UNGER, Ph.D. v. SOGLUIZZO, P.J.F.P. et al
OPINION/ORDER that Plaintiffs claims against Defendants Judge Sogluizzo and Daniel Pacilio are dismissed with prejudice; that Plaintiffs claims against the remaining Defendants are dismissed without prejudice; that this Order supersedes the Courts March 31, 2015 Order on this motion, (D.E. No. 24); that Plaintiffs time to appeal shall run from the date of entry of this Order. Signed by Judge Esther Salas on 4/6/15. (DD, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
RABBI DR. ABRAHAM UNGER, PH.D., :
JUDGE MAUREEN P. SOGLUIZZO,
P.J.F.P., et al.,
Civil Action No. 14-4074 (ES) (MAH)
OPINION AND ORDER
SALAS, DISTRICT JUDGE
This action arises from Plaintiff Rabbi Dr. Abraham Unger, Ph.D.’s (Plaintiff) allegations
that Defendants Judge Maureen P. Sogluizzo, P.J.F.P., Daniel Pacilio, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner,
Meryl G. Nadler, and Judge Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D. (collectively, Defendants) violated and
conspired to violate his civil rights. Before the Court is Defendants’ motion to dismiss under
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (D.E. No. 8). The Court has considered
the parties’ submissions and resolves Defendants’ motion without oral argument pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b). For the reasons below, the Defendants’ motion to dismiss
FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff and his former wife filed a divorce proceeding on March 17, 2011 in Hudson
County, New Jersey. (D.E. No. 3 (“Am. Compl.”) ¶ 4). The case was assigned to Judge Sogluizzo,
and consequently to her law clerk, Pacilio. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 14). The case was ongoing at the time that
Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint. (Id. ¶ 7).
Plaintiff alleges that, throughout his divorce proceedings, Judge Sogluizzo deprived
Plaintiff of his civil liberties pursuant to § 1983, (id. ¶¶ 29-38), and that Defendants jointly engaged
in a civil rights conspiracy against him, (id. ¶¶ 39-44). To support his claims, Plaintiff makes
various allegations regarding his family court proceedings, including the following: 1
First, Plaintiff alleges that during his first session with the court-appointed mediator, the
mediator expressed recognition of Plaintiff’s former wife’s law firm, but not Plaintiff’s attorney.
(Id. ¶ 5). Also during that session, after Plaintiff refused to accept his former wife’s custody and
parenting time proposal in full, Plaintiff alleges that the mediator “angrily rose from the conference
table at which [they] were meeting and said, ‘I have the ear of the Judge.’” (Id.).
Plaintiff further alleges that Judge Sogluizzo “seemed aggressive” with Plaintiff during a
July 27, 2012 hearing. (Id. ¶ 8). Specifically, he alleges that Judge Sogluizzo said she “took
umbrage” when Plaintiff’s then-attorney “raised the issue of gender bias” against Plaintiff. (Id.).
In addition, he alleges that Judge Sogluizzo “indignantly demanded [that Plaintiff] pay for the
mother’s legal fees in full for the motion after the issue of gender was raised.” (Id.).
Plaintiff further alleges that, on January 23, 2013, Judge Sogluizzo ruled that additional
discovery regarding Plaintiff’s former wife’s mental health was unnecessary, and that his former
wife was “singly protected by the Court from submitting her complete psychiatric and medical
history, even though, especially in parenting matters, these items are typically relevant to best
interests of children.” (Id. ¶ 9).
The Court recounts Plaintiff’s allegations in the order that they appear in his Amended Complaint,
which is not necessarily chronological.
Plaintiff further alleges that, during a May 22, 2013 hearing, Judge Sogluizzo stated that
Plaintiff was “principled” and “indicated that she didn’t appreciate principle.” (Id. ¶ 10). He
alleges that, at that same hearing, Judge Sogluizzo permitted Plaintiff’s former wife to introduce
certain testimony over Plaintiff’s objection that it constituted “double hearsay.” (Id.). He also
alleges that Judge Sogluizzo “admonished” him at that hearing. (Id.).
