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Frias v. Frias

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Cookeville Division

January 25, 2019

FELIPE FRIAS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PATRICIA FRIAS, et al., Defendants.

          Crenshaw Chief Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOE B. BROWN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         TO: THE HONORABLE WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR., CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently pending is the defendant Mark T. Clausen's motion to dismiss for improper venue or in the alternative to transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (Docket Entry 5)[1]. The plaintiffs have responded (Docket Entry 11). On December 19, 2018, the Court directed the parties to file briefs on whether the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine applied in this case (Docket Entry 18). Unfortunately, as of the date of this Report and Recommendation, neither party has filed anything with the Court.

         For the reasons stated below, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that this case be DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, or alternatively, if the case is not dismissed, the defendant's motion be GRANTED to the extent that the Court transfer this case to the District Court for the Northern District of California where the vast majority of the activity complained of occurred and where there is active litigation regarding the heart of the plaintiffs' complaint.

         BACKGROUND

         The amended complaint filed on September 12, 2018 (Docket Entry 4) lists 33 causes of action. As general background, it appears that the plaintiff Felipe Frias was married for a number of years to the defendant Patricia Frias. Divorce proceedings were apparently started in California in July 2003 (Docket Entry 4). Although it is not absolutely clear, it appears that the marriage was dissolved by order of the Superior Court of California, County of Sonoma on March 27, 2006 (Docket Entry 11, Page ID 114). From the pleadings, it appears there was constant litigation between these two parties over property, support, the sale of their former home, the disposition of the proceeds once the home was sold, and contempt proceedings which resulted in a fine and a 10 day jail sentence for the Plaintiff. As will be shown below, all of the activity complained of in the 33 count complaint involves California litigation and alleged misconduct by the defendant wife and an attorney in California courts, with the exception of litigation started in Chancery Court for White County, Tennessee on April 20, 2017 (Docket Entry 11, Page ID 113), to attempt to enforce California judgments against Mr. Frias.

         The first 8 counts of the amended complaint (Docket Entry 4) allege Ms. Frias made false statements in the California Superior Court in Sonoma County: 1) on November 7, 2014, concerning the amount of money she had made as mortgage payments; 2) on March 20, 2015, that she had paid $329, 307.07 in mortgage tax and insurance payments, and as a result Mr. Frias was directed to pay Ms. Frias $213, 779.45 (sic); 3) on November 7, 2014, claiming mortgage payment statements which were not in fact mortgage statements; 4) on March 20, 2015, by requesting court intervention and securing orders adverse to Mr. Frias without serving him or giving him a chance to be present to testify; 5) concerning community property in an effort to obtain money from the sale of the house through false statements, pleadings, and exhibits; 6) on March 20, 2015, by misstating court orders to obtain a more favorable ruling from the California judge; 7) on March 20, 2015, concerning the ownership of property in Mexico; 8) concerning the non-delinquency of a mortgage with Wells Fargo.

         Count 9 for general negligence seems to allege that due to false statements about mortgage and other payments, Ms. Frias obtained a favorable judgment on August 3, 2015, and that she obtained this favorable ruling through the acts of her lawyer, the defendant Mark T. Clausen.

         Count 10 is another count for general negligence alleging that according to a real property division order of August 29, 2007, Ms. Frias was granted exclusive use of the family residence and ordered to maintain it in excellent and sellable condition until it was sold. Mr. Frias alleges that Ms. Frias used the property as a rental and failed to keep it in proper condition, thereby causing a devaluation of approximately $60, 000.00.

         Count 11 is for an intentional tort alleging that Ms. Frias, in California and in Tennessee, intentionally forged documents, committed perjury, and filed false statements which persuaded the California Court and the Sonoma Court to surrender the plaintiffs' homestead in White County, Tennessee to satisfy judgments obtained by Ms. Frias. The plaintiffs allege that this action has caused great emotional distress and a reoccurrence of post traumatic stress disorder. Mr. Frias alleges that Ms. Frias had been arrested for violating a protective order, and had given their daughter an overdose of medication from which she subsequently died of affixation.

         Count 12 alleges fraud by Ms. Frias and her attorney Mr. Clausen for failing to notify Mr. Frias of court hearings, and then using Mr. Clausen's influence to accuse Mr. Frias of contempt for failure to appear.

         Count 13 alleges fraud on June 29, 2017, when Mr. Frias submitted a response to contempt charges against him and Mr. Clausen used his influence to obtain a favorable ruling from a California judge, thereby denying Mr. Frias an opportunity to be heard and due process and equal protection of the law.

         Count 14 alleges fraud on May 18, 2015 when Mr. Clausen filed a civil complaint, which was apparently subsequently dismissed. Although Mr. Frias was never served, he alleges that the case was discussed with the court by Mr. Clausen without Mr. Frias having notice or being present. He alleges that, somehow, this allowed him to be ...


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