United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO.
C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Honorable Kevin Tierney, a Connecticut Superior Court
Judge (“Judge Tierney”) moved to dismiss in their
entirety all claims asserted against him in the Complaint.
Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss (Mem. in Supp.)
(Doc. No. 17-1) at 1. The plaintiff, Heather Lindsay
(“Lindsay”), objects. See
Plaintiff's Opposition to Mot. to Dismiss (Pl.'s
Opp.) (Doc. No. 29).
reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss is granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
withstand a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The
plausibility standard is not a probability requirement; the
pleading must show, not merely allege, that the pleader is
entitled to relief. Id. Legal conclusions and
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” are
not entitled to a presumption of truth. Id. However,
when reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court must accept the
factual allegations in the operative complaint as true and
draw all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor.
See Graziano v. Pataki, 689 F.3d 110, 114 (2d Cir.
considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a district court must limit
itself to facts stated in the complaint or in documents
attached to the complaint as exhibits or incorporated in the
complaint by reference. “Of course, it may also
consider matters of which judicial notice may be taken under
Fed.R.Evid. 201.” Kramer v. Time Warner Inc.,
937 F.2d 767, 773 (2d Cir. 1991). Such matters include facts
that “can be accurately and readily determined from
sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be
questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201.
was granted conservatorship of a defendant in a Connecticut
State foreclosure case, on June 29, 2017. Complaint (Doc. No.
1) (“Compl.”) at 3. Judge Tierney presided over
the foreclosure matter. Id. at 3-4. Lindsay first
moved to intervene in the foreclosure proceedings, on or
about April 4, 2016. Judge Tierney denied the motion on April
28, 2016, and then “retroactively denied [it] two years
later[, ] on January 11, 2018.” Id. at 4. A
Judgment of Strict Foreclosure was entered, most recently, on
January 11, 2018. See Superior Court Case Lookup,
FST-CV08-5006978-S, (“Docket Sheet”) Entry No.
267.00, available at http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/Case
The Connecticut Superior Court last reset the law days on
August 6, 2018, though the Order makes no reference as to
when the days are set to expire. See id. at Entry
No. 321.00. An appeal to the Connecticut Appellate Court was
filed on or about August 20, 2018, and an amended appeal was
docketed on September 18, 2018. Id. at Entry Nos.
324.00- 325.00. A Notice of Voluntary Petition of Bankruptcy
was filed on September 25, 2018, see id. at Entry
No. 328.00, and an Affidavit of Bankruptcy was docketed on
November 19, 2018, see id. at Entry No. 329.00. The
last entry in the case to date notes that an automatic stay
is in effect. Id. at Entry No. 329.00.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
establishing that [subject matter] jurisdiction
exists.” Sharkey v. Quarantillo, 541 F.3d 75,
82 (2d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). A claim
is properly dismissed “under [Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure] 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
if the court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to
adjudicate it.” Cortland St. Recovery Corp. v.
Hellas Telecomms., S.A.R.L., 790 F.3d 411, 416-17 (2d
Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Tierney argues that this court lacks jurisdiction to hear
this case, pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. The
Rooker-Feldman doctrine “bars a losing party in state
court from seeking what in substance would be appellate
review of the state judgment in a United States district
court, based on the losing party's claim that the state
judgment itself violates the loser's federal
rights.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic
Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 287 (2005) (citation
omitted). The Second Circuit, in analyzing the Supreme
Court's decision in Exxon Mobil, defined four
requirements for the application of Rooker-Feldman:
First, the federal-court plaintiff must have lost in state
court. Second, the plaintiff must “complain[ ] of
injuries caused by [a] state-court judgment[.]” Third,
the plaintiff must “invit[e] district court review and
rejection of [that] judgment[ ].”4 Fourth, the
state-court judgment must have been “rendered before
the district court proceedings ...