United States District Court, N.D. Ohio
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
AARON POLSTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
August 9, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Andrea Lucarelli
Sealey filed this in forma pauperis action against
the following Defendants: PennyMac Loan Services, LLC, David
A. Sector, John C. Dugan, Michael S. Piwowar, Kara M. Stein,
Secretary of State, Maverick Funding Corp., bill Beckmann,
Jennifer N. Templeton, Esq., Bethany L. Suttinger, Ginnie
Mae, Tom Yoshida, Clifford Pinkney, and Jane and John Does.
Plaintiff challenges a judgment of foreclosure against her
and the prospective sale of the property foreclosed upon
pursuant to a judgment in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas. See PennyMac Loan Services, LLC v. Lucarelli,
http/cpdocket.cp.cuyahogacounty.us/CV., Cuy. Cty.
Comm. Pls. No. CV-15-844833. She asserts violation of her
civil rights and numerous statutory and state law theories to
support this challenge. For the reasons stated below, this
action is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag
v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam),
the district court is required to dismiss an action under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e) if it fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or if it lacks an arguable basis in
law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319
(1989); Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470
of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted when it lacks “plausibility in the
complaint.” Bell At. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 564 (2007). A pleading must contain 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). The factual allegations in the
pleading must be sufficient to raise the right to relief
above the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. The plaintiff is not required to include
detailed factual allegations, but must provide more than
“an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678 (2009). A
pleading that offers legal conclusions or a simple recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not meet this
pleading standard. Id.
States District Courts do not have jurisdiction to overturn
state court decisions even if the request to reverse the
state court judgment is based on an allegation that the state
court's action was unconstitutional. Exxon Mobil
Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 292
(2005). Federal appellate review of state court judgments can
only occur in the United States Supreme Court, by appeal or
by writ of certiorari. Id. Under this principle,
generally referred to as the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, a party
losing her case in state court is barred from seeking what in
substance would be appellate review of the state judgment in
a United States District Court based on the party's claim
that the state judgment itself violates her federal rights.
Berry v. Schmitt, 688 F.3d 290, 298-99 (6th Cir.
Rooker-Feldman doctrine is based on two United States Supreme
Court decisions interpreting 28 U.S.C. §
1257(a). See District of Columbia Court of
Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 103 S.Ct. 1303, 75
L.Ed.2d 206 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co.,
263 U.S. 413, 44 S.Ct. 149, 68 L.Ed. 362 (1923). This statute
was enacted to prevent “end-runs around state court
judgments” by requiring litigants seeking review of
that judgment to file a writ of certiorari with the United
States Supreme Court. The doctrine is based on the negative
inference that, if appellate court review of state judgments
is vested in the United States Supreme Court, then such
review may not occur in the lower federal courts. Exxon
Mobil Corp., 544 U.S. at 283-84; Kovacic v. Cuyahoga
County Dep't of Children and Family Services, 606
F.3d 301, 308-311 (6th Cir. 2010); Lawrence v.
Welch, 531 F.3d 364, 369 (6th Cir. 2008). It applies
where a party losing her case in state court initiates an
action in federal district court complaining of injury caused
by a state court judgment, and seeks review and rejection of
that judgment. Berry, 688 F.3d 298-99; In re
Cook, 551 F.3d 542, 548 (6th Cir.2009).
determine whether Rooker-Feldman bars a claim, the Court must
look to the “source of the injury the plaintiff alleges
in the federal complaint.” McCormick v.
Braverman, 451 F.3d 382, 393 (6th Cir.2006); see
Berry, 688 F.3d at 299; Kovacic, 606 F.3d at
310. If the source of the plaintiff's injury is the state
court judgment itself, then the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars
the federal claim. McCormick, 451 F.3d at 393.
“If there is some other source of injury, such as a
third party's actions, then the plaintiff asserts an
independent claim.” Id.; see
Lawrence, 531 F.3d at 368-69. In conducting this
inquiry, the federal court should also consider the
plaintiff's requested relief. Evans v. Cordray,
No. 09-3998, 2011 WL 2149547, at *1 (6th Cir. May 27, 2011)
underlying assertion that the foreclosure action in state
court was legally improper is a direct attack on the state
court's decision. Any review of the claims asserted by
plaintiff in this context would require the Court to review
the specific issues addressed in the state court proceedings.
This Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to conduct such
a review or grant the relief requested. Feldman, 460
U.S. at 483-84 n. 16; Catz v. Chalker, 142 F.3d 279,
293 (6th Cir. 1998).
to the extent Plaintiff seeks to litigate the foreclosure
matter anew, she cannot proceed. A federal court must give a
state court judgment the same preclusive effect it would have
in the courts of the rendering state. 28 U.S.C. § 1738;
Dubuc v. Green Oak Township, 312 F.3d 736, 744 (6th
Cir. 2002). The preclusive effect of the previous state court
judgment is therefore governed by Ohio law on preclusion.
Id. Under Ohio law, an existing final judgment or
decree is conclusive as to all claims which were or might
have been litigated in the first lawsuit. National
Amusement, Inc. v. Springdale, 53 Ohio St.3d 60, 62
(1990). The doctrine of res judicata requires a
plaintiff to present every ground for relief, or forever be
barred from asserting it. Id. The purpose of this
doctrine is to promote the finality of judgments and thereby
increase certainty, discourage multiple litigation, and
conserve judicial resources. Allen v. McCurry, 449
U.S. 90, 94 (1980). The Ohio court has already determined
that the mortgage was valid and that Plaintiff was in default
of her loan. This Court is bound to give full faith and
credit to the decision of that court. Plaintiff is therefore
barred by the doctrine of res judicata from
litigating these questions again in federal court.
requiring generous construction of pro se pleadings
are not without limits. Beaudett v. City of Hampton,775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985). Even construing the
Complaint liberally in a light most favorable to the
Plaintiff, Brand v. Motley,526 F.3d 921, 924
(6th Cir. 2008), it does not contain allegations
reasonably suggesting she might have a valid federal claim.
Further, the Court declines to exercise ...