United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
J. McAuliffe United States District Judge.
plaintiff, Paul Maravelias, brings this action challenging
the constitutionality of a stalking order entered against him
by the New Hampshire Circuit Court. He also asks the court to
declare that the state statute pursuant to which that
stalking order was issued is both facially overbroad and void
for vagueness. He seeks injunctive and declaratory relief,
invalidating the stalking order and preventing defendants
from enforcing the terms of that stalking order. As
defendants, Maravelias has named the state court judge who
entered the stalking order, and various people and
organizations he fears may enforce that order against him:
the New Hampshire Attorney General, the Rockingham County
Attorney, the Town of Windham, and the Windham Police
move to dismiss Maravelias's amended complaint asserting,
among other things, that this court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction to entertain his claims under the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine. Maravelias objects. For the reasons discussed,
defendants' motions to dismiss are granted and the case
case has been extensively litigated over the years and the
relevant factual background has been set forth at length in
earlier judicial opinions. See, e.g., DePamphilis v.
Maravelias, No. 2018-0483 (N.H. Jan. 16, 2019) (document
no. 26-1). See also DePamphilis v. Maravelias, 2017
WL 3468651 (N.H. July 28, 2017). That background need not be
recounted in detail here. It is sufficient to note that those
opinions describe a history of disturbing behavior by
Maravelias, stemming from his years-long obsession with a
young woman named Christina, who is significantly younger
than he - an obsession that began when Christina was only 11
obsession with Christina has not abated over the years and
has been punctuated by events that include, for example, his
attempt to give Christina a new Maserati sports car when she
was a sophomore in high school - an offer that was rejected
in unambiguous terms. Subsequently, Maravelias either wrote
or, as he claims, merely “aided the composition”
of, an “anonymous” letter that was sent to
Christina. The New Hampshire Supreme Court described that
letter as containing “graphic allegations concerning
sexual behavior” and what can best be described as
ranting, abusive, and vulgar language attacking Christina,
her mother, and her father. See DePamphilis v.
Maravelias, No. 2018-0483, slip op. at 4 (N.H. Jan. 16,
2019). More recently, Maravelias sent an email to four
teachers at Christina's high school, demanding that she
be removed from the school's chapter of the National
Honor Society and accusing Christina of various criminal and
anti-social behaviors. It is sufficient to note that
Christina has a well-founded fear for her personal safety.
Indeed, she testified that she was afraid that
Maravelias's fixation on her had turned “from a
love obsession to now a hate obsession.”
DePamphilis v. Maravelias, No. 2018-0483, slip op.
at 6 (N.H. Jan. 16, 2019).
January of 2018, Maravelias was already subject to a civil
stalking order that had been issued by the New Hampshire
Circuit Court, pursuant to N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann.
(“RSA”) 633:3-a. That order prevented Maravelias
from, among other things, having any contact with Christina.
Maravelias challenged that order when it was first issued
(resulting in an appeal that was denied on the merits by the
New Hampshire Supreme Court) and he pushed the restrictions
embodied in that order to their very limits. On January 5,
2018, Christina moved the state court to extend the stalking
order for another year. Following a three-day evidentiary
hearing (at which Maravelias appeared, pro se, and
extensively cross-examined Christina), the court granted
Christina's motion and extended the protective order.
again pushed the limits of that order, prompting Christina to
petition the court to modify it by imposing greater
limitations on Maravelias (including restrictions that
prevent him from accessing, possessing, and disseminating
materials from Christina's social media accounts).
Maravelias objected, asserting numerous claims, including:
(1) that the proposed restrictions would violate his free
speech rights under the state and federal constitutions; (2)
that the modification was unconstitutionally vague and
overbroad; and, (3) if entered, the modified stalking order
would deny him due process.
court (Coughlin, J. - a named defendant in this litigation)
rejected Maravelias's arguments and, on August 7, 2018,
granted Christina's request to modify the stalking order.
That order (the “Modified Stalking Order”) is the
subject of this litigation.
appealed the Modified Stalking Order to the New Hampshire
Supreme Court, where he challenged the substance, scope, and
constitutionality of the order itself, as well as the
constitutionality of the statute under which it had been
issued (RSA 633:3-a). His various claims were extensively
briefed, in both his original appellate brief and his reply
brief. In a lengthy order dated January 16, 2019, the New
Hampshire Supreme Court rejected Maravelias's legal
arguments and affirmed both the trial court's extension
of the pre-existing stalking order, as well as its subsequent
decision to enter the Modified Stalking Order.
DePamphilis v. Maravelias, No. 2018-0483 (N.H. Jan.
not appear that Maravelias filed a petition seeking
certiorari review in the United States Supreme Court.
Instead, it would seem, he proceeded directly to this court,
raising essentially the same claims he pressed in state court
and seeking a judicial declaration that the Modified Stalking
Order: (1) violates his free speech rights, as guaranteed by
both the state and federal constitutions; (2) violates both
his procedural and substantive due process rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment; (3) violates his equal protection
rights under the Fourteenth Amendment; (4) violates the Ex
Post Facto clause of the Constitution; and (5) exceeds the
statutory authority vested in state courts by RSA 633:3-a.
Also, in an apparent attempt to avoid the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine, Maravelias's amended complaint includes a
request that the court declare RSA 633:3-a both
unconstitutionally broad and unconstitutionally vague on its
face. Finally, as noted above, he seeks an injunction
preventing any of the named defendants from enforcing the
terms of the Modified Stalking Order against him.
each of Maravelias's claims appears to be frivolous,
meritless, and misguided, this court lacks jurisdiction to
address them on the merits, given the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine. Generally speaking, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine
prevents a losing party in state court - like Maravelias -
from seeking subsequent federal court review of that state
court judgment by asserting that the state court judgment
violated the loser's federally-protected rights. See
Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 416
(1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 476 (1983). See also Exxon
Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280,
284 (2005) (“The Rooker-Feldman doctrine, we hold
today, is confined to cases of the kind from which the
doctrine acquired its name: 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
those judgments.”). Review of such state-court
judgments can only be obtained in the United States Supreme
Court. See Feldman, 460 U.S. at 476. See generally
28 U.S.C. § 1257.
the thrust of Maravelias's lawsuit is undeniably an
effort to invalidate the Modified Stalking Order that was
upheld by the state supreme court before Maravelias
instituted this action. Indeed, his prayer for relief makes
that abundantly clear: he seeks a judicial declaration that
the Modified Stalking Order is invalid and unconstitutional,
and he also seeks an injunction preventing any of the named
defendants from enforcing its terms against him. Under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, this court plainly lacks subject
matter jurisdiction to entertain those claims, since doing so
would necessarily involve a review of the New Hampshire
Supreme Court's judgment upholding the validity and
enforceability of both the extended stalking order and the
Modified Stalking Order. See generally Exxon Mobil
Corp.,544 U.S. 280; Sinapi v. R.I. Bd. of Bar