Vallire Ozene, et al v. Texas Dept of Fam Protc Svc, et al


UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [10-20456 Affirmed] Judge: JLW , Judge: ECP , Judge: PRO. Mandate pull date is 01/13/2011 [10-20456]

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Vallire Ozene, et al v. Texas10-20456 Document: al Case: Dept of Fam Protc Svc, et 00511331071 Page: 1 Date Filed: 12/23/2010 Doc. 0 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS United States Court of Appeals FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT Fifth Circuit FILED N o . 10-20456 S u m m a r y Calendar December 23, 2010 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk V A L L I R E OZENE; LYNDON GRANGER; LATOYA JERNIGAN, P la in t if f s A p p e lla n t s , v. T E X A S DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY PROTECTIVE SERVICES; AMBER J E R N IG A N ; WANDA MILES; CLAUDIA ANN JACKSON; TASHA R O D G E R S ; LATASHA ALLEN; DAISY CLARK, D e fe n d a n t s A p p e lle e s . A p p e a l from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas U S D C No. 4:10-CV-245 B e fo r e WIENER, PRADO, and OWEN, Circuit Judges. P E R CURIAM:* V a llir e Ozene, Lyndon Granger, and Latoya Jernigan (Appellants) sued t h e Texas Department of Family Protective Services (TDFPS) and several T D F P S officials (collectively the State Defendants), and other individuals u n a ffil ia t e d with the state of Texas. The case appears to stem from a dispute o v e r the custody of two minor children, S.J. and T.J. Both children were subject Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR. R. 47.5.4. * Case: 10-20456 Document: 00511331071 Page: 2 Date Filed: 12/23/2010 No. 10-20456 t o writs of attachment in Texas state court naming the TDFPS as their t e m p o r a r y managing conservator. The Appellants claimed in their lawsuit that t h e various defendants conspired to fabricate false allegations against the A p p e lla n t s in order to terminate the Appellants' custodial rights over S.J. and T .J . The complaint included allegations that the defendants violated the Fourth, F ifth , Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and sought relief pursuant to 42 U .S .C . 1983. The Appellants requested damages in the amount of $ 1 0 0 million, as well as the possession of S.J. and T.J. T h e State Defendants moved for dismissal of the Appellants' suit, and the d is tr ic t court dismissed the case, pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(1), after it d e t e r m in e d that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Specifically, the district c o u r t concluded that the Appellants' suit was an attempt to modify the terms of sta te -c o u r t child custody orders, and that both the Rooker-Feldman doctrine 1 and t h e domestic relations exception to federal jurisdiction2 applied to limit the c o u r t's jurisdiction. The Appellants, proceeding pro se, now appeal. W e consider at the outset whether the Appellants have abandoned all is s u e s on appeal. The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure require that an a p p e lla n t 's brief contain "appellant's contentions and the reasons for them, with c it a t io n s to the authorities and parts of the record on which the appellant r e lie s ."3 "Failure adequately to brief an issue on appeal constitutes waiver of t h a t argument."4 Moreover, "[a]lthough pro se briefs are to be liberally See D.C. Ct. App. v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923). Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 703 (1992) ("[T]he domestic relations exception . . . divests the federal courts of power to issue divorce, alimony, and child custody decrees."). 3 2 1 FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(9)(A). Procter & Gamble Co. v. Amway Corp., 376 F.3d 496, 499 n.1 (5th Cir. 2004). 4 2 Case: 10-20456 Document: 00511331071 Page: 3 Date Filed: 12/23/2010 No. 10-20456 c o n s t r u e d , pro se litigants have no general immunity from the rule that issues a n d arguments not briefed on appeal are abandoned." 5 I n their brief, the Appellants simply provide a list of the rights that they c la im have been violated in their case, as well as a list of citations to cases a d d r e s s in g whether qualified immunity is available for state officials who c o m m it constitutional violations when removing children from the custody of t h e ir parents. The district court did not dismiss the Appellants' suit on qualified im m u n it y grounds, however, and the Appellants utterly fail to address the d is t r ic t court's decision to apply the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and the domestic r e la t io n s exception to this case. Because the Appellants point to no specific error in the district court's order, we hold that the Appellants have abandoned all is s u e s on appeal.6 A F F IR M E D . Geiger v. Jowers, 404 F.3d 371, 373 n.6 (5th Cir. 2005) (per curiam) (citation omitted); see also United States v. Wilkes, 20 F.3d 651, 653 (5th Cir. 1994) (per curiam) ("[W]hile we construe pro se pleadings liberally, pro se litigants, like all other parties, must abide by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure."). See Yohey v. Collins, 985 F.2d 222, 225 (5th Cir. 1993) (noting that "arguments must be briefed to be preserved" (citation and quotation marks omitted)). 6 5 3

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