FRANCESCA v. U.S. BANK N.A. SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE TO LASALLE BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON BEHALF OF THE HOLDERS OF BEAR STERNS ASSET-BACKED SECURITIES 1 TRUST 2005-FRI
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER DENYING Plaintiff's TRO, (ECF No. 3). Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice. Plaintiff is granted thirty (30) days to file an amended pleading. The Clerk is directed to close the file, etc. Signed by Judge Claire C. Cecchi on 2/8/18. (cm, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil Action No.: 2:18-cv-01152
U.S. BANK N.A. SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE TO
ASSOCIATION ON BEHALF Of THE
HOLDERS OF BEAR STERNS ASSETBACKED SECURITIES 1 TRUST 2005-FRI,
CECCHI, District Judge.
WHEREAS on January 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant with this
Court, (ECF No. 1), and on January 29, 2018, a summons was issued. (ECF No. 2); and
WHEREAS on february 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed an “Emergency Ex Parte Application for
Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause Re: Preliminary Injunction and
Memorandum in Support” (“TRO”). (ECF No. 3); and
WHEREAS Plaintiffs TRO “asks the Court to issue a temporary restraining order
against the transfer or sale of the property[.]” (Id. at 3); and
WHEREAS the property at issue is subject to a default judgment that was issued in the
state foreclosure action. See US. Bank, NA. Successor Trustee to LaSalle Bank of Bear Sterns
Asset Backed Securities I Trust 2005-FR] Asset-Backed Certflcates Series 2005-FR] v.
Francesca, et at., No. F-002494- 16 (N.J. Super. Ct. Ch. Div.) (default judgment entered May 31,
WHEREAS adjudicating the claims in Plaintiff’s complaint or granting Plaintiffs TRO
would be barred by the Rooker-Feidman doctrine, because Plaintiff is seeking to avoid the
default judgment that was issued in the state foreclosure action by bringing this federal action.
See D.C. Court ofAppeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983); Rooker v. Fid. Trust Co., 263
U.S. 413, 414-16 (1923); see also Colahar v. Welts Fargo Bank NA., 56 F. Supp. 3d 603, 607
(D. Del. 2014) (“In addition, the Rooker-feldman doctrine prohibits this court from maintaining
subject matter jurisdiction over [Plaintiffs] motion [for a preliminary injunction and temporary
restraining order,] which effectively seeks to vacate orders of the Superior Court.”).
Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars this Court from adjudicating the claims in Plaintiffs complaint or
granting Plaintiffs TRO because: (1) Plaintiff was unsuccessful in state court and is complaining
of injuries caused by the default judgment; (2) the default judgment was rendered in 2017, before
Plaintiff initially sought relief in federal court in January 2018; and (3) Plaintiff invites this Court
to review and reject the default judgment. See Bierley v. Abate, 661 F. App’x 208, 209 (3d Cir.
2016) (affirming the district court’s dismissal of claims based upon Rooker-Fetdman grounds);
Colahar, 56 F. Supp. 3d at 607 (denying motion for preliminary injunction and temporary
restraining order based upon Rooker-Feidman grounds); and
WHEREAS it is now well-settled law that the proper way for Plaintiff to proceed
concerning his alleged injuries caused by the default judgment would be to seek review and
Although Plaintiffs complaint cites docket number F-0l2470-16 in Mercer County as the state
foreclosure action, (ECF No. 1 at 4), it appears to the Court from Plaintiffs submissions and a
review of both dockets that the correct docket number is indeed F-002494- 16 in Union County.
(ECF No. 1-2 at 34).
relief through the state appellate process, and then to seek certiorari directly to the United States
Supreme Court. This Court is prohibited from providing relief that would effectively reverse the
decisions, directly or indirectly invalidate the determinations, prevent the enforcement of the
default judgment, or void the rulings issued by the state court in the state foreclosure action. See
Francis v. TD Bank, N.A., 597 F. App’x 58, 60-61 (3d Cir. 2014) (affirming a district court’s
dismissal of the claims that were brought in connection with a state foreclosure action as being
barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, because the plaintiff sought redress from a state court
judgment); see also Shipley v. New Castle Cty., No. 08-554, 200$ WL 4330424, at *2 n.2 (D.
Del. Sept. 19, 2008) (denying motion for injunctive relief and temporary restraining order based
on Rooker-Feldman where “Plaintiffs allege[d] injury based upon the actions taken by Superior
Court judges and the Sheriff with regard to the sale of his real estate at a sheriff’s sa[l]e”); and
WHEREAS a final determination in the form of a default judgment has been entered in
the state foreclosure action. However, to the extent that the state foreclosure action may be
considered to be ongoing, and to the extent that Plaintiff requests that this Court intervene in the
state foreclosure action, that relief is barred by the Younger abstention doctrine. See Middlesex
Cy. Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass ‘n, 457 U.S. 423, 435 (1982); Younger v. Harris, 401
U.S. 37, 43-54 (1971). This Court simply has no authority to interfere with the state foreclosure
action if it is indeed ongoing, because important state interests are implicated therein, and
because there is an adequate opportunity to raise federal claims therein. See Cunningham v.
Mortg. Contracting Servs. LLC, 634 F. App’x 361, 362 (3d Cir. 2016) (affirming a district
court’s dismissal of claims brought in connection with a state foreclosure action for being barred
by Younger abstention); Shipley, 2008 WL 4330424, at *2..3 (denying motion for injunctive
relief and temporary restraining order under Younger abstention doctrine where “there [weJre
prior pending state court proceedings that directly relate[d] to Plaintiffs dispute,” the state
“ha[d] an important interest in resolving real estate tax and lien issues,” a “ruling in the Superior
Court proceeding implicate[d] the important interest of preserving the authority of the state’s
judicial system,” and there was “an adequate opportunity to raise
due process claims in state
Accordingly, IT IS on this
2018, in the interests of
justice and for good cause shown:
ORDERED that Plaintiffs TRO, (ECF No. 3), is hereby DENIED; it is further
ORDERED that Plaintiffs complaint, (ECF No. 1), is hereby DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE; it is further
ORDERED that to the extent the pleading deficiencies identified by the Court in this
Memorandum Opinion and Order can be cured by way of amendment, Plaintiff is hereby
GRANTED thirty (30) days to file an amended pleading; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall send a copy olE this Order to Plaintiff by regular
mail and shall CLOSE the file.
CLAIRE C. CECCHI, U.S.D.J.
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