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Koch v. Koch

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 2, 2019

VICTORIA KOCH, Plaintiff,
v.
PAUL KOCH, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Victor A. Bolden United States District Judge

         On March 29, 2019, consistent with this Court's inherent authority to manage its docket with a “view toward the efficient and expedient resolution of cases, ” Dietz v. Bouldin, 136 S.Ct. 1885, 1892 (2016), the Court ordered Paul Koch (“Defendant”)-who had removed this case for a second time from Connecticut Superior Court to this Court-to show cause why this Court should continue to retain jurisdiction over this case, why he should not be enjoined from making any further filings in this Court regarding this or any other related subject matter, and to appear in-person at a hearing on April 4, 2019. Order to Show Cause, ECF No. 8 (Mar. 29, 2019).

         For the reasons explained below, the Court DISMISSES AND REMANDS this action to the Connecticut Superior Court, DENIES all remaining motions as moot, and ENJOINS Mr. Koch from any future filings regarding this or any related matter.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On July 24, 2018, Mr. Koch first removed this case from the Family Division of the Superior Court of the State of Connecticut in Stamford/Norwalk. Notice of Removal, Koch v. Koch, No. 3:18-cv-1225 (VAB), ECF No. 1 (July 24, 2018) (“Notice of Removal”). Victoria Koch (“Plaintiff”) filed the underlying state court action on March 9, 2017, seeking to dissolve her marriage, to win primary physical custody of her children, and to establish temporary and permanent child support and alimony payments. See Notice of Removal, Koch v. Koch, No. 3:18-cv-01225 (VAB), ECF No. 1 at 10 (July 24, 2018) (Superior Court E-Filing Docket Sheet), Notice of Removal, Koch v. Koch, No. 3:18-cv-01225 (VAB), ECF No. 1 at 7-8 (July 24, 2018) (Complaint, dated Feb. 28, 2017).

         Mr. Koch also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, Koch v. Koch, No. 3:18-cv-1225 (VAB), ECF No. 2 (July 24, 2018). The Court referred the motion to Magistrate Judge Garfinkel. Order Referring Motion, No. 3:18-cv-1225 (VAB), ECF No. 8 (July 26, 2018).

         On August 1, 2018, Magistrate Judge Garfinkel granted Mr. Koch's motion but issued a Recommended Ruling of Dismissal, finding under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) that the case should be dismissed because the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine to review Mr. Koch's claims. See Recommended Ruling, Koch v. Koch, No. 3:18-cv-1225 (VAB), ECF No. 11 (Aug. 1, 2018) (“Rec. Ruling”).

         Mr. Koch failed to file an objection to the Recommended Ruling by the August 15, 2018 deadline. He did, however, file a notice of bankruptcy on August 16, 2018, arguing that his bankruptcy proceeding automatically stayed these proceedings.[1] See Defendant's Notice of Filing Bankruptcy Petition and Claim for Statutory Stay by Reason of Bankruptcy, Koch v. Koch, No. 3:18-cv-1225 (VAB), ECF No. 12 (Aug. 16, 2018).

         On October 12, 2018, the Court adopted Judge Garfinkel's Recommended Ruling, but not because of Rooker-Feldman. Instead, the Court remanded the action to state court based on two fatal errors with Mr. Koch's removal: (1) the removal did not comply with the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1446; and (2) even if Plaintiff had timely removed, the Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. Order Adopting Recommended Ruling and Remanding the Action, Koch v. Koch, No. 3:18-cv-01225 (VAB), ECF No. 13 (Oct. 12, 2018).

         On October 29, 2018, the Clerk of the Court remanded this action to the Connecticut Superior Court for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk. See Docket Entry, Koch v. Koch, No. 3:18-cv-01225 (VAB), ECF No. 15 (Oct. 29, 2018).

         On March 29, 2019, Mr. Koch filed a second notice of removal, seeking to remove the same action to this Court. Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1 (Mar. 29, 2019). Mr. Koch also moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and to participate in electronic filing. See Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, ECF No. 2 (Mar. 29, 2019); Motion by Self-Represented Litigant to Participate in Electronic Filing, ECF No. 3 (Mar. 29, 2019).

         That same day, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause, ordering Mr. Koch to “appear in person on April 4, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. to address this Order and explain why this Court should continue to retain jurisdiction over this case and why he should not be enjoined from making any further filings in this court regarding this or any other related subject matter.” Order to Show Cause, ECF No. 8 at 8 (Mar. 29, 2019) (“Order to Show Cause”).

         On April 2, 2019, the Court granted in part and denied in part Mr. Koch's motion to participate in electronic filing, finding that it was “premature to permit Mr. Koch to file electronically at this time” but permitting him to receive electronic notifications and notices issued by the Court. Order, ECF No. 9 (Apr. 2, 2019).

         On April 4, 2019, Mr. Koch appeared for the show cause hearing and requested a continuance. Minute Entry, ECF No. 10 (Apr. 5, 2019). The Court continued the hearing to May 9, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. and ordered any written submissions to be filed by May 3, 2019. Id.

         Mr. Koch did not timely file any written submissions before the May 3, 2019 deadline.

         On May 7, 2019, the Court moved the time of the May 9, 2019 hearing to 2:30 p.m. Notice of E-Filed Calendar, ECF No. 12 (May 7, 2019).

         On May 9, 2019, shortly before the hearing was to begin, Mr. Koch moved to continue and extend time to respond to the Order to Show Cause. Minute Entry, ECF No. 14 (May 9, 2019); Amended Emergency Motion for Extension of Time and Continuance of Hearing for 45 Days, ECF No. 13 (May 9, 2019). Mr. Koch did not, however, appear for the hearing, and the Court took the motion under advisement. See Minute Entry, ECF No. 14 (May 9, 2019).

         On May 10, 2019, the Court granted in part and denied in part Mr. Koch's motion for a continuance and extension of time. Order, ECF No. 15 (May 10, 2019). The Court permitted Mr. Koch to file any written submission in response to the Order to Show Cause by May 24, 2019, and continued the hearing to May 29, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. Id. The Court further noted that, after these deadlines had passed, it would rule on the jurisdictional and filing-injunction issues raised in the Court's Order to Show Cause. Id.

         On May 24, 2019, Mr. Koch moved for another extension of time and continuance of the hearing. Emergency Motion for Extension of Time and Continuance of Hearing for 45 Days, ECF No. 16 (May 24, 2019). Mr. Koch ...


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