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Austin v. Tansey

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

January 14, 2020

ARON J. AUSTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
NICHOLAS J. TANSEY, DAVID LYNN COBB, JAMES SHAHEEN, AARON GRIGSBY, and SOUTHERN ROOFING & RENOVATIONS, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          THOMAS L. PARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Aron Austin sued pro se alleging that Defendants violated his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983(A), 18 U.S.C. § 242, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1324c(2)(3)&(4), and under Tennessee law. (ECF No. 1; ECF No. 26.) Defendants then moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint. (ECF No. 28; ECF No. 29; ECF No. 30.)

         The Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that the Court grant Defendants' motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 38 at PageID 317.) For the reasons below, the Court ADOPTS the R&R in whole and GRANTS Defendants' motion to dismiss.

         I. The Magistrate Judge's Findings

         A. Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

         Because Plaintiff complains about the result of state court civil litigation, the Magistrate Judge found that “the exercise of federal subject-matter jurisdiction over this case is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.” (ECF No. 38 at PageID 321-22.) “This doctrine ‘embodies the notion that appellate review of state court decisions and the validity of state judicial proceedings is limited to the Supreme Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1257, and thus that federal district courts lack jurisdiction to review such matters.'” (Id. at PageID 322) (citing In re Cook, 551 F.3d 542, 548 (6th Cir. 2009)).

         The R&R explains that “it is clear that the source of the injury underlying Austin's amended complaint is the state court judgment against him.” (Id. at PageID 323) (citing In re Cook, 551 F.3d at 548). Thus, “[b]ecause this court could remedy the injury only by reviewing the state court judgment, ‘the Rooker-Feldman doctrine would prevent the district court from asserting jurisdiction.'” (Id.) (citing McCormick v. Braverman, 451 F.3d 382, 393 (6th Cir. 2006)). “Accordingly, Rooker-Feldman precludes the court from exercising subject-matter jurisdiction over this action.” (Id.)

         B. § 1983

         The Magistrate Judge also found that, even if subject-matter jurisdiction existed here, Plaintiff does not allege any violation under § 1983 because he fails to allege that any of the Defendants are state actors. (Id. at PageID 324) (citing Campbell v. PMI Food Equip. Grp., Inc., 509 F.3d 776, 783 (6th Cir. 2007)). What is more, Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Judge David Lynn Cobb cannot stand because the latter is judicially immune from Plaintiff's § 1983 claim. (Id. at PageID 325-27) (citations omitted). Thus, Plaintiff's § 1983 allegations “fall short” of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard. (Id. at PageID 323).

         C. Criminal Statutes

         The R&R added that Plaintiff's “amended complaint omits the original complaint's claims based on criminal statutes 18 U.S.C. § 242 and 8 U.S.C. §§ 1324c(2)(3)&(4), although the amended complaint lists the latter on its title page under the section labeled ‘federal statute violations.'” (Id. at PageID 327) (citing ECF No. 26-2 at 1). But the Magistrate Judge found that, even if Plaintiff does allege claims under these criminal statutes, they “do not provide for a private cause of action.” (Id. at PageID 327) (citations omitted). Thus, “to the extent that [Plaintiff] seeks to maintain claims under these statutes, they should be dismissed.” (Id.) (citations omitted).

         D. Tennessee Law Claims

         Finally, the Magistrate Judge Found that, “[b]ecause this action violates Rooker-Feldman and because the complaint fails to state a claim against any defendant under § 1983, the court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims.” (Id. at PageID 328) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3)). As a result, he “recommended that all state law claims be dismissed without prejudice.” (Id.)

         II. ...


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