United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Douglas K. Harris, Plaintiff,
Juvenile Court Saint Paul Minnesota, et al., Defendants.
Paul L. Maloney Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
PHILLIP J. GREEN United States Magistrate Judge
initiated this matter pro se on November 18, 2016,
against the St. Paul, Minnesota, Juvenile Court and the
Minnesota Child Protection Services (CPS). (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff complains that his Fourth and Fifth Amendment
rights were violated during the process of CPS' removal
of his child from a Minnesota hospital, and that he was
denied a fair trial by the Juvenile Court. Plaintiff appears
to be a resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (See ECF
No. 1, Page 2, 3). The defendants are Minnesota entities.
There appears to be no connection between any of the parties
and the State of Michigan.
granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (see ECF No. 4), the Court has
conducted an initial review of the complaint, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), to determine whether it is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Having conducted this initial review,
the Court concludes that plaintiff's complaint must be
dismissed for, among other things, lack of
venue. Plaintiff's claims against the
Juvenile Court must also be dismissed for lack of subject
refers to “the geographic specification of the proper
court or courts for the litigation of a civil action.”
28 U.S.C. § 1390(a). It is a creature of statute. As
relevant to this case, venue properly lies in any of the
following judicial districts: (1) one in which “any
defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the
State in which the district is located”; (2) one in
which “a substantial part of the events or omissions
giving rise to the claim occurred”; and (3) any
district in which any defendant is subject to the court's
personal jurisdiction, if there is no district in which the
action may otherwise be brought. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
Plaintiff's residency is determined by the jurisdiction
in which he is domiciled. See 28 U.S.C. §
1391(c)(1). Defendants' are deemed residents in any
judicial district in which they are subject to the
court's personal jurisdiction. There is nothing in the
pleadings in this case to suggest that the Minnesota Juvenile
Court or the Minnesota CPS are subject to this Court's
personal jurisdiction. Cf. Gerber v. Riordan, 649
F.3d 514, 517 (6th Cir. 2011) (addressing the requirements
for personal jurisdiction).
evident that this Court is not the proper venue in which to
bring this action. Accordingly, I recommend that it be
dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).
to the extent plaintiff's complaint challenges the
decisions of the St. Paul, Minnesota, Juvenile Court, this
Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. The
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, which is based on two
United States Supreme Court decisions interpreting 28 U.S.C.
§ 1257(a),  precludes review by lower federal courts
of state-court judgments. See Kovacic v. Cuyahoga County
Dep't of Children & Family Services, 606 F.3d
301, 309 (6th Cir. 2010). Congress enacted the provisions in
Section 1257(a) to prohibit end-runs around state-court
judgments that might occur when parties go to federal court
seeking review of a state-court decision. To accomplish this,
the statute provides that “[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).
Supreme Court clarified the scope of the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, stating that it “is
confined to cases . . . brought by 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.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus.
Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 283-84 (2005). Following
Exxon, the Sixth Circuit held that the pertinent
inquiry is the “source of the injury” upon which
the plaintiff bases his federal claim. McCormick v.
Braverman, 451 F.3d 382, 393 (6th Cir. 2006). “If
the source of the injury is the state court decision, then
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine would prevent the
district court from asserting jurisdiction. If there is some
other source of injury, such as a third party's actions,
then the plaintiff asserts an independent claim.”
reading of plaintiff's complaint reveals that his claim
against the Juvenile Court falls squarely within the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, as he alleges as the source
of his injury the lack of a fair trial and the state
judge's violations of the law. (See ECF No. 1,
PageID.1). Accordingly, I recommend that plaintiff's
claim against the Juvenile Court be dismissed for want of
subject-matter jurisdiction. See F ed. R. Civ. P.
reasons articulated herein, the undersigned recommends that
plaintiff's complaint be dismissed with prejudice.
objections to this Report and Recommendation must be filed
and served within fourteen days of service of this notice on
you. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). All
objections and responses to objections are governed by W.D.
Mich. LCivR 72.3(b). Failure to file timely and specific
objections may constitute a waiver of any further right of
appeal. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985);
Keeling v. Warden, Lebanon Corr. Inst., 673 F.3d
452, 458 (6th Cir. 2012); United States v. Branch,
537 F.3d 582, 587 (6th Cir. 2008). General objections do not