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Moran v. Town of Cheshire

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 23, 2019

JESSICAVERNER MORAN, Est of, JOHN VERNER MORAN, Exc., Plaintiffs,
v.
TOWN OF CHESHIRE et al., Defendants.

          ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY COMPLAINT SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED

          Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge

         Plaintiffs have filed this lawsuit pro se alleging misconduct in connection with a foreclosure and ejectment from a family home. Because it does not appear that the complaints allege facts that give rise to plausible grounds for federal jurisdiction or state plausible grounds for relief, the Court is considering whether to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Before the Court dismisses this action, however, the Court will describe its concerns and permit plaintiffs an opportunity to file a response and/or an amended complaint to show why this action should not be dismissed.

         Background

         There are two documents that have been filed and labeled as “complaints” in this action. Docs. #1 and #21. The first complaint (Doc. #1) is composed of about 131 pages, which includes a series of attachments. The second complaint (Doc. #21) is just 5 pages and appears to be duplicative of parts of the first complaint.

         The complaints name two putative plaintiffs: “Jessica Verner Moran/Est. of” and “John Verner Moran/Exc.” All of the papers filed by plaintiffs in this case appear to be signed by John Verner Moran, and the papers reflect that Jessica Verner Moran has passed away. Under Connecticut law, “[a]n estate is not a legal entity. It is neither a natural nor artificial person, but is merely a name to indicate the sum total of the assets and liabilities of the decedent or incompetent. Not having a legal existence, it can neither sue nor be sued.” Rock v. Univ. of Connecticut, 323 Conn. 26, 32 (2016). Accordingly, there appears to be no basis for this lawsuit to proceed in the name of Jessica Verner Moran or the Estate of Jessica Verner Moran, and I will henceforth refer to the operative plaintiff in this case as John Verner Moran.

         The complaints confusingly names the following sets of paired defendants: “Town of Cheshire, Connectciut [sic] (Town Manager Sean Kimball[)], ” “State of Connecticut (Attorney General William Tong), ” and “Virgo Municipal Finance Fund Inc. L.P. (Atty. Joshua Gilman), ” and “Ricci Construction Group Inc. (Atty. Kevin J. Hecht).” Doc. #1 at 1; Doc. #21. It is not clear if Moran intends to proceed against the entities named, the persons named, or both.

         The gravamen of the complaints appears to be that defendants conspired to foreclose on Moran’s family home at 257 Fenn Road in Cheshire, Connecticut, before unlawfully ejecting him from the house in violation of numerous federal and state laws. See Doc. #1-1; Doc. #21. Moran appears to allege that Virgo Finance initiated the foreclosure on his home while acting as the Town of Cheshire’s collection agent in recovering tax payments. See Doc. #1-1 at 2. Moran includes with his complaint a copy of a Connecticut Superior Court docket sheet reflecting foreclosure proceedings on the property, see Doc. #1-19 at 7-10; see also Virgo Mun. Fin. Fund, LP v. Moran, NNH-CV13-6041879-S (Conn. Super. 2013), as well as a Superior Court order granting an application to eject Moran from the property, see Doc. #1-5 at 2. And indeed, the Superior Court’s own records reflect that a judgment of foreclosure by sale was entered on May 30, 2017, with an execution of ejectment issued on January 19, 2018. See Virgo Mun. Fin. Fund, LP v. Moran, NNH-CV13-6041879-S, Doc. ##121.00, 159.00 (Conn. Super. 2013).

         The second complaint summarizes the “charges” as follows:

Failure to provide Plaintiff(s) a Fair Due Process Eviction / Auction/Foreclosure via an illegal Ejectment, ignoring evidence and fabr[]icating illegal court documents. 2. Conspired to false and maliciously commit[] an[] illegal Ejectment upon the person of John Verner Moran. 3. Engaged in deceitful conduct. 4. Intentionally inflicted emotional distress, resulting in P.T.S.D. 5. Acted negligently in ignoring Jessica Verner Moran’s Last Will and Testament. 6. Acted negligently in ignoring the Federal Homestead Law / CT Code: 52/352. 7. Ill[eg]al seizure of the contents of the Sovereign Verner-Moran Homestead (Est, 1740) 8. Acted negligently in ignoring the “sovereign” status of the Verner-Moran Homestead (Est. 1740).

Doc. #21 at 2 (underlining omitted).

         Discussion

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. A complaint filed in federal court must allege facts that give rise to plausible grounds to conclude that the court has federal jurisdiction. See Lapaglia v. Transamerica Cas. Ins. Co., 155 F.Supp. 3d 153, 155 (D. Conn. 2016). “If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).

         Moreover, a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the party is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is well established that “pro se complaints must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013); see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants). Although the Court must accept as true all factual matters alleged in a complaint, a complaint may not survive unless its factual recitations state a claim to relief that is at least plausible on its face. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Kim v. Kimm, 884 F.3d 98, 103 (2d Cir. 2018). A complaint that fails to allege plausible grounds for relief may be subject to dismissal by the Court on its own initiative pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         The Rooker-Fe ...


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