Lesane v. Breeden et al
ORDER granting 32 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; granting 32 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction; denying 17 Motion for Default Judgment; granting 18 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; granting 18 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction; granting 23 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The clerk is DIRECTED to close this case. Signed by District Judge Louise Wood Flanagan on 6/3/2021. (A copy of this Order was sent via US mail to Shaquan Lavena Lesane at 6325 Falls of the Neuse Rd., Suite 391, Raleigh, NC 27615.) (Collins, S.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
HAMADANI, JEFFREY EDWARDS, JR., )
and GERALD BAKER,
SHAQUAN LAVENA LESANE,
This matter is before the court on pro se plaintiff’s motion for default judgment (DE 17), as
well as motions to dismiss filed by defendant Sam Hamadani (“Hamadani”) (DE 18), defendant
Gerald Baker (“Baker”) (DE 23), and defendant Jonathan Breeden (“Breeden”) (DE 32). The issues
raised have been briefed fully, and in this posture, are ripe for ruling. For the following reasons,
plaintiff’s motion is denied, and defendants’ motions are granted.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Plaintiff commenced this action on December 14, 2020, asserting claims against defendants
arising out of a state court custody proceeding in Wake County, North Carolina. Plaintiff brings
claims under the Fair Debt Collections Act, the False Claims Act, the Treaty of Peace and Friendship,
as well as claims for invasion of privacy, kidnapping, embezzlement, bankruptcy, bank fraud, mail
fraud, perjury, conspiracy, enticement into slavery, and involuntary solitude, among others. Plaintiff
seeks $90,000.00 in damages and attorneys’ fees and return of her “offspring to [her] custody
immediately.” (Compl. at 9-10).
On January 20, 2021, the court granted defendant Hamadani’s motion for extension of time,
allowing defendant Hamadani until February 24, 2021, to answer or otherwise respond to complaint.
Two days later, plaintiff filed the instant motion for default judgment against all defendants, attaching
proposed show cause orders and a state court filing.
On February 17, 2021, defendant Hamadani filed the instant motion to dismiss, seeking
dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint on the basis of sovereign immunity, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine,
and for failure to state a claim. Shortly thereafter, defendant Baker also moved to dismiss plaintiff’s
complaint under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff responded in
opposition to both motions to dismiss on March 15, 2021.
On March 23, 2021, defendant Breeden filed the instant motion to dismiss, seeking to dismiss
plaintiff’s claims on the basis of insufficient process, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, and for failure to
state a claim. Plaintiff responded in opposition on April 13, 2021. Thereafter, plaintiff filed document
purporting to appoint the undersigned as plaintiff’s trustee, as well as Internal Revenue Service Form
56, wherein the undersigned is listed as plaintiff’s fiduciary.1
STATEMENT OF FACTS
The facts alleged in plaintiff’s complaint may be summarized as follows. Plaintiff alleges
that defendant Hamadani entered “unconstitutional judgments” in “Wake County Family court”,
ordering the Wake County Sheriff’s Department to remove plaintiff’s son from her home. (Compl.
at 6-7). In addition, defendant Hamadani allegedly barred plaintiff from having any contact with her
son. (Id. at 7). As a result, plaintiff has not seen her son in over a year and lacks knowledge as to his
Motions to Dismiss
Defendant Jeffery Edwards, Jr. has not appeared in this action.
Standard of Review
A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) challenges the court’s subject matter jurisdiction.
Such motion may either 1) assert the complaint fails to state facts upon which subject matter
jurisdiction may be based, or 2) attack the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in fact, apart from
the complaint. Adams v. Bain, 697 F.2d 1213, 1219 (4th Cir. 1982). Where a defendant raises a
“facial challenge to standing that do[es] not dispute the jurisdictional facts alleged in the complaint,”
the court accepts “ the facts of the complaint as true as [the court] would in context of a Rule 12(b)(6)
challenge.” Kenny v. Wilson, 885 F.3d 280, 287 (4th Cir. 2018).
To survive 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)).
