv) Ms. Wojdacz's claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) fail to state a claim because she does not allege any racial or class-based discriminatory animus; (v) the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over any of the Ohio entities; (vi) claims against Colorado Springs or its police department are barred by the statute of limitations (to the extent they derive from the allegations involving Sean) and Ms. Wojdacz's failure to allege the existence of a municipal custom or policy sufficient to create Monell liability; (vii) that the attorney Defendants are not entitled to absolute immunity arising out of "litigation privilege, " but that the claims against them fail to state any cognizable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and (viii) the claims against individual police officers failed to state any cognizable claim. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge recommended that all claims against all Defendants be dismissed (and Ms. Wojdacz's request for injunctive relief be denied).

Ms.Wojdacz filed timely Objections (#157) to the Recommendation, arguing that: (i) Defendants Blackburn and Hegarty were not entitled to judicial immunity because they "abuse[d] their authority and acted outside their jurisdiction" and "engaged in fraud upon the court... to protect the party defendants in that underlying case, " and that "attorneys and judges who conspire during litigation do not enjoy immunity"; (ii) Ms.Wojdacz concedes that her motion seeking injunctive relief against Judge Blackburn should be denied as moot; (iii) as to the claims against the "City Defendants" - presumably, the City of Colorado Springs and the Colorado Springs Police Department - these Defendants "did engage in efforts to have Plaintiff removed from administering the estate of her murdered son and thereafter assisted [the] Ohio Mafia group in efforts to conceal that murder, " they "attempt[ed] to remove Plaintiff from full administration of Christopher's estate, " and that no statute of limitations applies to "ongoing predicate acts"; (iv) as to the lack of personal jurisdiction over the Ashland County Department of Human Services, Ms. Wojdacz alleges that "personal jurisdiction may be made in this case pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1965(b) as Plaintiff did allege nationwide conspiracy; (v) as to the attorney defendants, these defendants engaged in the RICO acts of "witness tampering" and "join[ing] forces with the Court and other Defendants... to violate this plaintiff's constitutional rights"; (vi) as to personal jurisdiction over the Defendant hospitals, she refers to the same arguments with regard to the Ashland County Dept. of Human Services, and that these Defendants allegedly conspired with Colorado Springs Defendants to obstruct her efforts to investigate Christopher's murder; and (viii) as to Defendant Topper, she incorporates the same arguments she makes regarding the other attorney Defendants.

Simultaneously with filing her Objections, Ms. Wojdacz filed Motions for Summary Judgment (#148-154) against the various Defendants, supporting those motions with a lengthy ...


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