United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
Ilya Liviz, Sr., I.L., Jr.
Chief Judge Jeffrey R. Howard, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit et al.
Liviz Sr., Esq.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Barbadoro United States District Judge.
plaintiff Ilya Liviz, Sr., a licensed attorney in
Massachusetts, filed an in forma pauperis complaint on behalf
of himself and his minor son against five First Circuit
judges and two District of Massachusetts
judges. His main claim is that the judges denied
him access to the courts through adjudicative rulings in
several cases that Liviz filed in federal court in connection
with state custody proceedings. I dismiss the case pursuant
to the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e),
because the complaint is legally and factually frivolous.
case arises from a child custody proceeding in the
Massachusetts Juvenile Court involving Liviz and his minor
son, I.L., Jr. In August 2016, the Massachusetts Department
of Children and Families (“DCF”) removed the
child from his parents' custody. That same month, the
Juvenile Court awarded temporary custody to the DCF and
limited Liviz's contact with his son to supervised
visits. Because judges act as factfinders in custody
proceedings, the Juvenile Court also denied Liviz's
motion for a jury trial. The Juvenile Court held a bench
trial in 2018 and awarded permanent custody of Liviz's
son to the DCF.
interim, Liviz embarked on a long, litigious journey to
regain his parental rights. He first challenged the Juvenile
Court's denial of his motion for a jury trial by filing
an interlocutory appeal with a single justice of the
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) in
March 2017. After the single justice denied that petition,
Liviz filed a certiorari petition in the Supreme Court of the
United States, which was likewise denied. He also appealed
the single justice's denial of his motion to file a late
notice of appeal to the full SJC. In November 2017, that
court affirmed the denial and noted that even if a late
appeal had been authorized, Liviz “would have fared no
better.” See Care and Protection of a Minor,
478 Mass. 1015, 1015 (2017). The court explained that Liviz
failed to “articulate any clear arguments regarding a
violation of a substantive right, or the absence of an
adequate alternative remedy.” Id. at 1015-16.
Liviz sought to challenge the SJC's decision in the
Supreme Court, but his certiorari petition was not docketed
because he failed to follow filing procedures.
Liviz filed a complaint in the District of Massachusetts
against the SJC and its justices in late November 2017,
asserting a litany of constitutional claims. Judge Denise
Casper dismissed the case on Younger abstention grounds in
light of the pendency of Liviz's custody proceedings in
the Juvenile Court. See Liviz v. SCJ, No.
17-cv-12345, 2018 WL 1697125, at *2 (D. Mass. April 6, 2018).
The First Circuit, in a panel consisting of Chief Judge
Howard and Circuit Judges Kayatta and Barron, affirmed the
dismissal. See Liviz v. SJC, No. 18-1340, 2018 WL
4998135, at *1 (1st Cir. Oct. 2, 2018). Liviz tried to appeal
the First Circuit's decision to the Supreme Court, but
this time his lack of admission to the Supreme Court bar
stymied the effort.
meantime, in August 2018, Liviz filed another federal
lawsuit, on behalf of five unnamed parents who sued
representatives of “all three branches of government of
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” in connection with
their custody proceedings. See L. et al. v. Baker et
al., No. 18-cv-11674 (D. Mass.) (“Parents'
Class Action”). His 199-page complaint alleged that
state-wide child welfare system deficiencies violated the
parents' rights under federal and state law and sought
sweeping injunctive relief. The case was assigned to Judge
Sorokin. Liviz moved for an “expedited order for DCF to
show cause why writ of habe[a]s corpus for child/ren should
not issue.” See Doc. No. 4 at 71. After Judge
Sorokin denied the motion, Liviz petitioned the First Circuit
for a writ of mandamus. The First Circuit denied the petition
in September 2018, in a panel decision by Chief Judge Howard
and Circuit Judges Kayatta and Barron.
the district court, Judge Sorokin repeatedly ordered Liviz to
identify the plaintiffs in the Parents' Class Action by
name and address, but Liviz refused. On January 25, 2019,
Judge Sorokin dismissed the complaint with prejudice on four
grounds: (1) failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8; (2) lack of subject-matter jurisdiction because
at least four of the five named plaintiffs did not authorize
Liviz to serve as their attorney; (3) failure to comply with
court orders; and (4) violation of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 11. The next day, Liviz filed a notice of appeal to
the First Circuit. That appeal is pending.
the same time, Liviz filed an appeal to the First Circuit in
another District of Massachusetts case, Amadi v.
McManus, No. 16-cv-11901. The plaintiff in Amadi was a
licensed Massachusetts attorney who sued state officials
arising from the custody proceedings of his four minor
children. He alleged that the defendants conspired to violate
his constitutional rights, prevented him from seeing his
children, and obstructed his access to the courts. Liviz
sought to intervene in the Amadi case. He claims that this
case was “‘made up' by a governmental
investigation” and designed to “mirror” the
facts of his custody proceedings in order to create precedent
to dismiss his cases. See Compl. ¶¶
92-100. Judge Gorton denied Liviz's motion to intervene
and dismissed the case on Younger abstention
grounds.See Amadi v. McManus, No.
16-11901, 2018 WL 5555062, at *1 (D. Mass. Oct. 26, 2018).
Liviz has filed a notice of appeal to the First Circuit from
the denial of his motion to intervene, and Amadi has filed an
appeal from the order dismissing the case. Both appeals are
instant complaint, Liviz has sued the federal judges who
issued rulings in Amadi and the Parents' Class Action. He
seeks unspecified injunctive relief and a declaration that
the defendants breached their duty of judicial integrity,
denied him access to the courts, and violated his
allegations in the complaint are not cogent, and to the
extent they are conclusory, I do not recount them here. The
facts alleged relate the procedural history of the lawsuits
summarized above. A generous reading of the complaint
suggests that Liviz is challenging the merits of the
decisions that the defendants reached in those cases.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
forma pauperis statute permits indigent litigants to commence
a federal action without paying filing fees. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a). The law protects against abuses of
this privilege by requiring courts to dismiss a complaint if
it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim, or
seeks damages against an immune defendant. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Section 1915 dismissals
“are often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of
process, so as to spare ...