United States District Court, E.D. New York
ANTHONY W. HALL, Plaintiff,
HON. CHERYL J. GONZALES; HON. CAROLYN WALKER DIALO; JOSEPH MINOGUE; ED HALL; BALSAMO & ROSENBLATT; ILEANA RIVERA; MAZAL MAPLNABC 2018 LLC; ARSEN YAKUBOV; DEBORAH M. MARSHALL; TOBY WELLS; SPECIALIZED LOAN SERVICING; SYLVIA G. ASH; MARK I. PARTNOW; HON. JANET DIFIORE; FRENKEL LAMBERT WEISS WEISMAN & GORDON; CHARLES W. SCARF; BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
N. VITALIANO United States District Judge.
Anthony W. Hall brings this action invoking the Court's
federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331,
challenging the foreclosure of his real property located in
Brooklyn, New York. Plaintiffs application to proceed in
forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is granted
solely for the purpose of this Order. For the reasons
discussed below, the complaint is dismissed.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), a district court must dismiss
an in forma pauperis action when the action
"(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such
pro se pleadings are held "to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,"
Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9, 101 S.Ct. 173, 175,
66 L.Ed.2d 163 (1980), a complaint must nevertheless plead
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1973, 167
L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). A pro se plaintiff must also
"still comply with the relevant rules of procedural and
substantive law, including establishing that the court has
subject matter jurisdiction over the action." Ally
v. Sukkar, 128 Fed.Appx. 194, 195 (2d Cir. 2005). If
subject matter jurisdiction is absent, the district court
must dismiss the complaint regardless of the merits of the
underlying action. See Nowak v. Ironworkers Local 6
Pension Fund, 81 F.3d 1182, 1188 (2d Cir. 1996); see
also Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126
S.Ct. 1235, 1244, 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006).
Plaintiff challenges the May 15, 2015, judgment of
foreclosure of his real property located at 497 Maple Street,
Brooklyn, New York, in Kings County Supreme Court.
See Compl. at 13. Plaintiff alleges that defendants
engaged in fraud and seeks the return of the property.
Id. at 8, 10.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and may not hear
cases if they lack subject matter jurisdiction over the
issues presented. Singh v. U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Servs., 878 F.3d 441, 445 (2d Cir. 2017);
Doe v. United States, 833 F.3d 192, 196 (2d Cir.
2016). The statutory provisions for federal subject matter
jurisdiction are contained in 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and
1332. Federal question jurisdiction provides federal courts
jurisdiction over "all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States."
Gallego v. Northland Grp. Inc., 814 F.3d 123, 126
(2d Cir. 2016) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1331). A plaintiff
properly invokes section 1331 jurisdiction when he pleads a
colorable claim "arising under" the Constitution or
laws of the United States. Id. Under diversity
jurisdiction, federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction
over state law claims where the plaintiff and defendant are
of diverse citizenship and "the matter in controversy
exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest
and costs." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a); see also
Bayerische Landesbank, N Y. Branch v. Aladdin Capital Mgmt.
LLC, 692 F.3d 42, 48 (2d Cir. 2012).
subject matter jurisdiction cannot be waived and may be
raised at any time by a party or by the court sua sponte.
See Henderson ex rel Henderson v. Shinseki, 562 U.S.
428, 434, 131 S.Ct. 1197, 1202, 179 L.Ed.2d 159 (2011)
("[F]ederal courts have an independent obligation to
ensure that they do not exceed the scope of their
jurisdiction, and therefore they must raise and decide
jurisdictional questions that the parties either overlook or
elect not to press."). If a court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, it must dismiss the action. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(h)(3); Arbaugh, 546 U.S. at 514 (2006);
Durant, Nichols, Houston, Hodgson & Cortese-Costa,
P.C v. Dupont, 565 F.3d 56, 62-3 (2d Cir. 2009).
jurisdictional inquiry sounds the death knell for Hall's
lawsuit. Succinctly, the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as it is well
settled that judgments of foreclosure are fundamentally
matters of state law. See, e.g., Worthy-Pugh v. Deutsche
Bank National Trust, 664 Fed.Appx. 20, 21 (2d Cir. Oct.
18, 2016) (summary order) (a district court lacks
jurisdiction to invalidate a foreclosure judgment);
Vossbrinck v. Accredited Home Lenders, Inc., 773
F.3d 423, 426 (2d Cir. 2014) (state foreclosure action and
judgment barred from district court review by
Rooker-Feldman doctrine); see also Hung v.
Hurwitz, No. 17-CV-4140, 2017 WL 3769223 at *2 (E.D.N.Y.
Aug. 29, 2017).
with this analysis, the complaint is dismissed without
prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). Further, in keeping with its duty to
liberally construe pro se complaints, the Court has
considered whether to grant leave to amend the complaint, but
finds that amendment would be futile. See Johnson v.
Univ. of Rochester Med. Or., 642 F.3d 121, 124-25 (2d
plaintiff is cautioned that this Court will not tolerate
frivolous litigation and "[i]f a litigant has a history
of filing vexatious, harassing or duplicative lawsuits,
courts may impose sanctions, including restrictions on future
access to the judicial system." Hong Mai Sa v.