Ellington v. Horne et al

Filing 6

ORDER that the complaint 1 is dismissed with prejudice. The Clerk is directed to terminate this matter. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 2/22/13. (TLJ)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Christopher E. Ellington, Plaintiff, 10 11 ORDER v. 12 No. CV-13-00271-PHX-DGC Tom Horne, Attorney General for the State of Arizona, et al., 13 Defendants. 14 15 16 Christopher M. Ellington is a pro se Plaintiff proceeding in forma papueris 17 (“IFP”) in this action against the Attorney General and three judges of the State of 18 Arizona. He filed his complaint (Doc. 1) and a motion for a preliminary injunction 19 (Doc. 4) on February 7, 2013. He alleges that the actions of the state court judges have 20 violated his rights under the federal and state constitutions and other state and federal 21 laws. 22 In IFP proceedings, a district court “shall dismiss the case at any time if the court 23 determines that ... the action ... fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted[.]” 28 24 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). While much of § 1915 concerns prisoner litigation, § 1915(e) 25 applies to all IFP proceedings. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 n. 7 (9th Cir. 2000) 26 (en banc). “Section 1915(e) (2)(B)(ii) ... allows a district court to dismiss[ ] sua sponte ... 27 a complaint that fails to state a claim[.]” Id. at 1130. “It is also clear that section 1915(e) 28 not only permits but requires a district court to dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint 1 that fails to state a claim.” Id. at 1127. A district court dismissing under 2 § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) “should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the 3 pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by 4 the allegation of other facts.” Id. at 1127–29 (citations omitted). 5 All of Plaintiff’s allegations arise from what appear to be ongoing proceedings 6 before the Pinal County Superior Court. He variously complains that he was not granted 7 a hearing within “5 calendar court days” as he alleges is mandated by Arizona law, that 8 JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., the real party in interest, made no effort to attend a hearing 9 and had discussions with the judge off the record, and that several of the rulings of the 10 superior court judges have been wrong. Doc. 1 at 4-8. He claims these actions violate 11 his constitutional due process rights and amount to violations of various state and federal 12 statutes. He moves for injunctive relief against the judges. Id. 13 The Rooker-Feldman doctrine prohibits a federal district court from exercising 14 subject matter jurisdiction over a suit that is a de facto appeal from a state court 15 judgment. Kougasian v. TMSL, Inc., 359 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2004)(citing Bianchi 16 v. Rylaarsdam, 334 F.3d 895, 898 (9th Cir. 2003). 17 28 U.S.C. § 1257, which grants jurisdiction to review a state court judgment in the United 18 States Supreme Court. The negative inference of that statute is that lower federal courts 19 are prohibited from exercising jurisdiction over appeals from state court judgments. The 20 IFP complaint at issue in this case is not clearly styled as an appeal from a state court 21 judgment, but all of the allegedly wrongful conduct arises from decisions and actions of 22 the superior court judges. Accordingly, the Court will construe the complaint as a de 23 facto appeal from a state court judgment and dismiss the complaint for lack of 24 jurisdiction. Because the jurisdictional defect cannot be cured by additional amendment, 25 the dismissal is with prejudice. 26 27 28 -2- The doctrine is based on 1 2 3 IT IS ORDERED that the complaint (Doc. 1) is dismissed with prejudice. The Clerk is directed to terminate this matter. Dated this 22nd day of February, 2013. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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