Plaintiff further alleges that Judge Sogluizzo refused to recuse herself after Plaintiff orally
moved for recusal on January 16, 2014. (Id. ¶ 11). He also alleges that, during trial, Judge
Sogluizzo did not permit Plaintiff’s expert and other witnesses to testify, however his former wife’s
expert was permitted to testify for a full day. (Id. ¶ 12).
Plaintiff further alleges that, “[m]ost egregiously, on October 8, 2013, Judge Sogluizzo
entered an Order, with no motion pending and during an adjournment in trial, that stated that the
mother was the custodial parent, and me, the father, the non-custodial parent.” (Id. ¶ 14). Plaintiff
alleges that he called Chambers to inquire about the order and spoke with Pacilio. (Id.). He alleges
that Pacilio informed Plaintiff that the Order was a “formality.” (Id.). After contacting various
family court administrators, Plaintiff obtained an amended order, however he alleges that “the
damage done . . . has been difficult.” (Id.).
Finally, Plaintiff alleges that he encountered various administrative errors during his family
court proceeding. For example, he alleges that he improperly received a “Notice of Motion” even
though there was no motion pending. (Id. ¶ 15). In addition, he alleges that, after trial concluded,
there was an exhibit missing from his evidence box. (Id. ¶ 16). He further alleges that Pacilio
refused to give Plaintiff a receipt when Plaintiff handed in his final written summations, (id. ¶ 17),
and that he received incomplete and mixed information regarding court dates, (id. ¶¶ 18-19, 22,
23). Lastly, he alleges that when he requested a copy of Orders issued by Judge Sogluizzo over
the past ten years, he received no response. (Id. ¶ 20). Plaintiff alleges that he initially requested
the orders via letter to Nadler, Counsel to the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts, on
May 19, 2014, and that he followed up by letter to Chief Justice Rabner on June 16, 2014. (Id.).
Plaintiff filed his initial complaint on June 25, 2014, (D.E. No. 1, (“Compl.”)), and his
Amended Complaint on July 9, 2014. (Am. Compl.). Plaintiff’s stated causes of action appear to
be: (1) a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for Fourteenth Amendment violations against Judge
Sogluizzo, and (2) a civil rights conspiracy claim. Plaintiff does not specify which individuals he
asserts his conspiracy claim against. However, the Court construes it to be pled against all
On August 4, 2014, Plaintiff requested default judgment against Judge Sogluizzo. (D.E.
No. 6, Request for Default). The Clerk of the Court entered default judgment on August 5, 2014.
(August 5, 2014 Entry of Default as to Defendant, Marueen P. Sogluizzo). On August 15, 2014,
Judge Sogluizzo moved to vacate the entry of default and Defendants moved to dismiss. (D.E.
No. 7, Motion to Vacate Clerk’s Entry of Default; D.E. No. 8-1, Brief in Support of Defendant’s
Motion to Dismiss (“Def. Mov. Br.”)). Unger opposed Defendant’s motion to dismiss on
September 29, 2014. (D.E. No. 15, Response in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss
(“Pl. Opp. Br.”)).
On March 11, 2015, Magistrate Judge Michael Hammer granted Judge
Sogluizzo’s motion to vacate the entry of default judgment. (D.E. No. 22). Defendants’ motion
to dismiss is now ripe for the Court’s determination as to all Defendants.
Plaintiff pleads his conspiracy claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, but his allegations and case citations
indicate that he intends to bring this claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3). (Am Compl. ¶ 39).
A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
To withstand a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,’ but it asks for
more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.
“When reviewing a motion to dismiss, ‘[a]ll allegations in the complaint must be accepted
as true, and the plaintiff must be given the benefit of every favorable inference to be drawn
therefrom.’” Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting Kulwicki v. Dawson,
969 F.2d 1454, 1462 (3d Cir. 1992)). But the court is not required to accept as true “legal
conclusions,” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Finally, “[i]n deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must consider only the complaint,
exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of the public record, as well as undisputedly authentic
documents if the complainant’s claims are based upon these documents.” Mayer v. Belichick, 605
F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010).
B. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)
Motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised either as a facial
challenge to “the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in fact, quite apart from any pleadings,”
or as a factual challenge where “the court must consider the allegations of the complaint as true.”
Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977).