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. In evaluating whether a claim is stated, “[the] court accepts all well-pled facts as
true and construes these facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,” but does not consider “legal
conclusions, elements of a cause of action, . . . bare assertions devoid of further factual enhancement[,]
. . . unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.”
Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v.
Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 255 (4th Cir. 2009) (quotations omitted).
Defendants Baker, Hamadani, and Breeden argue that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars
plaintiff’s claims. For judicial review of questions arising under federal law, “[f]inal judgments or
decrees rendered by the highest court of a State in which a decision could be had, may be reviewed
by the Supreme Court by writ of certiorari.” 28 U.S.C. § 1257(a). Construing its grant of appellate
jurisdiction under § 1257, the United States Supreme Court has explained that district courts “do not
have jurisdiction . . . over challenges to state court decisions in particular cases arising out of judicial
proceedings even if those challenges allege that the state court’s action was unconstitutional.” Dist.
of Columbia Ct. of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 486 (1983); see Rooker v. Fid. Tr. Co., 263
U.S. 413, 415–16 (1923). In Feldman, the Court further explained that claims that were “inextricably
intertwined” with a state court’s decision were not subject to review in federal district court. 460 U.S.
at 482 n. 16.
Construing Feldman’s language, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
previously held that a claim is “inextricably intertwined” with a state court decision if “‘success on
the federal claim depends upon a determination that the state court wrongly decided the issues before
it.’” Shooting Point, LLC v. Cumming, 368 F.3d 379, 383 (4th Cir. 2004) (quoting Plyler v. Moore,
129 F.3d 728, 731 (4th Cir. 1997)). However, the Supreme Court has since clarified that the RookerFeldman doctrine applies in the narrow set of cases where “the losing party in state court filed suit in
federal court after the state proceedings ended, complaining of an injury caused by the state-court
judgment and seeking review and rejection of that judgment.” Exxon Mobil Corp., 544 U.S. at 291.
“In other words, the doctrine simply precludes federal district courts from exercising what would be,
in substance, appellate jurisdiction over final state-court judgments.” Hulsey v. Cisa, 947 F.3d 246,
250 (4th Cir. 2020) (citing Thana v. Bd. of License Comm’rs for Charles Cty., Maryland, 827 F.3d
314, 320 (4th Cir. 2016)).
Here, plaintiff complains of “unconstitutional judgments” entered in “Wake County Family
court”, which removed her son from her home, and she seeks return of her “offspring to [her] custody
immediately.” (Compl. at 6-10). Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, this court lacks jurisdiction to
review or reject those state court judgments. See Exxon, 544 U.S. at 284 (explaining that the RookerFeldman doctrine applies to “cases 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.”). Therefore, motions to dismiss filed by defendants Baker,
Breeden, and Hamadani are granted, and plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed without prejudice.2
Motion for Default Judgment
Where the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff’s claims, plaintiff’s motion for
default judgment is denied. Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env’t, 523 U.S. 83, 94 (1998) (“Without
jurisdiction the court cannot proceed at all in any cause.” (citations omitted)); cf. Koehler v. Dodwell,
152 F.3d 304, 308 (4th Cir. 1998) (“A judgment entered by a court that lacks subjectmatter jurisdiction is void.”); see also Wright & Miller, Fed. Prac. & Proc. § 2682 (3d ed.) (“Before
a default can be entered, the court must have jurisdiction over the party against whom the judgment
Plaintiff’s filings, purporting to create a fiduciary relationship between herself and
undersigned, rely upon the Powers of Appointment Act of 1951 (“the Act”). The Act, which pertains
to estate taxes, does not confer any fiduciary status upon the undersigned.
Based on the foregoing, plaintiff’s motion for default judgment (DE 17) is DENIED. Motions
to dismiss, filed by defendants Hamadani, Baker, and Breeden, are GRANTED. (DE 18, 23, 32).
Plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The clerk is DIRECTED to close
SO ORDERED, this the 3rd day of June, 2021.
LOUISE W. FLANAGAN
United States District Judge
Where the court lacks jurisdiction over plaintiff’s claims, such claims are also dismissed against non-moving
defendant Jeffery Edwards, Jr.
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