MARCHISOTTO v. MALIK et al
OPINION filed. Signed by Judge Zahid N. Quraishi on 7/19/2021. (jmh)
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NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
JOHN F. MARCHISOTTO,
MUDDUSER MALIK, et al.,
Civil Action No.
20-20426 (ZNQ) (LHG)
This matter comes before the Court upon Pro Se Plaintiff John F. Marchisotto’s
(“Plaintiff”) Motion for Preliminary Injunction and for Temporary Restraining Order (“Emergent
Motion”). (Emergent Motion, ECF No. 139.) Defendants have not responded. The Court has
carefully considered Plaintiff’s arguments and decides the matter without oral argument pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78 and Local Civil Rule 78.1. For the reasons set forth herein,
Plaintiff’s Emergent Motion is denied.
Plaintiff filed his Complaint on December 29, 2020 against Defendants, alleging a series
of Constitutional injuries. 1 Plaintiff filed his Emergent Motion on July 15, 2021 in response to a
Richmond County Supreme Court Order (“Judge Colon’s May 6, 2021 Order”). (Emergent Motion
at 1.) In her Order Judge Lizette Colon amended a previous order in that same case, stating, “[t]he
There are too many Defendants to list them all here. For purposes of this Motion, Plaintiff says
he seeks relief only with respect to Louis P. Lepore, Esq., The Law Offices of Louis Lepore P.C.,
LPL 885 LLC, Debra E. Canova, Alberto Rivas, NJ Courts, Middlesex County Superior Court,
and Superior Court Trust Fund Unit (collectively as, “Defendants”). (Emergent Motion at 1,5.)
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Order of the Hon. Orlando Marrazzo, Jr. dated October 28, 2020 is hereby amended to[sic] that all
funds paid and received by the court under Index No. 152396/2019 on hold with the Commissioner
of Finance (Account #21001664) at the request of the Richmond County Clerk, is hereby ordered
transferred to the Superior Court of New Jersey Middlesex County Chancery Division . . . .” (Id.)
(emphasis in original). Plaintiff has not provided the docket number of the case in which he alleges
this Order was issued or a copy of Judge Colon’s May 6, 2021 Order. In his Emergent Motion,
Plaintiff requests a temporary restraining order from this Court: (1) barring Defendants Louis
Lepore, Esq. and Judge Alberto Rivas from contacting one another; (2) enjoining Judge Alberto
Rivas “from issuing any orders pertaining to these $615,562,90[sic] monies being paid out from
the Superior Court Trust Fund Unit to Defendant Lepore, or Defendant Canova”; (3) compelling
the Superior Court Trust Fund Unit to return the $615,562.90 back to New York Trust Asset Unit;
(4) providing “any other order deem just and appropriate by the court to protect these large amounts
of monies”; and, (5) issuing “Preliminary Injunctive Relief Stopping The Release Of
$615,562,90[sic], Monies To Any Party Until Plaintiff’s Appeals Are Adjudicated In Both New
Jersey, And New York Courts.” (Emergent Motion at 5.)
A. Rooker-Feldman Doctrine
Given the relief sought by Plaintiff , the Court construes the instant Motion as an appeal of
Judge Colon’s May 6, 2021 Order. As set forth below, Plaintiff's request is barred by the RookerFeldman doctrine, which divests federal courts of jurisdiction where a federal action “would be
the equivalent of an appellate review of state court order.” FOCUS v. Allegheny Cnty Ct. Com. Pl.,
75 F.3d 834, 840 (3d Cir. 1996). A claim is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine under two
circumstances: (1) “if the federal claim was actually litigated in state court prior to the filing of the
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federal action” or (2) “if the federal claim is inextricably intertwined with the state adjudication,
meaning that federal relief can only be predicated upon a conviction that the state court was
wrong.” In re Madera, 586 F.3d 228, 232 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting In re Knapper, 407 F.3d 573,
580 (3d Cir. 2005)). “If the relief requested in the federal action requires determining that the state
court's decision is wrong or would void the state court's ruling, then the issues are inextricably
intertwined and the district court has no subject matter jurisdiction to hear the suit.” FOCUS, 75
F.3d at 840 (internal quotations omitted).
