United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
TERRENCE W. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on defendant Deutsche Bank
Trust's motion to dismiss [DE 22], defendant Poor
Substitute Trustee's motion to dismiss [DE 26], and
defendant Matressa Morris's motion to dismiss [DE 32], as
well as plaintiffs motions for a temporary restraining order
and preliminary injunction [DE 29] and for default [DE 36].
The matters are ripe for ruling. The case is dismissed for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
23, 2016, a foreclosure action regarding property owned by
plaintiffs was filed in Wake County Superior Court. The Clerk
of Court held a hearing on September 30, 2016, and entered an
order permitting the foreclosure to proceed. On October 3,
2016, the plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal in Wake County
Superior Court. A hearing was held on the issue over July 31
and August 1, 2017. The Court issued an order permitting the
foreclosure to proceed. On August 24, 2017, plaintiffs filed
an application for a temporary stay and writ of supersedeas.
The stay application was denied on August 29, and the writ
was denied on October 6. On September 7, 2017, plaintiffs,
proceeding pro se, filed the instant suit in federal
court, alleging a series of state law and constitutional
claims based in the foreclosure proceeding. Three of the
named defendants have moved to dismiss the claims.
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a matter must be
dismissed if the court determines it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). The issue of subject
matter jurisdiction is a threshold one-without it, the case
cannot proceed. See Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better
Environment, 523 U.S. 83, 96 (1998). The court may raise
it regardless of whether the defendants do. Kontrick v.
Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 455 (2004).
federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). "A United States District court has no
authority to review final judgments of a state court
injudicial proceedings." Brown & Root, Inc., v.
Breckenridge, 211 F.3d 194, 198 (4th Cir. 2000), quoting
Dist. of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460
U.S. 462, 482 (1983). This restriction applies not only to
direct review of issues actually decided, but also claims
"inextricably intertwined" with state court
decisions. 460 U.S. at 486-87. That is to say, if, to find
for the plaintiffs on a particular claim, a district court
would have to hold that the state court wrongly decided the
issues before it, then jurisdiction is foreclosed as to that
claim. Plyler v. Moore, 129 F.3d 728, 731 (4th Cir.
of this, all of plaintiffs' claims must be dismissed. As
their complaint states, "[t]he events [giving rise to
the claims] occurred in Wake County North Carolina Clerk of
Courts office." [DE 1 at 4]. Their claims are: that the
deed relied upon in the foreclosure proceeding was void; that
the person representing one of the defendants in the
foreclosure proceeding was not a licensed attorney; that the
defendants misrepresented the contents of documents in the
foreclosure hearing; that defendants' actions in the
hearing violated plaintiffs' constitutional rights; and
that the court itself erred in granting the foreclosure
order. This last claim drives the problem home: plaintiffs
have filed this suit because they are unhappy with the result
they received in Wake County Superior Court. A party who
loses in state court does not have the right to seek what
would essentially be a substantive review of that judgment,
despite the losing party's claim that the judgment itself
was a violation of their rights. Johnson v. De
Grandy, 512 U.S. 997, 1005-1006 (1994). That is exactly
what this would be, and so this Court does not have
are appearing pro se. Because of this, they are
entitled to a certain amount of leniency, especially as to
the formalities of pleading requirements. See Weller v.
Dept. of Soc. Servs. for City of Baltimore, 901 F.2d
387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990). But pro se status cannot
operate to manufacture jurisdiction when none exists.
Nationwide Trustee Services has yet to appear in this case.
The sufficiency of service of process in this case under Rule
12(b)(5) has been questioned. [DE 23 at 6]. Defendant
Matressa Morris, in her memorandum in support of her motion
to dismiss, claimed that Nationwide Trustee Services has
declared bankruptcy and ceased operations. [DE 33 at 1-2]. As
this case is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, it is
unnecessary to unravel the reasons behind this
defendant's failure to appear.
motions to dismiss [DE 22, 26, 32] are GRANTED.
Plaintiffs' motion for extension of time is DENIED as
moot. [DE 9]. Plaintiffs' motion for a temporary
restraining order is also DENIED as moot. [DE 29].
Plaintiffs' motion for entry of default is DENIED ...