United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
H. Miller United States District Judge.
a state inmate proceeding pro se, filed this section
1983 lawsuit against numerous state district judges, state
and local government agencies and officials, and municipal
and county judges for claims arising from a final state court
decree terminating his parental rights.
plaintiff is incarcerated, the Court is required to
scrutinize the pleadings and dismiss the complaint in whole
or in part if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. Having reviewed plaintiffs complaint
pursuant to section 1915A, the Court DISMISSES this lawsuit
for the reasons that follow.
is a state inmate currently imprisoned for aggravated assault
with a deadly weapon and assault on a family member causing
bodily injury. The claims in this lawsuit arise from a 2006
Harris County family law court trial and final decree
terminating plaintiff s parental rights to his son in In
re Vonfalkenhorst, Cause No. 2005-06844J, 313th Judicial
District Court of Harris County, Texas. He names as
defendants Harris County Child Protective Services and its
director, George D. Ford, former Judge Patrick Shelton,
former Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Judge Jean
Spaulding Hughes [sic], Justice of the Peace Steve
L. Seider, Judge Ed Emmett, Judge David Farr, Judge Eileen
Gaffney, Judge Glen Delvin [sic], and Judge Stephen
his numerous claims are complaints that he was incarcerated
at the time of trial, was denied appointed counsel under
state law, was not allowed to present his own evidence and
testimony, and that other witnesses presented false
testimony. He further complains that the various judges and
government agencies violated his state law rights and that
judicial and state agencies refused to take action in his
defense. He argues that his constitutional rights to a jury
trial, due process and a fair trial, counsel, and access to
court were violated, and that the defendants committed
federal kidnaping and conspiracy, organized crimes,
"stole" his son, and executed a
"constitutional death penalty sentence."
judicial relief, plaintiff states "I want a jury trial -
not a trial by judge. I want a fair and impartial trial on
merits of case. I want full custody of my child/son,
visitation now & case over turned cause of court error by
said former judge and this case retried. I want a lawyer -
then damages for court error, etc. Loss of love/cortium
[sic]. I want my rights & my son." (Docket
Entry No. 1, p. 4.)
state court trial took place in 2006 and the termination
decree was entered that same year. Plaintiff does not state
that he pursued any appeals through the state courts, and
offers no explanation for his eleven-year delay in filing
clear that all of plaintiff s claims arise from or are
related to the final decree of termination entered by the
state court in 2006. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is
a common law doctrine that bars federal district courts from
asserting subject matter jurisdiction in "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, 281 (2005);
Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923).
In other words, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars
federal district courts from collaterally attacking or
interfering with state court judgments and proceedings.
Saudi Basic, 544 U.S. at 284; Price v.
Porter, 251 F.App'x, 925, 926 (5th Cir. 2009).
court judgment is considered attacked for purposes of
Rooker-Feldman when the losing party in a state court
action seeks what in substance would be appellate review of a
state judgment. Weaver v. Tex. Capital Bank N. A.,
660 F.3d 900, 904 (5th Cir. 2011). The governing issue is
whether the claims are inextricably intertwined with the
state court judgment and thereby barred by
Rooker-Feldman or whether there is an independent
claim where the injury does not arise from the state court
judgment. Turner v. Cade, 354 F.App'x 108,
110-11 (5th Cir. 2009). The Fifth Circuit has made clear
"that litigants may not obtain review of state court
actions by filing complaints about those actions in lower
federal courts cast in the form of civil rights suits."
Hale v. Harney, 786 F.2d 688, 690-91 (5th Cir.
here seeks redress from a final, unfavorable state court
decree terminating his parental rights. Plaintiff himself
states that his goal in this federal lawsuit is to obtain
reversal of the state court decree and have immediate
visitation rights with his son pending retrial. It would not
be possible for this Court to review plaintiffs requested
relief without reviewing the merits of the state court
termination decree. See Weaver, 660 F.3d at 904.
such, plaintiffs claims are inextricably intertwined with the
state court's final decree of 2006. Because this
Court's review of plaintiff s claims is barred by
Rooker-Feldman, this lawsuit must be dismissed for
want of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs recourse is
through the state court system then, if necessary, by
application for writ of certiorari to ...