United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Michael Joseph Bergeron, Jr.
Town of Seabrook, New Hampshire
MICHAEL JOSEPH BERGERON, JR., PRO SE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. JOHNSTONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michael Joseph Bergeron, Jr., proceeding in forma pauperis,
has filed a Complaint, doc. No. 1, that is before this court
for preliminary review, pursuant to LR 4.3(d) and 28 U.S.C.
Preliminary Review Standard
magistrate judge conducts a preliminary review of pleadings
filed in forma pauperis. See LR 4.3(d). 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. §
1915(e)(2); LR 4.3(d). 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.
Hernandez-Cuevas v. Taylor, 723 F.3d 91,
102 (1st Cir. 2013) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).
states that in November 2009, members of the Seabrook, New
Hampshire police department "breached [their] duty"
and left him disabled. Bergeron seeks damages from the Town
court construes Bergeron's claim for damages as intending
to be asserted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which authorizes
claims for relief filed by plaintiffs alleging that a
defendant acting under color of state law violated their
federal rights. As explained below, several reasons support
dismissal of this complaint.
appears from Bergeron's complaint that a state court
lawsuit stemming from the breach alleged here was dismissed
based on the statute of limitations. To the extent that
Bergeron is asking this court to overturn the state
court's decision, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine
precludes the court from doing so.
Rooker-Feldman doctrine holds that, as a general
rule subject to exceptions not relevant here, lower federal
courts cannot review and reverse prior state court judgments.
See D.C. Ct. App. V. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983);
Rooker v. Fid. Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923);
Klimowicz v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Tr. Co., No.
17-1916, 2018 WL 5094793, at *2 (1st Cir. Oct. 19, 2018). The
Rooker-Feldman doctrine divests this court of
jurisdiction over cases brought by parties that lost in state
court, complaining of injuries caused by state court
judgments rendered before the federal 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 v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S.
280, 284 (2005)). The doctrine is applicable here. Therefore,
to the extent Bergeron seeks reversal of a state court
decision, his claim should be dismissed.
Statute of limitations
even if the issue had not been already decided, it is
apparent from his complaint that his claim is barred by ...