United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WILLIAM G. YOUNG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
reasons set forth below, the Court allows plaintiff's
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis,
denies plaintiff's emergency motion and dismisses the
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Liviz, proceeding on behalf of himself and his minor son,
commenced this action against a state court judge, the
Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
[“DCF”] and a guardian. See Docket No.
1. With his complaint, Liviz filed an emergency motion and a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
See Docket Nos. 2, 3.
ten-count complaint seeks to have this Court declare as void
a March 1, 2019 order terminating Liviz' parental rights
and “further dispensing with [Liviz'] right to any
post adoptive decisions and contact with his son.”
Complaint, ¶ 2. Among other things, Liviz contends that
DCF and the judge colluded with the guardian in order to
deprive “Dad and Son their right to familial
association.” Id. at ¶ 3. The summary of
facts consists primarily of a recounting of events
surrounding the 2016 placement of Liviz' minor son in the
custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and
Families as well as the most recent court order entered on
March 1, 2019. Id. at ¶¶ 19 - 39. For
relief, Liviz seeks an order enjoining the defendants from
“withholding Son's familial association with
Dad.” Id. at p. 11. He also seeks to have this
federal court “void” the March 1, 2019 Order
“because of the total denial of Son's or Dad's,
procedural due process rights.” Id. at p. 12.
Finally, seeks damages and a jury trial to “determine
the nature and extent of the deprivation of constitutional
and stator rights to Son, or Dad.” Id.
plaintiff seeks to file a complaint without prepayment of the
filing fee, summonses do not issue until the Court reviews
the complaint and determines that it satisfies the
substantive requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Section
1915 authorizes federal courts to dismiss a complaint sua
sponte if the claims therein lack an arguable basis in
law or in fact, fail to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seek monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). An action or claim is frivolous if “it
lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.”
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
a district court has inherent authority to dismiss a
frivolous or malicious complaint sua sponte.
Lopez v. Baker, No. 18-10183-LTS, 2012 WL 2170325,
at *l (D. Mass. May 10, 2018) (citing Mallard v. United
States District Court, 490 U.S. 296, 307-08(1989);
Fitzgerald v. First East Seventh Street Tenants
Corp., 221 F.3d 362, 363-64 (2d Cir. 2000)).
initial matter, Liviz' motion to proceed in forma
pauperis is allowed.
the status of the state court actions are not entirely clear
from the complaint, Liviz is clearly dissatisfied with the
rulings by the Norfolk County Juvenile Court. However, this
action either is barred by the
Rooker-Feldman or the Younger
abstention doctrine because Liviz is either impermissibly
seeking the assistance of this federal court in reviewing a
state court judgment or in interfering with an ongoing state
proceeding. The Court, therefore, either has no jurisdiction
or should abstain from exercising its jurisdiction. To the
extent Liviz seeks emergency injunctive relief, 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.
extent that proceedings are ongoing in state court, the Court
will abstain from exercising jurisdiction under Younger
v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). Under Younger, 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). Liviz'
request for this federal court to interfere with any of his
pending proceedings in a Massachusetts state court warrants
extent Liviz challenges a state court judgment, the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine deprives this court
of subject matter jurisdiction. See Rooker v. Fid. Trust
Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); D.C. Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983). “Under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, ‘lower
federal courts are precluded from exercising appellate
jurisdiction over final state-court judgments.'”
Tyler v. Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts,
914 F.3d 47, 50 (1st Cir. 2019) (quoting Lance v.
Dennis, 546 U.S. 459, 463 (2006)). Here, Liviz seeks
federal district court review of state court rulings because
he believes that the rulings are wrong and injurious to him.
This court finds that Liviz had an adequate opportunity to
raise his federal claims in the state proceedings. To
adjudicate such claims, this federal court would necessarily
be called upon to review the validity of the state
courts' orders, which is precluded by the
the Court often affords plaintiffs an opportunity to amend a
complaint in recognition that “basic fairness, as well
as ‘sound prudential reasons,' counsel against most
uses of the power to dismiss cases sua sponte,
” Gonzalez-Gonzalez v. United States, 257 F.3d
31, 37 (1st Cir. 2001), this is one of those cases in which
it “is crystal clear that the plaintiff cannot prevail
and that amending the complaint would ...