United States District Court, W.D. New York
LAWRENCE J. VILARDO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
November 1, 2016, the Court referred this case to United
States Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr., for all
proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and
(B). Docket Item 3. On November 29, 2016, both defendants
moved to dismiss. Docket Items 12, 13. On December 13, 2016,
the plaintiff responded to the defendants' motions,
Docket Items 15, 16, and on December 30, 2016, the defendants
replied. Docket Items 17, 18.
January 3, 2017, Judge Schroeder issued a Report and
Recommendation finding that the defendants' motions
should be granted. Docket Item 19. The parties did not object
to the Report and Recommendation, and the time to do so now
has expired. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1);
district court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in
part, the findings or recommendation of a magistrate judge.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). A district
court must conduct a de novo review of those portions of a
magistrate judge's recommendation to which objection is
made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). But
neither 28 U.S.C. § 636 nor Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 72 requires a district court to review the
recommendation of a magistrate judge to which no objections
are addressed. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140,
this Court has carefully reviewed Judge Schroeder's
Report and Recommendation as well as the parties'
submissions to him. Based on that review and the absence of
any objections, the Court accepts and adopts Judge
Schroeder's recommendation to grant the defendants'
plaintiff asks this Court for relief with respect to a
mortgage. He specifically requests, among other things, an
injunction of “any foreclosure activity” in
connection with property located at 6348 Ward Road, Sanborn,
New York. See Docket Item 1 at 17-18. The New York
State Supreme Court, Niagara County, entered a judgment of
foreclosure and sale on September 21, 2016, but the plaintiff
claims that several representations made in connection with
the underlying loan were fraudulent, false, and in violation
of New York Business Law § 349. See Id. at 5-9,
10-13, 14-17. The plaintiff apparently did not appeal the
foreclosure in the state court system, instead bringing the
action at bar.
courts are not courts of appeal for litigants unhappy with a
state court decision. In fact, the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine precludes federal court jurisdiction over such
matters. See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus.
Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005); see also District
of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462
(1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413,
414-15 (1923). Rooker-Feldman applies when four
factors are present: (1) the federal-court plaintiff lost in
state court, (2) the plaintiff seeks redress for injuries
caused by the state court judgment, (3) the plaintiff seeks
federal court review of the state court judgment, and (4) the
state court judgment was issued before the federal action was
filed. Hoblock v. Albany Cty Bd. of Elections, 422
F.3d 77, 85 (2d Cir. 2005).
the plaintiff concedes that the third and fourth factors are
satisfied. See, e.g., Docket Item 15 at 4; Docket
Item 16 at 4. But the plaintiff claims that because he
“did not lose on the issues adjudicated in
state court” and “does not complain of injuries
caused by the state court judgment, ”
Rooker-Feldman does not apply. Docket Item 15 at 4;
Docket Item 16 at 4. The plaintiff is incorrect.
it appears that the plaintiff actually argued the issue of
allegedly false and fraudulent representations in the state
court foreclosure proceeding-and lost. See Docket
Item 13-12 at 2-3; see also Docket Item 19 at 8.
Even if he had not argued that issue, however, the plaintiff
explicitly attacks the state court judgment rendered against
him: he invites this Court to review and reject that
judgment. See Docket Item 15 at 3-4; Docket Item 16
at 3-4. Because the plaintiff asks this Court to review and
reject a state court judgment, he must have lost in state
court; otherwise, why bring the federal court action asking
that the judgment be rejected?
the state court judgment was the vehicle by which the
defendants' alleged misrepresentations and fraud actually
injured the plaintiff. The allegedly false
representations-about an escrow deficiency, a “new
unpaid principal balance, ” etc.- did not result in
actual injury to the plaintiff until the state court's
judgment of foreclosure was entered. For that reason as well,
the second factor of Rooker-Feldman is met.
attacks on state court judgments of foreclosure are
“clearly barred by the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine.” Niles v. Wilshore Inv. Grp., LLC,
859 F.Supp.2d 308, 334 (E.D.N.Y. 2012); see also Ashby v.
Polinsky, 328 F. App'x 20 (2d Cir. 2009) (summary
order) (affirming lower court's dismissal for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction). This case is precisely an
attack on the New York state court's ...