United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
ORDER & MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION
T. NUMBERS, II, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the pleadings, it appears that Plaintiff Shaquan Envi-El
received an unfavorable ruling in a family law matter from a
North Carolina District Court in Wake County. In June 2019,
Envi-El requested that this court review the state
court's decision. Envi-El entered a “Demand to
Vacate” and requested a new jury trial on the matter.
Envi-El listed her family court attorney, Jonathan Breenden;
the judge who presided over her family court case, Judge Sam
Hamadani; and Jeffery Edwards, Jr., as defendants.
support her claim, Envi-El provided an “Affidavit of
Truth” and a document arguing that the North Carolina
statutes that led to the decision against her are
unconstitutional. Envi-El also attached seemingly-purposeless
documents such as a 1957 letter from the Georgia General
Assembly urging the federal government to repeal the 14th
Amendment, transcripts of the 90th Congressional debates, and
a proclamation of her self-identification as a member of the
unrecognized Moorish Nation and North American Al Moroccan
Empire. Envi-El also made general claims that she had been
kidnapped, given excessive bail, had her due process rights
violated, and that she was diplomatically immune from any
rulings of U.S. courts.
In Forma Pauperis Motion Granted.
asks the court to allow her to proceed with her action
without paying the required filing fee and other costs
associated with litigation (colloquially called proceeding
in forma pauperis or IFP). For purposes of this
order, the motion to proceed IFP is granted.
court may grant the plaintiff's request if he or she
submits an affidavit describing their assets and the court
finds that he or she is unable to pay the filing fee. 28
U.S.C. § 1915. In assessing a request to proceed IFP,
the court should consider whether the plaintiff can pay the
costs associated with litigation and still “be able to
provide [her]self and [her] dependents with the necessities
of life.” Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours &
Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948) (internal quotations
court has reviewed Envi-El's IFP application. The court
finds that she lacks the resources to pay the costs
associated with this litigation. The court grants
Envi-El's motion and allows her to proceed IFP. But
although Envi-El qualifies for IFP status, the district court
should dismiss her request because her claim is barred by the
jurisdictional rules outlined below.
Request for Appeal of Wake County Family Court Decision
Should Be Dismissed Under the Rooker-Feldman
of its evaluation of Envi-El's request, the court must
also consider the viability of her claims. If the court
determines that the Complaint is frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, it
must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). A court may also
consider whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction over a
complaint as part of the frivolity review. See Lovern v.
Edwards, 190 F.3d 648, 654 (4th Cir. 1999) (holding that
“ [d]etermining the question of subject matter
jurisdiction at the outset of the litigation is often the
most efficient procedure”).
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine deprives the court of
subject-matter jurisdiction to hear Envi-El's claim.
Under this doctrine, “lower federal courts are
precluded from exercising appellate jurisdiction over final
state-court judgments.” Lance v. Dennis, 546
U.S. 459, 463 (2006) (per curiam); see Rooker v. Fid. Tr.
Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); D.C. Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983). This abstention doctrine
applies to “cases brought by state-court losers
complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments
rendered before the district court proceedings commenced and
inviting [federal] court review and rejection of those
judgments.” Thana v. Bd. of License Comm'rs for
Charles Cty., Md. , 827 F.3d 314, 319 (4th Cir. 2016)
(internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Exxon Mobil
Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284
displeased with the outcome in state court, filed a notice of
appeal in federal district court, thus triggering
Rooker-Feldman scrutiny. Although Envi-El's
complaint is filed with a great deal of extraneous language,
she has not concretely raised any additional issues
independent from her disagreement with the state court's
decision. She only seeks a direct reversal of the state court
proceeding. Thus, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine
deprives this court of jurisdiction over her claim and her
complaint should be dismissed.
these reasons, the court grants Envi-El's IFP motion
(D.E. 1). The undersigned recommends that the district court
dismiss Envi-El's complaint due to a lack of subject
Clerk of Court must serve a copy of this Memorandum and
Recommendation (“M&R”) on each party who has
appeared in this action. Any party may file a written
objection to the M&R within 14 days from the date the
Clerk serves it on them. The objection must specifically note
the portion of the M&R that the party objects to and the
reasons for their objection. Any other party may respond to
the objection within 14 days from the date the objecting
party serves it on them. The district judge will review the
objection and make their own determination about the matter
that is the subject of the objection. If a party does not
file a ...