United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Tompson, Plaintiff, Pro Se.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. JOHNSTONE, Magistrate Judge.
plaintiff, Judith Tompson, has filed a complaint (doc. no.
1), which is before the court for preliminary review. See 28
U.S.C. Â§ 1915(e)(2); LR 4.3(d)(2).
magistrate judge conducts a preliminary review of complaints
filed in forma pauperis. The magistrate judge may recommend
to the district judge that one or more claims be dismissed
if, among other things, the court lacks jurisdiction, a
defendant is immune from the relief sought, or the complaint
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See
28 U.S.C. Â§ 1915(e)(2); LR 4.3(d)(2). In conducting its
preliminary review, the court construes pro se complaints
liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (per curiam). The complaint must contain
"sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a
claim to relief.'" See Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).
resides at Lancelot Court Condominiums ("Lancelot")
in Salem, New Hampshire. Tompson alleges that Lancelot is a
New Hampshire corporation. Lancelot sued Tompson in the New
Hampshire Superior Court in Rockingham County, to enforce a
lien for unpaid assessments, pursuant to N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann.
Â§ 356-B:56. In that action, summary judgment was granted to
Lancelot on the issue of liability. Lancelot obtained a jury
award of $17, 000.00 in damages. Lancelot's motion for
costs and attorneys' fees totaling almost $22, 750.00
above the jury award, was also granted. Tompson appealed, and
the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court
decisions and verdict. See Lancelot Ct. Condo. Ass'n v.
Tompson, No. 2015-0252 (N.H. Apr. 29, 2016).
then filed this action, captioning it both as a "Notice
of Appeal" and as a "Complaint." See Doc. No.
1, at 1 ("Complaint"); Doc. No. 1-2 ("Notice
of Appeal"). Plaintiff cites a series of federal laws,
federal procedural rules, state laws, treatises, the
Restatement, and the Taking Clause as providing the bases for
her assertion that this court has federal question
jurisdiction in this case. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and
injunctive relief, specifically, review and reversal of the
state courts' decisions in her case. Plaintiff has not
asserted a claim for damages.
has the burden of proving that this court has subject matter
jurisdiction here. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). As plaintiff seeks
this court's reversal of the NHSC decision in the state
proceedings, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine provides grounds for
dismissing this action. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine holds
that, as a general rule, federal district courts should not
sit in direct review of state court decisions. See D.C.
Ct. App. v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v.
Fid. Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923). The Rooker-Feldman
doctrine divests this court of jurisdiction over "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 [the state court's] judgments.'"
Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 532 (2011)
(quoting Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus.
Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005)). As the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine applies here, Tompson's claims should be
complaint states that Lancelot is incorporated in New
Hampshire and has a principal place of business in New
Hampshire. Plaintiff further alleges that Lancelot's
fiscal agent resides in Massachusetts. Defendant Lancelot,
like plaintiff, is a citizen of New Hampshire. See 28 U.S.C.
Â§ 1332(c). Cf. Francesco v. Beacon Ct. Condo., No. 07 CIV.
2766(LMM), 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3826, at *8, 2009 WL 174184,
at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 6, 2009) (unincorporated condominium
association in New York is deemed to be citizen of ...