United States District Court, D. Idaho
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER BY SCREENING JUDGE
LYNN WINMILL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Clerk of Court conditionally filed Plaintiff James Allen
Floyd's Complaint as a result of Plaintiff's status
as an inmate and in forma pauperis request. The Court now
reviews the Complaint to determine whether it should be
summarily dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and
1915A. Having reviewed the record, and otherwise being fully
informed, the Court enters the following Order dismissing
this case with prejudice.
Court must review complaints filed by prisoners seeking
relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
employee of a governmental entity, as well as complaints
filed in forma pauperis, to determine whether summary
dismissal is appropriate. The Court must dismiss a complaint
or any portion thereof that states a frivolous or malicious
claim, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)
is a prisoner held in the custody of the Ada County Jail.
Prior to his incarceration in the jail in 2014, Plaintiff had
failed to pay taxes on his property between 2011 and 2014.
After various types of notice to Plaintiff (some correct,
some incorrect), the County Treasurer instigated and carried
out a tax sale of his property. Plaintiff filed a judicial
appeal of the administrative decision of the Ada County Board
of Commissioners. The decision was affirmed. Plaintiff then
filed an appeal, which was heard by the Idaho Supreme Court.
The state district court's decision was upheld on appeal.
but a nutshell summary of the state court proceedings. The
Idaho Supreme Court's opinion appears on the Court's
Docket following this Order.
the state court proceedings were completed, Plaintiff filed
this federal civil rights action alleging that the Idaho
administrative agency and Idaho courts violated his due
brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the civil rights
statute. To state a plausible civil rights claim, a plaintiff
must allege a violation of rights protected by the
Constitution or created by federal statute proximately caused
by conduct of a person acting under color of state law.
Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991).
District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S.
462, 486 (1983), the United States Supreme Court held that a
plaintiff may not challenge a state court decision by
bringing a federal court civil rights action
(“Rooker-Feldman doctrine.”). A federal district
court has no jurisdiction “over challenges to
state-court decisions, in particular, cases arising out of
judicial proceedings, even if those challenges allege that
the state court's action was unconstitutional.”
Id. The United States Supreme Court made it clear
that this “rule applies even though . . . the challenge
is anchored to alleged deprivations of federally protected
due process and equal protection rights.” Id.
at 486. It appears that Plaintiff's claims are barred by
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, because he already had the
opportunity to have them adjudicated in state court.
Rooker-Feldman doctrine “bars federal courts from
exercising subject matter jurisdiction over a proceeding in
“which a party losing in state court' seeks
‘what in substance would be appellate review of the
state judgment in a United States district court, based on
the losing party's claim that the state judgment itself
violates the loser's federal rights.'” Doe v.
Mann, 415 F.3d 1038, 1041 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing Johnson v.
De Grandy, 512, U.S. 997, 1005-06 (1994)). The doctrine bars
not only issues heard in the state court action, but
“any issue raised in the suit that is
‘inextricably intertwined' with an issue resolved
by the state court in its judicial decision.” Mann, 415
F.3d at 1042 (citing Noel v. Hall, 341 F.3d 1148, 1158 (9th
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine “will give way where
Congress otherwise grants federal courts the authority to
review state court judgments, ” Id. at 1047,
such as in habeas corpus actions authorized by 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. In short, a federal court must not become a
court of appeals for a state court decision.
Plaintiff's claims clearly fall under the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine. The Idaho Supreme Court carefully and thoughtfully
addressed Plaintiff's federal due process claims and
rejected them. This Court is prohibited from addressing those
same (or even very similar) claims anew. Plaintiffs
recourse was to timely petition the United States Supreme
Court for a writ of certiorari as the court of last resort.
It is ...