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Lanteri v. State

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 7, 2017



          Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Michael Lanteri seeks monetary damages for the State of Connecticut's alleged violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff makes various claims that appear to have occurred while his divorce, alimony, and child custody issues took place. Defendant State of Connecticut has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to establish subject matter jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion and dismisses Plaintiff's Complaint.

         I. Facts

         Plaintiff was married to Nicole Lanteri when he was 39 years old, and their marriage lasted for 11 years. [Dkt. 1 (Compl.) at 6 of PDF]. Nicole is alleged to have mental health issues. Id. at 6, 10 of PDF. The Lanteris began divorce proceedings in June of 2013.[1] As a result of the proceedings, Plaintiff believes that risk of injury to a minor, parental alienation, and spousal abuse were “not held up by Connecticut.” Id. ¶¶ 2, 4, 5. Plaintiff believes the State of Connecticut did not uphold the Constitution, violated his due process and civil rights, and violated the First Amendment by “usi[ing] a religious ceremony to take [his] assets.” Id. ¶ 15. He also believes he has the constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness, which the state court took away from him. Id. ¶ 28.

         The divorce proceedings culminated in a trial upon which dissolution was then entered on October 22, 2014. See [Dkt. 13 (Mot. Dismiss) at 1]; see also Lanteri v. Lanteri, docket 230.00, docket number KNO-FA13-4121693-S. As part of the judgment, Plaintiff lost the right to his property, which he believes violates due process because “[t]he only way to take a person's property according to the Constitution is through Eminent Domain.” Id. ¶ 16. The state court also required Plaintiff to provide spousal support. See Id. ¶ 27. Plaintiff believes this is unconstitutional as he has “the right to divorce a spouse and never have to support a spouse again.” Id. Plaintiff believes his ex-wife “commited crimes against [him] (perjury, child abuse, obstruction of justice, deformation [sic] of character, parent alienation)” and that “[r]ewarding a criminal is not a fair trial.” Id. He also does not think he should have to pay for his son's college education because, after losing all his assets as a result of the proceeding, he “could possibly have to sell the family home to do so.” Id. ¶ 29. Ultimately, the total costs involving the divorce cost Plaintiff over $450, 000.00. Id. at 6 of PDF.

         Following the judgment, his ex-wife's attorneys, Terry and Jeremiah Donovan, filed a Motion for Contempt Post-Judgment, alleging Plaintiff failed to pay his fifty percent share of the costs of preparing two QDROs and failed to cooperate with Attorney Elizabeth McMahon. [Dkt. 13-6 (Mot. Dismiss Ex. C (State Court Mot. Contempt) at 1]. The Superior Court held a hearing and found Plaintiff in contempt. See [Dkt. 1 ¶ 6]. Plaintiff contends that the state court judge did not allow him to speak at the hearing. Id. ¶ 7.

         Plaintiff believes “the [S]tate of Connecticut (DCF)” witnessed child abuse but did not prosecute these crimes. Id. at 6 of PDF. Plaintiff claims issues of child abuse are ongoing as his ex-wife is turning his son against him. Id. He also believes the State of Connecticut threatened to take away his son without due process. Id. ¶ 21. He believes the law was not upheld regarding his premarital assets. Id. ¶ 26. He also contends that the State of Connecticut violated his civil rights as a parent because a judge failed to uphold decisions he and his wife made as parents. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff avers that Connecticut denied his ability to use three years of digital recordings as evidence. Id. ¶ 1. He also takes issue with the fact that the State of Connecticut would not release the names of the judges on the grievance counsel despite his use of the Freedom of Information Act. Id. ¶ 32.

         Plaintiff has filed multiple grievances. The first is against Lori Hellum, Esq., who he believes unlawfully discussed the outcome of a criminal case with his ex-wife's divorce attorney. See Id. ¶ 2. The second is against Judge Pinkus for circumstances involving the divorce proceedings. Id. ¶¶ 30, 33. He believes Judge Pinkus has “left [his] son in an abusive situation” by giving his ex-wife custody half of the week, even after listening “to testimony of the GAL and the Forensic psychiatrist.” Id. ¶¶ 10, 33. The third is against Judge Carbonneau due to his handling of the contempt hearing. Id. at 7 of PDF. The fourth is against Harry Gould, his former attorney, for an unspecified reason. See Id. ¶ 33; see also [Dkt. 17 (Opp'n Mot. Dismiss) at 4]. The fifth is against Terry and Jeremiah Donovan, his ex-wife's attorneys, for actions they took during the divorce proceedings for their own financial gain. See Id. ¶¶ 18, 33-35. He believes the Donovans committed perjury regarding their client's assests, child care, and mental condition. Id. ¶ 14. They also allegedly prompted the case to carry on for a longer period of time than necessary for their personal gain. Id. ¶ 18-19. Plaintiff takes issue with the Donovan's alleged $94, 000 attorneys' fees. Id. ¶ 35. In addition to the issues surrounding the divorce proceedings, he believes Jeremiah Donovan falsely reported a recording to the Navy, which cost him his security clearance and job. Id. ¶ 13.

         Plaintiff also claims that Connecticut ignored Plaintiff's extortion issues arising from his “Secret Security clearance with the Federal Government.” Id.

         II. Legal Standard

         “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. . . .” Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 256 (2013). Subject matter jurisdiction is not waivable, and a lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time, by a party or the court sua sponte. See Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 141 (2012); see also Sebelius v. Auburn Reg'l Med. Ctr., 568 U.S. 145, 153 (2013) (“Objections to a tribunal's jurisdiction can be raised at any time, even by a party that once conceded the tribunal's subject-matter jurisdiction over the controversy.”). If a court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, it must dismiss the action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).

         A “district court must take all uncontroverted facts in the complaint [ ] as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the party asserting jurisdiction.” Tandon v. Captain's Cove Marina of Bridgeport, Inc., 752 F.3d 239, 243 (2d Cir. 2014). However, “where jurisdictional facts are placed in dispute, the court has the power and obligation to decide issues of fact by reference to evidence outside the pleadings. . . .” Id. “In that case, the party asserting subject matter jurisdiction has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that it exists.” Id.

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff has filed suit against the State of Connecticut without identifying any other culpable party. Defendant argues that this suit should be dismissed in its entirety because the Eleventh Amendment bars suit against Defendant unless it waives such immunity. [Dkt. 13 at 3]. Defendant also requests that the Court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state claims. Id. at 5. Plaintiff, however, contends that the Eleventh ...

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