When a court considers a facial challenge, the court “assumes that the allegations in the
complaint are true, and may dismiss the complaint only if it nevertheless appears that the plaintiff
will not be able to assert a colorable claim of subject matter jurisdiction.” Johnson v. Passaic
Cnty., No. 13-4363, 2014 WL 2203842, at *3 (D.N.J. May 23, 2014) (citing Cardio-Med. Assoc.,
Ltd. v. Crozer-Chester Med. Ctr., 721 F.2d 68, 75 (3d Cir. 1983); and Iwanowa v. Ford Motor Co.,
67 F. Supp. 2d 424, 438 (D.N.J. 1999)).
A. Plaintiff’s Claims Against Judge Sogluizzo
Plaintiff appears to assert claims against Judge Sogluizzo for depriving him of due process
and equal protection under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and for engaging in a civil rights conspiracy. (Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 29-44). Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint does not specify whether he seeks damages in
addition to injunctive relief. However, in an abundance of caution and in light of Plaintiff’s pro
se status, the Court will construe Plaintiff’s claims as seeking both. The Court will discuss each
Judicial Immunity from Suits for Damages
“[J]udges defending against § 1983 actions enjoy absolute immunity from damages
liability for acts performed in their judicial capacities.” Supreme Court of Virginia v. Consumers
Union of U.S., Inc., 446 U.S. 719, 734-35 (1980) (citing Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547 (1967)); see
Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint should be dismissed on the basis of RookerFeldman abstention doctrine, (Def. Mov. Br. at 6), the domestic relations exception, (id. at 8), Eleventh
Amendment sovereign immunity, (id. at 11), judicial immunity, (id. at 12), and for failure to state a claim
for which relief can be granted, (id. at 15). Because the Court decides this motion on limited grounds, it
need not reach the merits of Defendants’ arguments regarding the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the domestic
relations exception, or Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity.
also Dennis v. Sparks, 449 U.S. 24, 27 (1980). That immunity also “exists where it is alleged that
the judge is acting as part of a conspiracy.” Rush v. Wiseman, No. 09-4385, 2010 WL 1705299,
at *8 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 27, 2010) (citing Dennis, 449 U.S. at 27).
The case law is clear that judicial immunity “is overcome in only two sets of
circumstances.” Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991). First, a judge is not immune to “liability
for nonjudicial actions, i.e., actions not taken in the judge’s judicial capacity. Second, a judge is
not immune for actions, though judicial in nature, taken in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.”
Id. at 11-12 (citing Forrester v. White, 484 U.S. 219, 227-29 (1988); Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S.
349, 356-60 (1978)). Whether an act is judicial or nonjudicial “is to be determined by its
character, and not by the character of the agent.” Forrester, 484 U.S. at 228 (quoting Ex parte
Virginia, 100 U.S. 339, 348 (1880).
Here, Plaintiff’s allegations against Judge Sogluizzo arise from actions she took as the
presiding judge in Plaintiff’s divorce proceedings. (See generally Am. Compl.). Specifically,
Plaintiff alleges civil rights violations resulting from Judge Sogluizzo’s judicial orders and rulings,
including her decisions regarding discovery, the need for expert testimony, and the admissibility
of certain evidence. (Id. ¶¶ 5, 9-13, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23). Despite Plaintiff’s characterizations of
these actions as administrative or non-adjudicative, (Pl. Opp. Br. at 9), they cut to the heart of
judicial decisionmaking and discretion. (See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 6, 7, 14). Thus, Judge Sogluizzo was
clearly acting within her judicial capacity.