Plaintiff's requested relief would require this Court to determine that Judge Colon’s May
6, 2021 Order was wrong or void; in fact, making such a determination is precisely what Plaintiff
has asked this Court to do. (See Emergent Motion at 5.) Specifically, Plaintiff’s third request asks
the Court to order the return of the monies subject to Judge Colon’s May 6, 2021 Order to the New
York Trust Asset Unit. (Id.) Thus, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies in this instance and divests
this Court of subject-matter jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff's Motion as to his third request or grant
him the relief he requests. 2
B. Anti-Injunction Act
As to Plaintiff’s remaining four requests, even if the Court were to construe Plaintiff's
Motion to be a request for an injunction to stay the proceedings in the Richmond County Supreme
Court, Plaintiff's requested relief is barred by 28 U.S.C. § 2283 (the “Anti-Injunction Act”). Under
the Anti-Injunction Act, “[a] court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay
proceedings in a State court except  as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or  where
Plaintiff also asserts that he is appealing Judge Colon’s May 6, 2021 Order to the Appeals
Court of the Richmond County Supreme Court and has other unidentified issues on appeal in
New Jersey’s and New York’s State Courts. (Emergent Motion at 6.) The Court notes that these
parallel state court proceedings may at some point implicate additional abstention considerations
under Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800 (1976), but does
reach them because it concludes that the relief Plaintiff seeks is prohibited on other grounds.
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necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or  to protect or effectuate its judgments.” 28 U.S.C. § 2283.
This provision is, on its face, “an absolute prohibition against enjoining state court proceedings,
unless the injunction falls within one of [the] three specifically defined exceptions.” Atlantic Coast
Line R.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Eng'rs, 398 U.S. 281, 286 (1970) (“Atlantic Coast”).
None of the exceptions to the Anti-Injunction Act apply in this case. First, Plaintiff does
not identify an Act of Congress that expressly authorizes the type of injunction that Plaintiff seeks,
nor does Plaintiff identify any other statutory basis for the relief he seeks.
Second, Plaintiff does not identify any issues related to this Court's jurisdiction. An
injunction “in aid of [a court's] jurisdiction” is appropriate only when “some federal injunctive
relief may be necessary to prevent a state from so interfering with a federal court's consideration
or disposition of a case as to seriously impair the federal court's flexibility and authority to decide
that case." Atlantic Coast, 398 U.S. at 294. Such injunctions typically apply in removed, in rem,
or complex federal litigation that involves “a substantial class of persons from multiple states . . .
or a consolidation of cases from multiple districts.” Schwartz v. Nugent, Civ. No. 17-9133, 2018
WL 3069220, at *3 (D.N.J. June 21, 2018) (quoting In re Diet Drugs, 369 F.3d 293, 306 (3d. Cir.
2004)). Here, Plaintiff does not allege that preventing Judge Alberto Rivas and Louis Lepore, Esq.
from communicating with each other, preventing Judge Alberto Rivas from issuing any orders
pertaining to the subject monies, issuing any order to protect the subject monies, or enjoining the
State Court from issuing an order releasing the money until Plaintiff’s various appeals are decided
would be necessary to prevent interference with this Court's jurisdiction.
Finally, Plaintiff does not suggest that the relief sought would protect or effectuate this
Court’s judgment. Injunctions to “protect or effectuate [a court’s] judgment” are characterized as
the “relitigation exception.” Chick Kam Choo v. Exxon Corp., 486 U.S. 140, 147 (1988). “The
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relitigation exception was designed to permit a federal court to prevent state litigation of an issue
that previously was presented to and decided by the federal court.” Id. This exception is
inapplicable because Plaintiff does not identify an existing federal judgment with which the state
court proceeding could conflict or interfere.
Insofar as none of the three exceptions to the Anti-Injunction Act apply in this case, the
Act bars this Court from issuing the injunctive relief Plaintiff seeks. His disagreement with Judge
Colon’s May 6, 2021 Order does not provide a basis for this Court to enjoin a Superior Court
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's Emergent Motion (ECF No. 139) is denied. An
appropriate Order will follow.
Zahid N. Quraishi
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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