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Radabaugh v. Corporation Trust Co.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

September 13, 2017

DAWN MARIE RADABAUGH, Plaintiff,
v.
CORPORATION TRUST COMPANY, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, MINNESOTA STATE BAR, STATE OF MINNESOTA, DISTRICT COURT HENNEPIN COUNTY CIVIL DIVISION, DISTRICT COURT HENNEPIN COUNTY JUVENILE DIVISION, CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES, HENNEPIN COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, JOHN DOE, JOANN LISA KARETOV, AMY JOHNSON, JOANNE GRUBER, JANINE MOORE, LUIS BARTOLOMEI, LISA GORDON, CHRISTINA MARTENSON, MICHAEL O. FREEMAN, KACY WOTHE, KARIN L. CHEDISTER, MICHELLE ANN LARKIN, RANDOLPH PETERSON, TRACI SMITH, ERIC S. REHM, PAT TIMPANE, and SHEILA THOMAS, Defendants.

          Dawn Marie Radabaugh, pro se.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Dawn Marie Radabaugh filed a Complaint under various common-law theories arising from the termination of her parental rights over her child S.M.R.K. This matter is now before the Court on Radabaugh's objections to the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson.[1] The Court has conducted a de novo review of Radabaugh's objections pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will overrule Radabaugh's objections and adopt the R&R.

         BACKGROUND

         In March 2015, Hennepin County (the “County”) petitioned the Hennepin County District Court to terminate Radabaugh's parental rights. In re Welfare of Child of D.M.R., No. A15-0494, 2015 WL 6113511, at *1 (Minn.Ct.App. Oct. 19, 2015). The County alleged that Radabaugh abandoned S.M.R.K. and “failed to satisfy the duties of the parent-child relationship.” Id. The court held a termination trial that spanned two months and ultimately “ruled that termination of [Radabaugh's] parental rights [was] in [S.M.R.K.'s] best interests.” Id. at *2; (see also Compl. ¶ 69, May 10, 2017, Docket No. 1 (noting the trial dates)). Radabaugh appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, who affirmed the state district court in October 2015. Id. at *1.

         On May 10, 2017, Radabaugh filed the Complaint in this Court asserting claims against the State of Minnesota, certain state-government agencies, divisions of Hennepin County District Court, the American Bar Association (“ABA”), the Minnesota Bar Association (“MSBA”), Corporation Trust Company, and a list of individuals who were involved in the termination proceedings. (Compl. ¶ 1.) Radabaugh's claims are titled “Trespass” or “Trespass on the Case, ” but are largely framed as Constitutional violations for wrongful termination of parental rights. (See Id. ¶¶ 24-88.)

         The magistrate judge submitted an R&R on May 22, 2017. (R&R, May 22, 2017, Docket No. 2.) The magistrate judge recommended the Court dismiss the Complaint sua sponte on three grounds: (1) some claims are barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine; (2) some claims are barred by the doctrine of prosecutorial and judicial immunity; and (3) the remaining claims are wholly frivolous. (Id. at 2-3.) Radabaugh filed timely objections to the R&R. (Obj. to R&R, May 31, 2017, Docket No. 7.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         After a magistrate judge files an R&R, a party may file “specific written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2); accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(1). “The objections should specify the portions of the magistrate judge's report and recommendation to which objections are made and provide a basis for those objections.” Mayer v. Walvatne, No. 07-1958, 2008 WL 4527774, at *2 (D. Minn. Sept. 28, 2008). For dispositive motions, the Court reviews de novo a “properly objected to” portion of an R&R. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3). “Objections which are not specific but merely repeat arguments presented to and considered by a magistrate judge are not entitled to de novo review, but rather are reviewed for clear error.” Montgomery v. Compass Airlines, LLC, 98 F.Supp.3d 1012, 1017 (D. Minn. 2015).

         II. OBJECTIONS TO R&R

         A. Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

         Radabaugh first objects to the magistrate judge's recommendation that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars some of her claims. Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, federal courts do not have subject-matter jurisdiction over challenges to state-court decisions. See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 283-84 (2005). The doctrine is narrow and 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 district court review and rejection of those judgments.” Riehm v. Engelking, 538 F.3d 952, 964 (8th Cir. 2008) (quoting Exxon Mobil Corp., 544 U.S. at 284). The magistrate judge found that, to the extent the Complaint asks the Court to find the state courts lacked jurisdiction over the custody proceedings or erred in its conclusion regarding the termination of Radabaugh's parental rights, the claims were barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.

         Radabaugh claims the Rooker-Feldman doctrine does not apply to her claims because the state courts were acting outside the scope of their jurisdiction. But, to the extent Radabaugh asks the Court to “overturn various state court orders, ” the Rooker-Feldman doctrine precludes review even if Radabaugh challenges the state court's jurisdiction. Cassell v. Cty. of Ramsey, No. 10-4981, 2012 WL 928242, at *1-2, 4 (D. Minn. Mar. 19, 2012), aff'd, 490 F. App'x 842 (8th Cir. 2012). For this reason, the Court will overrule Radabaugh's objection and adopt the R&R's ...


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