Unger’s argument that Judge Sogluizzo acted in the absence of all jurisdiction is similarly
unavailing. As far as the Court can glean from Plaintiff’s brief, his sole contention in support of
this argument is that Judge Sogluizzo violated the canons of judicial ethics by failing to report that
Plaintiff’s former wife violated the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act when she testified that she used
a prescription drug that she brought from Argentina. (Id. ¶ 13; Pl. Opp. Br at 9). Unger does not
explain how this constitutes an act in “absence of all jurisdiction,” and the Court fails to see how
that act rises to this level. Even if Judge Sogluizzo should have reported Plaintiff’s former wife’s
violation, her failure to do so does not strip her of immunity. 4 “A judge will not be deprived of
immunity because the action he took was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of his
authority; rather, he will be subject to liability only when he has acted ‘in the clear absence of all
jurisdiction.’” Capogrosso v. The Supreme Court of N.J., 588 F.3d 180, 184 (3d Cir. 2009)
(quoting Azubuko v. Royal, 443 F.3d 302, 303 (3d Cir. 2006)). As a family court judge presiding
over a divorce proceeding, the Court concludes that Judge Sogluizzo was acting well within her
Judicial Immunity from Suits for Equitable Relief
In certain circumstances, a cause of action for injunctive relief may be asserted against
federal officers or the federal government. See Larson v. Domestic & Foreign Commerce Corp.,
337 U.S. 682 (1949). “However, immunity principles still apply, and, except in very limited
circumstances, federal judges are immune from suits for injunctive relief.” Rush, 2010 WL
1705299 at *10. In 1996, Congress amended 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to provide that “in any action
brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity,
injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief
was unavailable.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983; see also Azubuko, 443 F.3d at 304. Plaintiff has not alleged
that a declaratory decree was violated or that declaratory relief is unavailable. Moreover, the
injunctive relief sought addresses actions taken by Judge Sogluizzo in a judicial capacity. Thus,
Moreover, is not clear from the facts that Plaintiff’s wife’s actions constitute a “violation of law,” as
Congress has waived enforcement authority over importation of prescription drugs by individuals in
circumstances such as those stated in the Amended Complaint. See 21 U.S.C. § 384(j)(1).
to the extent that Plaintiff requests an injunction against Judge Sogluizzo, the requested relief is
unavailable for this reason as well.
In sum, Judge Sogluizzo is entitled to absolute immunity from suits for damages and
injunctive relief. See Mierzwa, 282 F. App’x. at 977. 5
B. Plaintiff’s Claims Against Daniel Pacilio, Esq.
Plaintiff appears to assert a civil rights conspiracy claim against Pacilio. (Am. Compl. ¶
39). The Complaint does not specify the relief that Plaintiff seeks against Pacilio, but, in an
abundance of caution and in light of Plaintiff’s pro se status, the Court will again construe the
Complaint as seeking both damages and injunctive relief. (Id. ¶¶ 39-44).
Judicial clerks are entitled to quasi-judicial immunity when “their judgments are
‘functionally comparable’ to those of judges—that is, because they, too, ‘exercise a discretionary
judgment’ as a part of their function.” Antoine v. Byers & Anderson, 508 U.S. 429, 436 (1993)
(quoting Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 423 n.20 (1976)). “Under this ‘functional’ approach,
courts must look to the nature of the function performed and not to the identity of the actor
performing it, to determine if immunity is appropriate.” Alfred v. New Jersey, No. 13-0332, 2013
WL 4675536, at *8 (D.N.J. Aug. 29, 2013) (citing Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 269
(1993); and Keystone Redevelopment Partners, LLC v. Decker, 631 F.3d 89, 103 (3d Cir. 2011)).
Immunity to those who perform “quasi-judicial” functions extends both to suits for damages and
those for injunctive relief. Jarvis v. D’Andrea, No. 14-1492, 2014 WL 4251605, at *9 (M.D. Pa.
Even if judicial immunity did not bar Plaintiff’s claims against Judge Sogluizzo, the Court would be
compelled to dismiss these claims for failing to meet the pleading standards of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Under the standards of Iqbal and Twombly, the facts alleged in the Amended
Complaint do not rise to the level of creating a plausible claim that Plaintiff’s constitutional rights were
violated by Judge Sogluizzo, that Judge Sogluizzo was involved in a conspiracy to violate those rights, or
that Judge Sogluizzo’s acts create a plausible claim under any theory that this Court can identify. (Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 5, 9-13, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23); Malleus 641 F.3d at 563; see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
Aug. 27, 2014) (holding former Clerk of the Court was “entitled to quasi-judicial immunity with
respect to Plaintiff’s claims for injunctive relief”); see also Williams v. Barkman, No. 13-1805,
2014 WL 1315992, at *5-6 (W.D. Pa. March 31, 2014).
Unger’s Amended Complaint contains the following allegations regarding Defendant
Pacilio: (1) he told Unger to submit a letter motion to the court in order to correct an Order, (Am.
