Swanson v. South Boston Municipal Court et al
Chief Judge Patti B. Saris: ORDER entered granting 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis and dismissing action without prejudice for reasons of Younger abstention. All other motions 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 10 are DENIED AS MOOT. The Clerk shall send a copy of this order to the South Boston Municipal Court. [Copy of Order mailed to plaintiff at to South Boston Municipal Court on 11/29/2017.] (PSSA, 3)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
SOUTH BOSTON MUNICIPAL COURT,
C.A. No. 17-12308-PBS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
November 29, 2017
Plaintiff Carl Swanson has filed a complaint in which he
asks this Court to review and adjudicate a matter that is
presently pending in the South Boston Municipal Court.
reasons set forth below, the Court dismisses this action.
On November 22, 2017, Swanson filed in this Court a
complaint against the South Boston Municipal Court (“SBMC”), a
bailiff at the SBMC, the Honorable Michael C. Bolden, and the
Supreme Judicial Court.
Swanson brings this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his Constitutional right
to due process.
He also alleges that, under state law, the
defendants have violated his right to due process.
Accordingly to Swanson, 1 on November 17, 2017, Swanson’s
father went to the SBMC and requested an abuse prevention order
This order requires, inter alia, that Swanson
vacate the residence he shared with his father and mother.
November 21, 2017, Swanson filed motions for court assistance in
locating municipal employees who had conducted a mental health
examination on him just hours before his father sought the abuse
Judge Bolden denied these motions the same
Immediately thereafter, Swanson filed another set of
Ten minutes after Swanson gave these papers to the
bailiff, he was informed that Judge Bolden would consider all
the papers at a hearing scheduled for December 1, 2017.
In the present action, Swanson argues that Judge Bolden’s
initial denial of his motions was “critical fundamental error,”
and the court’s failure to immediately rule on the second set of
motions Swanson filed violated his due process rights under
state and federal law.
See Compl. ¶¶ 4, 9.
asserts that his due process rights are violated because
“Massachusetts law does not allow single justices to review
abuse protection orders.”
Id. ¶ 13.
In his prayer for relief, Swanson states that, at this
time, he is only asking this Court to order that he immediately
For purposes of this Memorandum and Order, the Court, as it
must, treats all of Swanson’s well-pled factual allegations as
be allowed to return to his home.
Although he opposes the
protection order, Swanson represents that he is “willing to
allow that aspect of it to be continued until further proceeding
can be held.”
Id. ¶ 14a.
Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis
Upon review of Swanson’s motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis, the Court concludes that he is without income or
assets to prepay the $400 filing fee.
Accordingly, the motion
Review of the Complaint
Because Swanson is proceeding in forma pauperis, his
complaint is subject to screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
This statute authorizes federal courts to dismiss in forma
pauperis actions that are malicious, frivolous, fail to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Further, a court has an obligation to
inquire sua sponte into its own subject matter jurisdiction.
See McCulloch v. Velez, 364 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2004).
Upon review of the complaint, the Court abstains from
exercising jurisdiction over this action.
“Abstention is a
devise designed to facilitate the side-by-side operation of
federal and state courts, balancing their respective interests
in the spirit of comity.”
Coggeshall v. Massachusetts Bd. of
Registration of Psychologists, 604 F.3d 658, 664 (1st Cir.
“Except in the most extraordinary cases, a federal court
must presume that state courts, consistent with the imperatives
of the Supremacy Clause, see U.S. Const. art. VI, are fully
competent to adjudicate federal constitutional and statutory
claims properly presented by the parties.”
Casa Marie, Inc. v.
Super. Ct., 988 F.2d 252, 262 (1st Cir.1993) (footnote omitted).
Under Younger abstention, see Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37
(1971), “a federal court must abstain from hearing a case if
doing so would ‘needlessly inject’ the federal court into
ongoing state proceedings.”
Coggeshall, 604 F.3d at 664
(quoting Brooks v. N.H. Supreme Ct., 80 F.3d 633, 637 (1st Cir.
Younger abstention is even appropriate where litigants
“claim violations of important federal rights,” In re Justices
of Superior Ct. Dept. of Mass. Trial Ct., 218 F.3d 11, 17 (1st
Cir. 2000), as long as the federal claims can be “raised and
resolved somewhere in the state process” Maymó-Meléndez v.
Álvarez-Ramírez, 364 F.3d 27, 36 (1st Cir. 2004) (emphasis
Here, the Court would “needlessly inject” itself in a
pending state proceeding if it were to alter the terms of the
abuse protection order, require the state court to issue for
orders or subpoenas to locate witnesses, and provide other
relief with regards to the alleged due process violations that
have occurred in the state court proceeding against Swanson.
The Court has no reason to believe that the Swanson will not
have an opportunity to raise all pertinent issues within the
state court system, whether in front of the trial court or on
Accordingly, this Court orders:
the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is
this action is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for reasons
of Younger abstention;
all other pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT; and
the Clerk shall send a copy of this order to the South
Boston Municipal Court.
/s/ Patti B. Saris _______
PATTI B. SARIS
CHIEF, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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