United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT ROBAINA'S MOTION TO
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
and Eileen Rizvi (“Plaintiffs”) filed this
lawsuit on August 21, 2017. Compl., ECF No. 1. Defendant
Antonio Robaina (“Mr. Robaina”) seeks dismissal
from the lawsuit. Based on the reasons stated below, the
motion will be GRANTED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
filed the initial complaint on August 21, 2017. Compl., ECF
No. 1. They alleged that Defendants Urstadt
Biddle Properties (“UBP”) and Andrew Stephanou
conspired to reduce the sale price of the Lanphier Spa.
Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiffs owned the spa from 1992
until 2012, UBP owned the property since 1998 and leased the
property to the Plaintiffs, and Stephanou had managed the spa
and began discussing purchasing the business from Plaintiffs
in 2010. Id. ¶ 19, 24. Plaintiffs alleged that,
as they sought to extend their lease, UBP would state
additional restrictions on the renewal of the lease, and
Stefanou would lower his offering price. Id. ¶
33-36. Plaintiffs alleged that they confronted Stefanou and
terminated his employment as a result, but UBP refused to
negotiate further and rented the facility to Stefanou
instead. Id. ¶¶ 37, 39-41.
lawsuit arises from Plaintiff's allegations that the
parties forged their signature on a settlement agreement:
they claim they only signed part of a Stipulated Judgment,
but that it did not contain a “General Release”
section. Id. ¶¶ 58-60. The initial
complaint in this matter alleged that UBP and Stefanou, aided
by the various law firms and lawyers who had participated in
the state court matters the agreement stemmed from, violated
federal mail fraud statutes and state forgery laws.
initially alleged that they filed a complaint in state court
in 2014 for a Pure Bill of Discovery. Id.
¶¶ 63-64. Judge Antonio Robaina, presided over the
matter and examined the allegedly forged agreements in
camera and denied discovery, “stating the
documents were identical except for a handwritten note on the
upper right hand of the first page and the name of the County
as Fairfield in faded ink . . . .” Id.
Plaintiff's alleged that:
Defendant Robaina is liable for being corrupted or influenced
by a consortium of other Defendants to not perform his
judicial function of impartially assessing the validity of
the alleged "General Release" which was done in
camera without involvement of Plaintiffs' attorney. Thus,
not adjudging impartially the authenticity of purportedly
forged documents and issuing the JDNO Notice finding it was
authentic, undermined the integrity of the Court.
Id. ¶¶ 72-73.
then filed an amended complaint on October 25,
2017. Amend. Compl., ECF No. 22. The amended
complaint added claims under the federal Racketeer Influenced
and Corruption Act (“RICO”) and False Claims Act,
and maintained similar claims to their first complaint.
Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 4-13. While the amended complaint
continues to address the actions of the other defendants,
Defendant Robaina is only mentioned briefly. The amended
complaint also no longer included a charge of “fraud on
Robaina moved to dismiss the amended complaint. See
Robaina Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 41. He argues that the
amended complaint fails to state a claim and should therefore
be dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Alternatively, he
argues that the amended complaint should be dismissed under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) based on the doctrine of judicial
immunity, or under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5) for insufficient
service of process.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
evaluating a motion under Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction, the Court “must accept as true all
material factual allegations in the complaint but need not
draw inferences favorable to the party asserting
jurisdiction.” Shipping Fin. Servs. Corp. v.
Drakos, 140 F.3d 129, 131 (2d Cir. 1998). The plaintiff
bears the burden of showing that subject matter jurisdiction
is proper based on facts existing at the time he or she filed
the complaint. Scelsa v. City Univ. of New York, 76
F.3d 37, 40 (2d Cir. 1996) (citations omitted).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5), a party may file a
motion to dismiss due to “insufficient service of
process.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5). A motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(5) may be granted “if the plaintiff
fails to serve a copy of the summons and complaint on the
defendants pursuant to Rule 4 of the Federal Rules, which
sets forth the federal requirements for service.”
Rzayeva v. United States, 492 F.Supp.2d 60, 74 (D.
Conn. 2007). “Once validity of service has been
challenged, it becomes the ...