United States District Court, District of Columbia
YUSUF O. BUSH, Plaintiff,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al, Defendants.
CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER JUDGE
matter is before the court on its initial review of
plaintiffs pro se complaint, application for leave
to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"), and
motion for preliminary injunction. The court will grant the
IFP application and dismiss the case for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3)
(requiring the court to dismiss an action "at any
time" if it determines that the subject matter
jurisdiction is wanting). The motion for preliminary
injunction will be denied as moot. Plaintiff has also filed a
motion to amend complaint, which will also be denied.
is a federal inmate currently designated to the U.S.
Penitentiary located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He sues the
District of Columbia "by way of [District of Columbia
Superior Court] Judge Breslow" for alleged due process
violations and "abuse of process (tort) and personal
injury (tort)." He also sues the District of Columbia
Child and Family Services Agency and three individuals who
appear to be court-appointed guardians and/or licensed social
workers involved with an underlying custody matter before the
District of Columbia Superior Court. He sues the latter set
of defendants for alleged "14th and
15th amendment violations ... as well as abuse of
process (tort)[, ] personal injury (tort), and malicious
interference (tort)." He also seemingly attempts to
bring "state law claim[s]." He seeks $2 million in
damages per claim.
initial complaint contains several deficiencies. The subject
matter jurisdiction of the federal district courts is limited
and is set forth generally at 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and
1332. Under those statutes, federal jurisdiction is available
only when a "federal question" is presented or the
parties are of diverse citizenship and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. A party seeking relief in the
district court must at least plead facts that bring the suit
within the court's jurisdiction. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 8(a). Failure to plead such facts warrants dismissal
of the action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).
plaintiff seemingly brings several different causes of
action, all of his claims are rooted in his apparent
discontent with the decisions and outcome of a child custody
matter before Judge Breslow in D.C. Superior Court. Federal
district courts lack jurisdiction to review or interfere with
judicial decisions by state and District of Columbia courts.
See Richardson v. District of Columbia Court of
Appeals, 83 F.3d 1513, 1514 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (citing
District of Columbia v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 476
(1983) and Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S.
413 (1923), aff'd, No. 94-5079, 1994 WL 474995
(D.C. Cir. 1994), cert, denied, 513 U.S. 1150
(1995)). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 42 U.S.C. §
1983, this court may hear suits alleging that public
officials have violated rights secured by the Constitution or
federal law. However, none of plaintiffs allegations
implicate constitutional or federal statutory rights. See
Lassiter v. Department of Social Services, 452 U.S. 18,
25 (1981) (no constitutional right to counsel in civil
actions where plaintiffs personal liberty is not at stake);
see also Bennett v. Bennett, 682 F.2d 1039, 1042
(D.C. Cir. 1982) (child custody issues uniquely suited to
resolution in local courts). Consequently, there is no
factual basis to support federal question jurisdiction.
plaintiff attempts to sue a judge. Based on the allegations
in the complaint, all of the actions allegedly occurred in a
judicial capacity. Such actions are thus protected under the
doctrine of judicial immunity. Judges are absolutely immune
from suits for money damages for "all actions taken in
the judge's judicial capacity, unless these actions are
taken in the complete absence of all jurisdiction."
Sindram v. Suda, 9S6 F.2d 1459, 1460 (D.C. Cir.
1993); see also Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 9
(1991) (acknowledging that a long line of Supreme Court
precedents have found that a "judge is immune from a
suit for money damages"); Caldwell v. Kagan,
865 F.Supp.2d 35, 42 (D.D.C. 2012) ("Judges have
absolute immunity for any actions taken in a judicial or
quasi-judicial capacity."). "The scope of the
judge's jurisdiction must be construed broadly where the
issue is the immunity of the judge." Stump v.
Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356 (1978). "[A] judge will
not be deprived of immunity because the action he took was in
error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of his
authority." Id.; see also Mireles, 502 U.S. at
11 ("[J]udicial immunity is not overcome by allegations
of bad faith or malice.").
this court may entertain non-federal claims if the matter
involves citizens of different states and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a)(1). First, plaintiff is a citizen of the District of
Columbia. See United States v. Bush, No. 2014 CF1
008930 (D.C. Super. Ct. filed May 21, 2015); see also
Jones v. Hadican, 552 F.2d 249, 250 (8th Cir. 1982),
cert, denied, 431 U.S. 941 (1977) (prisoner's
citizenship not affected by incarceration in different
state). All defendants are also located in the District of
Columbia. Second, to the extent that plaintiff sues the
individual defendants in their official capacities, he cannot
establish diversity jurisdiction with respect to those
employees because the District of Columbia and its attendant
agencies are not 'citizens' of any state, see
Long v. District of Columbia, 820 F.2d 409, 414 (D.C.
the initiation of this matter, plaintiff has also filed a
motion to amend complaint. This request fails to comply with
the requirements of District of Columbia Local Civil Rules
7(i) and 15.1. Additionally, leave to amend will not be
granted when amendment would be futile. See Richardson v.
United States, 193 F.3d 545, 548-49 (D.C. Cir. 1999)
(citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182(1962)).
Here, plaintiff seemingly requests that the court interpret
defendant "Stacey Roberts (guardian)" as an
"agent of the state," and employee of the District
of Columbia government. He alleges that Ms. Roberts has
denied him contact with his son. This proposed amendment is
of no consequence as it still fails to provide this court
with any basis for jurisdiction or to cure any of the other
fails to raise any federal question. He also fails to satisfy
the burden to establish diversity jurisdiction. Therefore,
this case will be dismissed for want of subject matter