Compl. ¶ 14); (2) he refused to personally give Unger a receipt when he turned in his final written
summations, (id. ¶ 17); (3) he told Unger over the phone that Judge Sogluizzo had not received
certified mail from Unger, (id. ¶ 21); and (4) he rescheduled a control date over the phone with
Unger, (id. ¶ 22).
Pacilio is entitled to partial judicial immunity because his alleged actions are functionally
comparable to judicial acts. Specifically, Pacilio exercised the case management function of the
court by permitting Unger to submit a letter motion in opposition to the Order. See Chambers v.
NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 43 (1991) (“Certain implied powers must necessarily result to the courts
of justice from the nature of their institution, powers which cannot be dispensed with in a court,
because they are necessary to the exercise of all others.”); Link v. Wabash R. Co., 370 U.S. 626,
630-31 (1962) (“[C]ontrol [is] necessarily vested in courts to manage their own affairs so as
to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of cases.”). In addition, Pacilio engaged in nonadministrative conduct by deferring to a secretary to issue a receipt, (id. ¶ 17), and again exercised
the case management function of the court by rescheduling the control date of the case, (id. ¶ 22).
Because acts allegedly committed by Pacilio are judicial acts, Pacilio is entitled to judicial
immunity for claims arising from those acts. See Antoine, 508 U.S. at 436.
Plaintiff’s last allegation against Pacilio is that he informed Plaintiff that the court had not
received his certified mail submission. (Am. Compl. ¶ 21). The Court treats this act as non10
judicial for the purpose of this motion, but concludes that the allegation does not state a cause of
action for civil rights conspiracy. To properly allege a civil rights conspiracy under 42 U.S.C. §
1985(3), Plaintiff must allege the existence of “(1) a conspiracy; (2) for the purpose of depriving,
either directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or
of equal privileges and immunities under the laws; and (3) an act in furtherance of the conspiracy;
(4) whereby a person is injured in his person or property or deprived of any right or privilege of a
citizen of the United States.” Kirkland v. Dileo, 581 F. App’x. 111, 118 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting
Farber v. City of Paterson, 440 F.3d 131, 134 (3d Cir. 2006)). Plaintiff has failed to allege facts
sufficient to support any of the elements listed above. (See generally Am. Compl.). While the
Court is required to give Plaintiff’s allegations “every favorable inference to be drawn therefrom,”
Plaintiff has failed to provide the Court sufficient allegations for finding a cognizable claim.
Malleus, 641 F.3d at 563; see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Even when
combined with Pacilio’s judicial acts and the acts of the other Defendants, Plaintiff’s allegations
do not provide grounds for finding his conspiracy claim against Pacilio plausible. There is not
even an allegation that a conspiracy occurred. Pacilio is therefore entitled to dismissal of the
claims against him due to judicial immunity and Plaintiff’s failure to state a claim of civil rights
C. Plaintiff’s Claims Against Chief Justice Rabner, Nadler, and Judge Grant
The Court construes the Amended Complaint to state a conspiracy claim against the
remaining Defendants. (Am. Compl. ¶ 39). Unger’s only allegation against Chief Justice Rabner
states that he failed to reply to Plaintiff’s June 16, 2014 letter. (Id. ¶ 20). His only allegation
against Nadler, Counsel to the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts, is that she failed
to provide Plaintiff with Judge Sogluizzo’s matrimonial decisions from the past ten years within a
month of Plaintiff’s request. (Id.). Plaintiff does not allege any facts about Judge Grant in his
On these allegations, there is no cognizable basis for the 42 U.S.C. §1985(3) civil rights
conspiracy claims against Chief Justice Rabner, Judge Grant, and Nadler, and therefore they must
be dismissed pursuant to 12(b)(6). As mentioned above, to state a claim for a civil rights
conspiracy, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that each defendant (1) was part of any
conspiracy, (2) had the requisite intent, (3) committed an act in furtherance of a conspiracy, and
(4) that the act was a means through which plaintiff was injured. Kirkland, 581 F. App’x. at 118.
