Smith v. Anderson et al
RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER DISMISSING CASE. Signed by Judge Dana L. Christensen on 3/24/2017. Mailed to Smith. (TAG)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
BRIAN DOUGLAS SMITH,
RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER
REBECCA S. ANDERSON, M.D.C,
AND RODNEY G. HEATON, M.D.,
Plaintiff Brian Smith, a state prisoner, filed a Motion to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis (Doc. 1) and a Notice of Appeal (Doc. 2). Smith is attempting to appeal
a decision of the Montana Supreme Court. This Court does not have jurisdiction
to hear appeals of state court decisions.
A "district court may deny leave to proceed [in forma pauperis] at the outset
if it appears from the face of the proposed complaint that the action is frivolous or
without merit." O'Laughlin v. Doe, 920 F.2d 614, 616 (9th Cir. 1990). This
matter is frivolous as Mr. Smith seeks to appeal a decision of the Montana
Supreme Court. Federal district courts do not have appellate jurisdiction over
state court judgments. See 28 U.S.C. § 1257; Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic
Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 283 (2005). As courts of original jurisdiction, federal
district courts lack jurisdiction to review the final determinations of a state court in
judicial proceedings. Branson v. Nott, 62 F.3d 287, 291 (9th Cir. 1995); D.C. Ct.
ofApp. v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 476 (1983) (holding that the district court
lacked jurisdiction over challenge to District of Columbia court's denial of
petitions for waiver from bar admission requirements); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust
Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415-16 (1923). Only the United States Supreme Court has
jurisdiction to engage in such review. 28 U.S.C. § 1257; Feldman, 460 U.S. at
The Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies to "cases brought by state-court
losers complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the
district court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and
rejection of those judgments." 1 Exxon Mobil Corp., 544 U.S. at 284. Mr. Smith
appealed the state district court's September 23, 2015 order granting defendants'
motion for summary judgment in his medical negligence case. The Montana
Supreme Court affirmed the state district court's decision on August 9, 2016.
Smith v. Anderson, 385 Mont. 539 (2016). The United States Supreme Court
denied Smith's petition for writ of certiorari regarding the Montana Supreme
The Rooker-Feldman doctrine derives its name from two United States
Supreme Court cases: District of Columbia Court ofAppeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S.
462 (1983), and Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Company, 263 U.S. 413 (1923).
Court's decision on February 21, 2017. Smith v. Anderson,_ S.Ct. _ , 2017
WL 670496 (201 7).
Smith is seeking review and rejection of a decision of the Montana Supreme
Court issued prior to commencement of this action. As such, this matter is barred
by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. This Court does not have jurisdiction over this
matter, and it should be dismissed.
Based on the foregoing, the Court RECOMMENDS that Chief United
States District Court Judge Christensen issue the following Order.
DATED this~ay of Marc ,
l remiah C. Lynch
nited States Magistrate Judge
Based upon the recommendation of Judge Lynch, the Court issues the
1. Smith's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (Doc. 1) is DENIED, and
this matter is DISMISSED. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the case and
enter judgment pursuant to Rule 58 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
2. No motions for reconsideration or rehearing will be entertained, and the
Clerk of Court is directed to discard any sue motions.
day of March, 20
Dana L. Christensen, Chief Judge
United States District Court
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