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Mather v. Territorial Savings Bank

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

November 17, 2014

DIANE E. MATHER, Plaintiff,
v.
TERRITORIAL SAVINGS BANK, a federal savings bank; WAYNE K.D. Mau, an individual; and EDWIN C. NACINO, an individual, Defendants

Diane E. Mather, Plaintiff, Pro se, Honolulu, HI.

For Territorial Savings Bank, a federal savings bank, Defendant: Wayne K.T. Mau, LEAD ATTORNEY, Koshiba Price Gruebner & Mau, Honolulu, HI.

For Wayne K.T. Mau, an individual, Defendant: Michelle J. Bento, LEAD ATTORNEY, Koshiba Price Gruebner & Mau, Honolulu, HI.

For Edwin C. Nacino, an individual, Defendant: Robyn B. Chun, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the Attorney General-State of Hawaii, Administration Division, Honolulu, HI.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE

Derrick K. Watson, United States District Judge.

Mather has filed yet another complaint in this Court on the heels of having judgment entered against her in state judicial foreclosure proceedings. Because the instant complaint effectively seeks review and readjudication of the state foreclosure action, this Court lacks jurisdiction pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Consequently, the complaint is dismissed without leave to amend.

BACKGROUND

The parties have an extensive litigation history that need not be recounted in detail. That history includes state foreclosure proceedings previously addressed in this Court's dismissal of an earlier complaint by Mather. See Mather v. Territorial Savings Bank, et al., CV No. 14-00082 DKW-RLP, Dkt. No. 50 (dismissing Mather's complaint and denying leave to amend).

In short, Territorial Savings Bank (" TSB") made a loan to Mather on September 23, 2009 in exchange for a mortgage on the property at 1348 Wanaka Street, Honolulu, Hawai'i (" Wanaka property"). After Mather failed to make payments on the loan, TSB initiated a foreclosure action in early 2014, and final judgment was entered in that action against Mather. The sale of the property, pursuant to the judicial foreclosure process, closed on April 28, 2014. Wayne Mau was TSB's counsel during the state foreclosure action and Judge Edwin Nacino presided over that action.

Although each defendant has filed a separate motion to dismiss Mather's present complaint and included different bases for dismissal, all defendants agree that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Because the Court sees it the same way, the complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), a defendant may move to dismiss a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the initial burden of proving that subject matter jurisdiction exists. Robinson v. United States, 586 F.3d 683, 685 (9th Cir. 2009).

DISCUSSION

Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine ( Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 44 S.Ct. 149, 68 L.Ed. 362 (1923), and District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 103 S.Ct. 1303, 75 L.Ed.2d 206 (1983), collectively referred to as Rooker-Feldman ), " 'a losing party in state court is barred from seeking what in substance would be appellate review of the state judgment in a United States District Court, based on the losing party's claim that the state judgment itself violates the loser's federal rights.'" Bennett v. Yoshina, 140 F.3d 1218, 1223 (9th Cir. 1998) (quoting Johnson v. De Grandy, 512 U.S. 997, 1005-06, 114 S.Ct. 2647, 129 L.Ed.2d 775 (1994)). The Rooker-Feldman doctrine divests federal district courts of jurisdiction to conduct direct reviews of state court judgments even when a federal question is presented. Jurisdiction is lacking even if the state court decision is challenged as unconstitutional. Litigants who believe that a state judicial proceeding has violated their constitutional rights must appeal that decision through their state courts and ...


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