Plaintiff has not alleged any facts for any of these Defendants supporting these elements. 6 The
Third Circuit has made clear “that allegations of a conspiracy must provide some factual basis to
support the existence of the elements of a conspiracy: agreement and concerted action. A
conspiracy cannot be found from allegations of judicial error, ex parte communications (the
manner of occurrence and substance of which are not alleged) or adverse rulings absent specific
facts demonstrating an agreement to commit the alleged improper actions.” Capogrosso, 588 F.3d
at 185. Because the allegations against these defendants all fail to provide a factual basis for any
commitment to the alleged improper actions, Plaintiff has not “state[d] a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Chief Judge Rabner, Judge Grant, and Nadler
The Court notes that Plaintiff’s opposition brief, (D.E. No. 15), contains a number of exhibits that
Plaintiff argues support his conspiracy claims. (See Pl. Opp. Br. at 4-9). However, “[u]nless the court
converts a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment, it is generally confined to the four
corners of the complaint when evaluating its sufficiency.” Tri3 Enters., LLC v. Aetna, Inc., 535 F. App’x
192, 195 (3d Cir. 2013). Accordingly, “[i]t must accept all facts alleged as true and, apart from narrow
circumstances . . . cannot rely on outside evidence the parties may introduce.” Id. (citing Mayer v.
Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 229 (3d Cir. 2010)). The Court will therefore not address the exhibits introduced
by Plaintiff in support of his motion, and will focus on the allegations contained in the Complaint.
are therefore entitled to dismissal of the claims against them due to Plaintiff’s failure to state a
D. Plaintiff’s Demand for Injunctive Relief
For the reasons described above, Plaintiff’s claims against all defendants must be dismissed
due to either judicial immunity or failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. However,
it is also worth noting that the specific relief Plaintiff seeks is unavailable to him.
Plaintiff’s stated demand for relief seeks (1) a request for an “immediate injunction to stay
the decision of the state judge in her individual capacity pursuant to sec. 1983”; and (2)
alternatively, an “immediate injunction to stay the decision of the state-court proceedings pursuant
to the AIA, AWA, and sec. 1983.” (Am. Compl. at Demand for Relief). Plaintiff clarified in his
brief that he “solely sought in his prayer for injunctive relief a stay on prospective final State Court
decision at the time of his U.S. District pleading” and that the final state court decision “was not
rendered at the time of filing both the original June 25, 2014 complaint and the amended July 9,
2014 complaint, nor upon service of the Defendants on July 11, 2014.” (Pl. Opp. Br. at 3). Though
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint and brief do not make clear what he means by a “stay” on a
decision, the Court construes this language to mean that Plaintiff seeks a stay of the proceedings.
The Anti-Injunction Act provides that “[a] court of the United States may not grant an
injunction to stay proceedings in a state court.” 28 U.S.C. § 2283; see also Nken v. Holder, 556
U.S. 418, 442 (2009) (Alito, J., dissenting). Exceptions to the Anti-Injunction Act apply when
“expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect
or effectuate its judgments.” 28 U.S.C. § 2283. “If an injunction falls within one of these three
exceptions, the All-Writs Act provides the positive authority for federal courts to issue injunctions
of state court proceedings.” In re Gen’l Motors Corp. Pick-Up Truck Fuel Tank Products Liability
Litig., 134 F.3d 133, 143 (3d Cir. 1998). Under the All-Writs Act, “[t]he Supreme Court and all
courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their
jurisdiction and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” 28 U.S.C. § 1651. Plaintiff has
not pled any applicable exception in this case, and therefore the Court cannot grant the injunctive
relief that Plaintiff seeks.
For the reasons above, Defendants’ motion to dismiss is GRANTED with prejudice as to
Defendants Judge Sogluizzo and Daniel Pacilio and without prejudice as to the remaining
Defendants, Chief Justice Rabner, Nadler, and Judge Grant. Plaintiff shall have thirty days to file
an amended complaint as to Defendants Chief Justice Rabner, Nadler, and Judge Grant to cure the
deficiencies noted above.
Accordingly, it is on this 6th day of April, 2015,
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants Judge Sogluizzo and Daniel Pacilio
are dismissed with prejudice; and it is further
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s claims against the remaining Defendants are dismissed without
prejudice; and it is further
ORDERED that this Order supersedes the Court’s March 31, 2015 Order on this motion,
(D.E. No. 24); and it is further
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s time to appeal shall run from the date of entry of this Order.
/s Esther Salas______________________
Esther Salas, U.S.D.J.
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