United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
WILLIAM F. JUNG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes to the Court on Defendant Jennifer McClean's
Amended Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (Dkt. 23, 24)
with Prejudice. Dkt. 30. Plaintiff Ross Scopelliti filed a
response. Dkt. 44. After briefing by the parties, the Court
grants Defendant's Motion to Dismiss with prejudice.
origin of this action is in the Hillsborough County Court
foreclosure action, Jennifer McClean v. Terrence Nero, et
al., No: 12-CA-010683 Div. M. According to the
Hillsborough County Court docket, final judgment was entered
in late 2015 with a foreclosure sale date in early 2016.
Id.; see also Dkt. 30 at 2. Following some
delay, the property was sold in a foreclosure sale on May 2,
2019. Dkt. 30 at 2. From this sale Defendant acquired title
to the disputed property. Id. Plaintiff now brings a
seven count Amended Complaint against Defendant for alleged
conduct during the foreclosure action and for an alleged slip
and fall accident in April 2019. Dkt. 24.
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must
plead sufficient facts to state a claim that is
“plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). In
considering the motion, the Court accepts all factual
allegations in the complaint as true and construes them in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Pielage v.
McConnell, 516 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008)
should limit their “consideration to the well-pleaded
factual allegations, documents central to or referenced in
the complaint, and matters judicially noticed.” La
Grasta v. First Union Sec., Inc., 358 F.3d 840, 845
(11th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). Courts may also
consider documents attached to a motion to dismiss if they
are (1) central to the plaintiff's claim; and (2)
undisputed or, in other words, the “authenticity of the
document is not challenged.” Horsley v. Feldt,
304 F.3d 1125, 1134 (11th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted).
decision to grant leave to amend is within the discretion of
the district court. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178,
182 (1962). But leave to amend shall be “freely given
when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Thus,
“leave shall be granted unless there is a substantial
reason to deny it.” Halliburton & Assocs., Inc.
v. Henderson, Few & Co., 774 F.2d 441, 443 (11th
Cir. 1985). A substantial reason to deny leave to amend would
include when: (1) the amendment would be prejudicial to the
opposing party, (2) there has been bad faith or undue delay
by the moving party, (3) the amendment would be futile, or
(4) repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed. Foman, 371 U.S. at 182.
argues that Counts I, II, V, VI, and VII of the Complaint
should be dismissed under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Dkt. 30 at 4-5.
The Court finds these Counts present a clear case for
dismissal under Rooker-Feldman.
Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars “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 (2005).
Simply, a federal district court “lacks jurisdiction to
review, reverse, or invalidate a final state court
decision.” Dale v. Moore, 121 F.3d 624, 626 (11th Cir.
I, II, V, VI, and VII all ask the Court to review and reverse
the judgment made by the state court in the foreclosure
action. Dkt. 24 at 1-5. Count I asks the Court to reverse the
state court foreclosure action and declare that Defendant is
not the actual owner of the disputed property. Id.
at 1-2. Count II asks the Court to declare that Defendant
committed fraud during the state court foreclosure action.
Id. at 2. Count V again asks the Court to reverse
the state court foreclosure action and declare that Defendant
is not the actual owner of the disputed property.
Id. at 3-4. Count VI asks the Court to find that
representations made by Defendant in the state court
foreclosure action were harassment. Id. at 4. Count
VII also asks the Court to find that Defendant's state
court foreclosure action amounted to intentional infliction
of emotional distress. Id. at 4.
argues that he was not a “state court loser”
because he was not a party to the state court foreclosure
action. Dkt. 44 at 3. Yet Plaintiff attaches to his Response
a state court order entering a default judgment against
“all unknown tenants in possession of [the
property.]” Id. at 42-43. As the tenant in
possession at the time of the default, Plaintiff was a party
to the state court action and did in fact lose there. In sum,
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars this Court
from hearing Counts I, II, V, VI, and VII.
Counts III and IV do not present claims legally sufficient to
be plausible on their face. To state a claim for negligence a
plaintiff must show the defendant owed him a duty. Clay
Elec. Co-op., Inc. v. Johnson, 873 So.2d 1182, 1185
(Fla. 2003). Both parties agree that in April 2019, the time
of the alleged accident, Defendant did not own the property
where the alleged slip and fall accident occurred. Dkt. 24 at
1 (“Jennifer McClean is not the proper owner
of the property in question.”) (emphasis in original);
Dkt. 30 at 5 (“Defendant was not the owner of the
property [on the date of the alleged accident], a fact well
known to Plaintiff.”); Dkt. 1 at 13 (noting that title
was executed for the disputed property in Defendant's
name on May 2, 2019). Since Defendant ...