Sherry Ray Eveland v. The State of Maryland
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Motion disposition in opinion--granting Motion to proceed in forma pauperis (FRAP 24) [999998460-2]; denying Motion to amend/correct [1000048688-2]; denying Motion to intervene [1000030584-2] Originating case number: 1:16-cv-00762-CCB Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. . Mailed to: Sherry Ray Eveland 241 Smith Road Rising Sun, MD 21911 George Edward McDermott 143 North Huron Drive Forest Heights, MD 20745-0000. [16-2385]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
SHERRY RAY EVELAND, In the Matter of; Direct Legal Descendent of the Estate
Legal Executor/Personal Representative of James Ray Charles Deceased Father,
Plaintiff - Appellant,
JODY EVELAND, Senior, Son-in-Law of James Ray Charles Deceased; JODY
EVELAND, Junior, Son-in-Law of James Ray Charles Deceased,
THE STATE OF MARYLAND, Through its Legal Representative Brian Frosh Esq.;
LEONARD E. WILSON LAW OFFICE, & Leonard Wilson Attorney Alleged;
ANDRUIS D. ROGERS; WILLIAM RIDDLE LAW FIRM; LAW FIRM OF
ROLLINS & DELLMYER, P.A.; CHARLES BERNSTEIN, Alleged Judge;
BELINDA K. CONWAY, Esq.,
Defendants - Appellees.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore.
Catherine C. Blake, Chief District Judge. (1:16-cv-00762-CCB)
Submitted: April 25, 2017
Before WILKINSON, KING, and KEENAN, Circuit Judges.
Decided: June 1, 2017
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Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Sherry Ray Eveland, Appellant Pro Se. Alexis Burrell Rohde, Assistant Attorney General,
Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellees.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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Plaintiffs, Sherry Ray Eveland, Jody Eveland, Sr., and Jody Eveland, Jr., brought
this civil action seeking damages and injunctive relief against the State of Maryland,
multiple law firms, an “Alleged Judge,” and an attorney. The district court originally
dismissed Plaintiffs’ complaint, without prejudice, finding that “the precise nature and
jurisdictional basis of the complaint [could not] be determined even after affording the
matter a generous construction.” The district court also found that because “[r]esolution
of state probate matters is a vital state interest,” the district court could not interfere with
the challenged probate proceedings under the abstention doctrine set forth in Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). We dismissed Sherry Ray Eveland’s interlocutory appeal and
remanded to the district court in accordance with Goode v. Cent. Va. Legal Aid Soc’y, Inc.,
807 F.3d 619, 624 (4th Cir. 2015). See Eveland v. Maryland, 668 F. App’x 46 (4th Cir.
2016) (No. 16-1562).
On remand, Eveland filed a “Motion and Response,” which the district court
construed as an amended complaint. Recognizing that the probate action that is the subject
of Plaintiffs’ complaint remains pending in a Maryland state court, the district court again
found that Plaintiffs’ claims were not actionable in federal district court under the Younger
abstention doctrine. The district court also concluded that despite the amended filing,
Plaintiffs’ claims were still not discernable and, thus, Plaintiffs’ filing failed to comport
with Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. The district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ action, and Eveland timely
appealed and has moved to proceed in forma pauperis. George McDermott, a reporter with
the Maryland Court Watch News, has filed a motion to intervene, or in the alternative, for
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permission to file an amicus curiae brief. Defendants oppose McDermott’s motion to
intervene and McDermott has filed a motion to correct the record, challenging assertions
made in Defendants’ opposition.
On appeal, we confine our review to the issues raised in the Appellant’s brief. See
4th Cir. R. 34(b). Because Eveland’s informal brief does not challenge the basis for the
district court’s disposition, Eveland has forfeited appellate review of the court’s order. See
Williams v. Giant Food Inc., 370 F.3d 423, 430 n.4 (4th Cir. 2004). * Accordingly, although
we grant Eveland’s application to proceed in forma pauperis, we affirm the district court’s
order dismissing the amended complaint, and deny McDermott’s motions to intervene and
to correct the record. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal
contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would
not aid the decisional process.
We nonetheless discern no reversible error in the district court’s dispositive
holdings, or in the district court’s rejection of Eveland’s post-dismissal filing. See, e.g.,
Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002) (dismissing complaint where it
failed to provide defendants with “fair notice of what the plaintiff’s claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests” (internal quotation marks omitted)); Laurel Sand & Gravel,
Inc. v. Wilson, 519 F.3d 156, 165 (4th Cir. 2008) (recognizing that the Younger abstention
doctrine “requires a federal court to abstain from interfering in state proceedings” if there
is: “(1) an ongoing state judicial proceeding, instituted prior to any substantial progress in
the federal proceeding; that (2) implicates important, substantial, or vital state interests;
and (3) provides an adequate opportunity for the plaintiff to raise the federal constitutional
claim advanced in the federal lawsuit” (internal quotation marks omitted)).
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