summarizing his complaint, he states that Justice Alpert "denied plaintiff his rights [sic] to produce his evidence . . . by granting the adverse party permission to proceed to trial BEFORE completion of all pretrial proceedings in which it is in direct conflict with New York state rules of court and other regulated statutes." (Id. at 9.)
A United States district court is not the proper forum for an appeal from a state court decision. In District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 75 L. Ed. 2d 206, 103 S. Ct. 1303 (1983), the Supreme Court addressed this issue at length. Feldman involves a Plaintiff who sought admission to the District of Columbia Bar and was denied admission. Plaintiff appealed the District Bar's decision to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, where his petition for admission was again denied. Thereafter, Feldman challenged the constitutionality of the District Bar's refusal to admit him in federal district court.
The Supreme Court held that where the Plaintiff objected to the judicial actions of the District of Columbia court, the proper method for pursuing his objection was to appeal that decision within the District of Columbia system and perhaps directly to the United States Supreme Court. Such matters may not be appealed to a federal district court. Id. at 482; see also Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 415, 68 L. Ed. 362, 44 S. Ct. 149 (1923) (noting that even if a state court did err in its decision, "that did not make the judgment void, but merely left it open to reversal or modification in an appropriate and timely appellate proceeding"); Tang v. Appellate Div. of N.Y. Supreme Court, First Dep't, 487 F.2d 138, 142 (2d Cir. 1973) (citing approvingly Anderson v. Lecon Properties, Inc., 457 F.2d 929 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 879, 34 L. Ed. 2d 133, 93 S. Ct. 132 (1972) (holding that the district court had no jurisdiction over a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim that alleged errors by a Minnesota state court)), cert. denied, 416 U.S. 906 (1974).
Plaintiff may not appeal the decision of a state court judge under the guise of a civil rights action. As the Supreme Court in Feldman noted, the rule that appeals may not be pursued in a federal district court "applies even though . . . the challenge is anchored to alleged deprivations of federally protected due process and equal protection rights." Feldman, 460 U.S. at 485. Federal courts "do not have 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. at 486.
In his memorandum of law, Mr. Tufano argues that he challenges the "making and formation" of Justice Alpert's decision. (Pl.'s Mem. at 3.) He claims that Justice Alpert perjured himself in reaching his decisions in Mr. Tufano's divorce action. Although Plaintiff does not raise perjury in his complaint, he does allege "lies" and "dishonesty" on the part of Justice Alpert; however, these allegations are merely part of his attacks on Justice Alpert's decisions. The allegations of dishonesty are not proper predicates for subject matter jurisdiction in this case.
Mr. Tufano cites Schneider v. Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico, 917 F.2d 620 (1st Cir. 1990), cert. denied 502 U.S. 1029, 116 L. Ed. 2d 772, 112 S. Ct. 865 (1992), in support of his claim that this Court has jurisdiction over this case. (Pl.'s Mem. at 3.) However, Schneider did not involve challenges to a particular state court decision; instead, the Schneider plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of a broad policy. Schneider is clearly inapposite. Unlike the Plaintiffs in Schneider, Plaintiff here challenges the legality of the judicial decisions of Justice Alpert. The standards set forth above, indeed, were recognized by the court in Schneider, which stated that "it is well-established that lower federal courts have no jurisdiction to hear appeals from state court decisions, even if the state judgment is challenged as unconstitutional." 917 F.2d at 628.
This Court has no subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's action, and, accordingly, Defendant's motion is granted.
The complaint in this action is hereby dismissed.
Dated: Hauppauge, New York
June 27, 1997
Denis R. Hurley, U.S.D.J.