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Green v. Halbleib

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

April 27, 2018

MICHAEL JOHN GREEN PLAINTIFF
v.
EDITH FRICK HALBLEIB, et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Greg N. Stivers, Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (DN 6, 8), and Defendant's Motion to Supplement (DN 9). The motions are ripe for adjudication. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motions are GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         American Tax Funding, LLC (“ATF”) filed suit in Jefferson Circuit Court in 2008 to foreclose a tax lien it held on Plaintiff Michael Green's (“Plaintiff”) real property. (Def. Halbleib's Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss Ex. 1, DN 8-2 [hereinafter State Court Docket]).[1] Plaintiff attempted to delay the sale of his property by filing five bankruptcy petitions and initiating multiple federal lawsuits against various individuals-including Defendants in this action, James Ballinger (“Ballinger”), an attorney representing ATF, and Edith Halbleib (“Halbleib”), the Jefferson County Master Commissioner (collectively “Defendants”)-but his property was ultimately sold at a master commissioner sale. See, e.g., In re Green, No. 16-33165-THF (Bankr. W.D. Ky. Jan 6, 2017); Green v. Edwards, No. 3:12-cv-358-S (W.D. Ky. Aug. 3, 2012). One of the lawsuits Plaintiff filed against Ballinger is currently pending before another judge in the Western District of Kentucky. See Complaint at 1, Green v. Bornstein, No. 3:17-cv-00201-DJH-DW (W.D. Ky. Apr. 4, 2017) (DN 1).

         Once his property was sold, Plaintiff brought the instant pro se action. Though not entirely clear, the Complaint appears to challenge the state court's judgment regarding the sale of his property and to allege that Defendants' conduct throughout the foreclosure proceedings violated his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights. (See Compl. 1-4, DN 1). For instance, he claims that the purpose of his suit “to show [that Defendants used] illegal tactics to achieve a false judgment . . . .” (Compl. 1). He further alleges that Halbleib took various illegal actions such as using information concerning “child arearment [sic] payments with involvement with children [sic]” during the proceedings and making him wait “fifteen minutes” before beginning a scheduled meeting. (Compl. 1-4).

         Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint. (Def. Halbleib's Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss 4-6, DN 8-1 [hereinafter Def. Halbleib's Mot. Dismiss]; Def. Ballinger's Mot. Dismiss 1-4, DN 6). Further, by separate motion, Ballinger asked the Court to sanction Plaintiff for continually filing frivolous lawsuits against him by dismissing the Complaint with prejudice. (Def. Ballinger's Mot. Dismiss 9-10). Defendants' motions are ripe for adjudication.

         II. JURISDICTION

         This action arises under the laws of the United States, and this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         Defendants move to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds that: (1) pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain it; and (2) it fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. (Def. Halbleib's Mot. Dismiss 4-6; Def. Ballinger's Mot. Dismiss 1-4). The Court will address each argument in turn.

         1. Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

         Defendants argue that, pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the Complaint. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine provides that federal district courts lack subject-matter jurisdiction to review state court decisions and orders. See Rooker v. Fid. Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983). In assessing the doctrine's applicability, courts determine whether the federal claim is inextricably intertwined with the state court judgment-i.e., whether “the federal claim succeeds only to the extent that the state court wrongfully decided the issues before it.” Hutcherson v. Lauderdale Cty., 326 F.3d 747, 756 (6th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted).

         Here, the Complaint appears-at least at times-to challenge the state court judgment.[2]For example, it states that the purpose of this action is “to correct the false judgment against Plaintiff . . . .” (Compl. 1). In addition, the Complaint appears to take issue with certain of the Master Commissioner's decisions throughout the foreclosure proceedings, including the determination whether the statute of limitations precluded the sale. (See Compl. 2 (alleging that Halbleib committed error when she ignored “proof of legal statutes of limitations [sic]”)). As a result, to the extent Plaintiff is challenging state court decisions and orders related to his foreclosure proceedings rather than Defendants' alleged misconduct throughout said proceedings, this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear it. See Kovacic v. Cuyahoga Cty. Dep't of Children & Family Servs., 606 F.3d 301, ...


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