United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division
ADA A. GONZALEZ, Plaintiff,
J. P. MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., MICHAEL J. RUDISILL, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHARLES A. STAMPELOS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
proceeding pro se, initiated this case by submitting a civil
complaint on March 15, 2019. ECF No. 1. In a separate Order
entered this day, Plaintiff's amended in forma pauperis
motion, ECF No. 7, has been granted.
also filed a notice of a prior or similar case pursuant to
Local Rule 5.6 along with her in forma pauperis motion. ECF
No. 7-1. Notably, Plaintiff has acknowledged a related case
which she filed in state court, but which was removed to this
Court in November 2017. See case # 4:17cv502-WS/CAS.
That case has been stayed pending resolution of the
underlying state foreclosure action. ECF No. 39. Plaintiff
also referenced several cases filed in the State of Florida:
case numbers 2017-CA-1747 and 2017-CA-2521. She notes that at
least one case was brought against Defendant Michael J.
Rudisill, Esq., and is related to the issues raised in this
complaint here is brought against the following Defendants:
J. P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., Michael J. Rudisill, Esq.,
Alfredo E. Gonzalez, Jennifer R. Dixon, Esq., Terry C. Young,
Esq., and Ronald D. Edwards, Jr., Esq. ECF No. 1 at 1. None
of those Defendants reside or are otherwise domiciled in the
Northern District of Florida. Id. at 2. None of the
actions allegedly taken by the Defendants occurred in the
Northern District of Florida either. Id. at 3-4.
However, as explained in greater detail below, there is no
need to transfer this action.
it appears that Plaintiff is attempting to use this case to
invalidate state court orders. Plaintiff's complains that
final judgments were obtained which deprived Plaintiff of
“access to her deposit boxes in the State of New York
J.P. Morgan Chase Bank branch located at 453 East 86th
Street, new York, N.Y. 10028.” ECF No. 1 at 4. She
claims the Defendants engaged in “torturous
actions” when obtaining the “three fraudulent
final judgments against Plaintiff.” Id. at
3-4. Based on those judgments, Plaintiff's former husband
gained access to the safe deposit boxes and seized the
property therein. Id. at 4. Plaintiff claims that
the final judgments, including a “writ of garnishment,
” are all “void and null” and have caused
her harm and violated her rights. Id. at 7-8. As
relief, she seeks monetary damages and “immediate
access” to the safe deposit boxes. Id. at 9.
to Plaintiff's complaint is a copy of a “Final
Judgment of Garnishment as to Garnishee JPMorgan Chase Bank,
N.A.” ECF No. 1 at 12-14. Pursuant to that judgment,
Plaintiff's former husband, Alfredo E. Gonzalez, was
permitted to recover the cash proceeds from several bank
accounts and to obtain the contents of two safe deposit
boxes. Id. Another “Final Judgment of
Garnishment” was issued to Garnishee Wells Fargo Bank,
N.A., id. at 15-16, and Regions Bank, id.
at 17-18. Another attachment to the complaint reveals that
Plaintiff has been sanctioned for “filing a factually
and legally meritless petition to modify alimony, ” and
that her appeal of the order dismissing her petition was
dismissed. Id. at 20-24. That court order sanctioned
Plaintiff for her abuse of the judicial process. Id.
Notably, the Order was signed by Circuit Court Judge Michael
J. Rudisill, a named Defendant in this case. ECF No. 1 at 24.
is informed that this Court does not have jurisdiction to
provide the relief she seeks. “The
Rooker-Feldman doctrine is a jurisdictional rule
that precludes federal district courts from reviewing
‘cases brought by state-court losers complaining of
injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the
district court proceedings commenced and inviting district
court review and rejection of those judgments.'”
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544
U.S. 280, 284, 125 S.Ct. 1517, 1521-22, 161 L.Ed.2d 454
(2005) (quoted in Macleod v. Bexley, 730 Fed.Appx.
845, 847 (11th Cir. 2018)); see also Rooker v. Fidelity
Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 44 S.Ct. 149, 68 L.Ed. 362
(1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 103 S.Ct. 1303, 75 L.Ed.2d 206
(1983). Here, Plaintiff is complaining about injuries
suffered due to final judgments entered in state court. She
seeks a remedy which would overturn those judgments and give
her “immediate access” to the safe deposit boxes
awarded to her former husband. This Court lacks jurisdiction
to do so. See Brown v. Coffin, No. 18-13709, 2019 WL
1306293, at *1, __ F.3d __ (11th Cir. Mar. 21, 2019) (holding
that district court lacked jurisdiction to “review and
reject the final state court child-support and enforcement
orders” challenged by father). Additionally, Plaintiff
is cautioned that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine also
applies to a claim challenging an allegedly wrongful
foreclosure on a house due to fraud. Yeh Ho v. Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A., 739 Fed.Appx. 525, 531 (11th Cir.
2018). Only the Supreme Court may review judgments entered by
state courts. A federal district court does not have
jurisdiction to consider a claim that is essentially an
appeal of a state court order. Therefore, this action should
be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
another reason to dismiss this case is based on the doctrine
of res judicata. That doctrine “bars the re-litigation
of claims that were raised or could have been raised in a
prior proceeding.” Lobo v. Celebrity Cruises,
Inc., 704 F.3d 882, 892 (11th Cir. 2013) (cited in
McCulley v. Bank of Am., N.A., 605 Fed.Appx. 875,
877 (11th Cir. 2015)). Res judicata bars a successive lawsuit
when four elements are met: 1) there was a final judgment on
the merits in the first case, (2) the court entering judgment
was a court of competent jurisdiction, (3) the parties in the
instant case were parties in the prior case, and (4) both
lawsuits involve the same causes of action.
McCulley, 605 Fed.Appx. at 878 (holding that
plaintiffs who brought second lawsuit seeking to enjoin
mortgage foreclosure “had a full and fair opportunity
to litigate” their claims in the first case and the
complaint was properly dismissed on res judicata grounds).
All elements appear to be met in this case based on the prior
state court action identified by Plaintiff which was brought
against Judge Michael J. Rudisill. See case #
notice is taken that Plaintiff's case against Judge
Rudisill was dismissed on April 6, 2018. In an order entered
by Circuit Judge John C. Cooper, the defendant's motion
to dismiss was granted on the basis that the defendant had
absolute judicial immunity. Moreover, Judge Cooper's
order noted that “Plaintiff's claims in her
complaint [were] substantially identical to her claims
alleged in” another action brought a year earlier. The
referenced case was 2016-CA-1285, notably a case that
Plaintiff did not disclose. See ECF No. 7-1. It
would appear that Plaintiff's claim against Judge
Rudisill cannot proceed in this case as she has twice had her
claims against him dismissed. Plaintiff is not entitled to
three bites at the same apple and her claim is barred by res
light of the foregoing, it is respectfully
RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's complaint,
ECF No. 1, be DISMISSED for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction and because Plaintiff's claim against
Defendant Rudisill is barred by res judicata.
CHAMBERS at Tallahassee.
TO THE PARTIES
fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy of this
Report and Recommendation, a party may serve and file
specific written objections to these proposed findings and
recommendations. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). A copy of the
objections shall be served upon all other parties. A party
may respond to another party's objections within fourteen
(14) days after being served with a copy thereof.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). Any different deadline that may
appear on the electronic docket is for the Court's
internal use only and does not control. If a party fails
to object to the Magistrate Judge's findings orrecommendations as to any particular claim or issue
contained in this Report and Recommendation, that ...