United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
Charlene Edwards Honeywell United States District Judge.
cause comes before the Court upon Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 22). Plaintiff did
not file a response. The Court, having considered the motion
and being fully advised in the premises, will grant
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
Alexandra Love Prosperous (“Plaintiff”),
proceeding pro se, filed a form Complaint in this
Court (Doc. 1) on June 12, 2017 against Defendants Kimberly
Todd, Sherwood Coleman, James Pierce, and Jack Helinger,
individually and in their official capacities as Judges in
the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pinellas County,
Florida (“Defendants”). The Complaint cites 42
U.S.C. § 1983 as the basis for the Court's
jurisdiction, alleging violations of Plaintiff's Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States
Constitution. Doc. 1, p. 3.
allegations against Defendants stem from various Pinellas
County Court (the “state court”) proceedings
involving Plaintiff's minor child's welfare and
disputes between Plaintiff and the minor child's father
regarding paternity, parental responsibility, and a domestic
violence injunction. See id., pp. 7-10; Doc. 22, pp.
3-6; Doc. 22-1; Doc. 23.
support of her claims here,  Plaintiff cites to certain
judicial actions taken by each of the Defendants. Doc. 1, pp.
7-10. Plaintiff alleges that at certain proceedings, Judge
Todd “continually refused to allow me to submit
evidence or produce witnesses to counter the accusations made
against me” and “continually allowed falsified
reports and information to be admitted as part of the record
and refused to allow me to address these issues.”
Id., p. 7. Plaintiff also takes issue with Judge
Coleman's alteration of a domestic violence injunction at
a court proceeding on October 5, 2016. Id., p. 8.
Plaintiff alleges Judge Coleman refused to hear certain of
Plaintiff's arguments and that the statements of a doctor
should not have been considered. Id. Plaintiff's
allegations against Judge Pierce stem from a March 15, 2017
hearing on an emergency motion. Id., p. 9. Plaintiff
alleges she provided Judge Pierce with graphic evidence of
her son's abuse but that Judge Pierce “issued no
ruling on my emergency motion.” Id.
Plaintiff's allegations concerning Judge Helinger stem
from court appearances between August 2015 and September
2016. Id., p. 10. Plaintiff alleges Judge Helinger
told Plaintiff that if she did not cooperate, she
“would be arrested for failure to submit to his
court's jurisdiction.” Id. Plaintiff
further alleges Judge Helinger “refused evidence that
would establish the necessity for a permanent order of
protection to be in place” and “refused to hear
testimony or [accept] evidence as part of a hearing.”
Id. Plaintiff also alleges Judge Helinger conducted
a hearing “in contradiction to well-established
procedures for this type of hearing within this
jurisdiction.” Id. As for relief, Plaintiff
seeks “$50, 000, 000.00 Punitive Damages” and
that the “Court recommend Criminal Charges.”
Id., p. 5.
from pro se litigants are held to a less stringent
standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys. Tannenbaum
v. U.S., 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998). However,
they still must meet minimal pleading standards. Pugh v.
Farmers Home Admin., 846 F.Supp. 60, 61 (M.D. Fla.
survive a motion to dismiss, a pleading must include a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). Labels, conclusions and formulaic recitations of
the elements of a cause of action are not sufficient.
Id. (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Furthermore, mere naked assertions are
not sufficient. Id. A complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, which, if accepted as true, would
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570). “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. (citation
omitted). The court, however, is not bound to accept as true
a legal conclusion stated as a “factual
allegation” in the complaint. Id.
defendant may attack subject matter jurisdiction in two
manners: facially and factually. McMaster v. U.S.,
177 F.3d 936, 940 (11th Cir. 1999). A facial attack requires
the court to assess, assuming the allegations of the
complaint to be true, if the complaint sufficiently alleges a
basis for subject matter jurisdiction. McElmurray v.
Consol. Gov't of Augusta-Richmond Cnty., 501 F.3d
1244, 1251 (11th Cir. 2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). In
contrast, a factual attack challenges the “existence of
subject matter jurisdiction in fact, irrespective of the
pleadings, and matters outside the pleadings, such as
testimony and affidavits, are considered.” Id.
(citing Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d 1525, 1529
(11th Cir. 1990)). If a court finds at any point in the
litigation that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over an
action, it must dismiss the complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3);
Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 506 (2006).
argue Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed because
(1) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's claims pursuant to the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine; (2) Plaintiff fails to
state a claim for which relief can be granted; (3) Defendants
are immune from suit pursuant to Eleventh Amendment Immunity;
(4) Defendants are immune from suit under judicial immunity;
and (5) Defendants are immune from suit under the defense of
qualified immunity. Doc. 22, p. 3. Because district courts
are obligated to review subject matter jurisdiction whenever
it may be lacking, Cadet v. Bulger, 377 F.3d 1173,
1179 (11th Cir. 2004), the Court must first address
Defendants' claim that the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman
Doctrine. Doc. 22, pp. 6-8. As explained in greater
detail below, to the extent Plaintiff's claims are not
barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, they are due
to be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevents lower federal
courts “from exercising appellate jurisdiction over
final state-court judgments.” Nicholson v.
Shafe,558 F.3d 1266, 1268 (11th Cir. 2009). In
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544
U.S. 280 (2005), the Supreme Court clarified the narrow scope
of the doctrine, explaining that it “is confined to
cases of the kind from which the doctrine acquired its name:
cases brought by state-court losers complaining of injuries
caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district
court proceedings ...