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Liviz v. Gants

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

April 8, 2019




         For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, denies the emergency motion and dismisses this action under the Younger doctrine and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).


         Plaintiff is an attorney seeking to challenge a state court order of administrative suspension from the practice of law. Now before the Court are Plaintiff's complaint, amended complaint, motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and emergency motion for temporary stay of administrative suspension. See Docket Nos. 1-3, 6.

         Plaintiff brings this action against the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. See Amended Complaint (“Am. Compl.”), Docket No. 6. Plaintiff alleges that the defendant judge deprived plaintiff of “a property right without complying with [Liviz'] request for a jury trial in violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983 Civil Rights Act by depriving Ilya Liviz (“Liviz”) pursuant to First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight[h], Ninth, & Fourteenth Amendments, Due Process right to access to a court of law.” Id. at ¶ 2. Plaintiff alleges that “Bar Counsel filed her Petition for Administrative Suspension” on April 1, 2019. Id. at ¶ 7. The same day, Liviz filed three motions; several seeking to challenge the Petition. Id. at ¶ 10. The following day, on April 2, 2019, Chief Justice Gants issued an “Order of Immediate Administrative Suspension.” Id. at ¶ 13.

         Plaintiff contends that Chief Justice Gants should have recused himself due to a conflict of interest, id. at p. 20, and that “Bar Counsel has harassed [Liviz] before, and was harassing [Liviz] again.” Id. at ¶ 22. Liviz states that the sole allegation submitted by Bar Counsel in support of the petition for administrative suspension is that Liviz failed “to comply with Bar Counsel requests.” Id. at ¶ 21. Liviz asserts that he has a right to trial and a “right to remain silent.” Id. Liviz states that he “did not violate any laws” and that his “rights are being blatantly violated.” Id. at ¶ 24. Liviz seeks to have this Court issue “a temporary ex parte TRO stay of the administrative suspension” so that he can continue to practice law. Id. at ¶ 23.


         Upon review of Liviz' motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court concludes that he is without income or assets to pay the $400.00 filing and administrative fees. The motion therefore is granted.


         The federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is designed to ensure meaningful access to the federal courts for those persons unable to pay the costs of bringing an action. When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis, however, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines, ” among other things, that the action is “frivolous or malicious” or “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted” or “seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). “Dismissals [under § 1915] are often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of answering such complaints.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).

         When examining the sufficiency of the pleadings, the court considers whether the plaintiff has pled “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).


         As an initial matter, the federal Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2283, prohibits a federal court from granting an injunction to stay proceedings in a state court except in very limited circumstances, none of which apply here.

         Next, the Court finds that Liviz' challenge to the Massachusetts state court order is precluded under the Younger abstention doctrine. The Younger doctrine is a court-made rule of abstention built around the principle that, with limited exceptions, federal courts should refrain from issuing injunctions that interfere with ongoing state-court litigation, or, in some cases, with state administrative proceedings. See generally Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-45 (1971). A federal court must abstain from reaching the merits of a case over which it has jurisdiction if it “would interfere (1) with an ongoing state judicial proceeding; (2) that implicates an important state interest; and (3) that provides an adequate opportunity for the federal plaintiff to advance his federal constitutional challenge.” Rossi v. Gemma, 489 F.3d 26, 34-35 (1st Cir. 2007). Younger abstention ...

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