The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marrero, District Judge.
Plaintiff Derrell Alleyne ("Alleyne") originally filed this action in
this Court on July 19, 2002, seeking relief for various civil rights
violations, on his own behalf and on behalf of his natural children,
Keyshawna Alleyne, Kibin Alleyne and Edward Alleyne (collectively, the
Children) Alleyne amended The complaint: on August 15, 2002 (the
"Complaint"). On September 30, 2002, the Court dismissed this action, sua
sponte, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction "upon such terms and
conditions as it deem[ed] proper," 211 F.3d 697, 700 (2d Cir. 2000)
("Failure of subject matter jurisdiction is not waivable and may be
raised at any time by a party or by the court sua sponte"). Oddly, the
City, which argued just months ago that this Court lacked jurisdiction
over Alleyne's claim and urged dismissal in favor of consideration of the
underlying issues in a state proceeding involving the same parties and
operative events, has now decided to remove the same case to this Court
from state court.
The factual background of this case was explained fully in Alleyne I,
but the Court repeats the most relevant facts briefly. 225 F. Supp.2d at
392-393. The Complaint concerns a proceeding before the New York State
Family Court, Bronx County (the "State Proceeding"). The State Proceeding
was commenced in response to a report that the Children had been abused.
During the State Proceeding, the Children were placed in foster care. In
April of 1999, the Family Court found that Alleyne and defendant Shawana
Hatchett abused the Children directly and derivatively. See In the Matter
of Alleyne Children, No. NA-11131-33/98, Slip. op. at 1 (N.Y. Fain. Ct.
July 5, 2001). Proceedings to terminate Alleyne's parental rights were
commenced. In September of 2001, Alleyne surrendered his children for
In Alleyne I, the court found that the Rooker-Feldman*fn1 doctrine
barred direct review of the State Proceeding by this Court.*fn2
225 F. Supp.2d at 393-394. The reasoning that led the Court to dismiss the
case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction previously on
Rooker-Feldman grounds applies equally here on removal. Therefore,
the Court has already determined that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction
over this case.*fn3
The Rooker-Feldman doctrine "rests on the principle that a United
States District Court has no authority to review final judgments of a
state court in judicial proceedings." Doctor's Associates, Inc. v.
Distajo, 107 F.3d 126, 137 (2d Cir. 1997) (citations omitted). Since only
the Supreme Court can entertain an appeal to reverse or modify a state
court judgment, "to the extent that the plaintiff's claims [are]
`inextricably intertwined' with the state court's determinations, the
federal district court [does] not have jurisdiction." Moccio v. New York
State Office of Court Admin., 95 F.3d 195, 198 (2d Cir. 1996) (citing
Feldman, 460 U.S. at 482-84 n. 16). Furthermore, as explained in Alleyne
I, "a party may not evade these rules and principles of federalism by
recasting his claims pending in state court as a civil rights action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983." Alleyne I, 225 F. Supp.2d at 394 (citing
Murray v. Administration of Children's Services, No. 98 Civ. 7356, 1999
WL 33869, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 25, 1999)).
Accordingly, further to the decision already rendered by this court in
Alleyne I, which decision should be entirely familiar to the City which
removed this case from state court, this case is remanded to the Supreme
Court of New York, Bronx County, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction.*fn4
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby
ORDERED that this action is remanded to the New York Supreme Court,
Bronx County, for lack of this Court's subject matter jurisdiction.
The Clerk of the Court is directed to close this case.