United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER REVIEW OF PLAINTIFF'S
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge
complaint filed in this action, Plaintiff alleges that the
defendants unlawfully separated him from his two minor
children. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff has named
twenty-five defendants, including two state court judges, a
family law magistrate, three attorneys, and several school
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.
3), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 8.) In
accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary
review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). After a review of Plaintiff's
complaint, I recommend the Court dismiss the matter.
federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is
designed to ensure meaningful access to the federal courts
for those persons unable to pay the costs of bringing an
action. When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis,
however, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time
if the court determines, ” inter alia, that the action
is “frivolous or malicious” or “fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted” or
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). “Dismissals [under § 1915] are
often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as
to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense
of answering such complaints.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).
considering whether a complaint states a claim for which
relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all
well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all
reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v.
Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to “less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972),
this is “not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not
required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim,
Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir.
1980). To allege a civil action in federal court, it is not
enough for a plaintiff merely to allege that a defendant
acted unlawfully; a plaintiff must affirmatively allege facts
that identify the manner by which the defendant subjected the
plaintiff to a harm for which the law affords a remedy.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
alleges that the defendants kidnapped and separated his minor
children from him. (Complaint at 5.) Plaintiff, however, has
not alleged any facts regarding the conduct of any individual
defendant. Rather, Plaintiff's allegations “devoid
of [the] further factual enhancement” necessary to
state a cause of action. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557 (internal quotation marks
omitted)). Plaintiff, therefore, has failed to assert an
given the nature of the claim and the identity of the named
defendants, Plaintiff appears to be challenging the result of
state court proceedings regarding the custody of his minor
children. To the extent that Plaintiff's claim
constitutes a challenge to a state court judgment,
Plaintiff's complaint is precluded under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine. “The
Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevents the lower federal
courts from exercising jurisdiction over cases brought by
‘state-court losers' challenging ‘state-court
judgments rendered before the district court proceedings
commenced.'” Lance v. Dennis, 546 U.S.
459, 460 (2006) (quoting Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic
Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005)); Walczak v.
Mass. State Retirement Bd., 141 F.3d 1150 (1st Cir.
1998) (unpublished) (citing D.C. Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 476 (1983); Rooker v.
Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415-16 (1923)).
on the foregoing analysis, after a review pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), I recommend the Court dismiss
may file objections to those specified portions of a
magistrate judge's report or proposed findings or
recommended decisions entered pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) for which de novo review by the district court
is sought, together with a ...