United States District Court, D. Hawaii
AMENDED ORDER GRANTING STATE OF HAWAII
JUDICIARY'S, DOCTOR KOBAYASHI'S, and DOCTOR
HUANG'S MOTIONS TO DISMISS
OKI MOLLWAY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Order Granting State of Hawaii Judiciary's, Doctor
Kobayashi's, and Doctor Huang's Motions to Dismiss,
filed on July 3, 2018, is withdrawn, and this Amended Order
is substituted in its place. The disposition remains the
same, but the court's reasoning has been amended in some
Yurie Yamano, proceeding pro se, asserts that
Defendants violated her Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights. The allegations focus on medical treatment Yamano
received from Doctor Keiichi Kobayashi and Doctor Katie Huang
related to the removal of Yamano's gallbladder in January
2014. Yamano asserts that Kobayashi and Huang violated Hawaii
state malpractice laws and that the State of Hawaii Judiciary
denied her due process when she brought her malpractice
claims in state court.
Defendant has filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint.
See ECF Nos. 10, 11, and 15. The court grants the
motions and dismisses this case.
alleges that, in January 2012, she began experiencing severe
stomach pains and sought treatment from Kobayashi.
See ECF No. 1, PageID # 2. According to the
Complaint, Kobayashi diagnosed Yamano with gastroenteritis,
but during an emergency room visit in January 2014, another
doctor determined that she was suffering from gallstones.
See ECF No. 1, PageID #s 2-3. Yamano alleges that
she suffered “excruciating pain” because
Kobayashi had misdiagnosed her in 2012. See ECF No.
1, PageID #s 3, 5.
further alleges that on January 31, 2014, following the
emergency room visit, Huang removed Yamano's gallbladder.
See ECF No. 1, PageID # 3. Yamano alleges that she
consented only to having her gallstones removed, not her
entire gallbladder. See ECF No. 1, PageID # 3.
Yamano alleges that, as a result of the surgery, she suffers
from various digestive issues if she eats certain foods.
See ECF No. 1, PageID #s 5-6.
October 2014, Yamano filed a medical malpractice suit against
Kobayashi and Huang in Hawaii state court. See ECF
No. 10-5, PageID # 54. Kobayashi filed a motion to dismiss on
the ground that Chapter 671 of Hawaii Revised Statutes
required Yamano to file a claim with the Medical Inquiry and
Conciliation Panel (“MICP”) prior to filing her
complaint in state court. See ECF No. 13-5, PageID
#s 126-27. The motion was granted, the case was dismissed,
and judgment was entered. ECF No. 10-6, PageID #s 61-62; ECF
No. 10-7, PageID # 63-64. Yamano appealed, and the case
eventually reached the Hawaii Supreme Court, which granted
Yamano's application for writ of certiorari but later
dismissed the matter on the ground that the writ had been
improvidently granted. ECF No. 10-11, PageID #s 73-74.
February 28, 2018, Yamano filed this Complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of her Fifth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. See ECF No. 1, PageID # 1. Though
unclear, the Complaint appears to allege that the State of
Hawaii Judiciary violated Yamano's due process rights by
dismissing her certiorari proceedings and by not
“recognizing the Constitutional Due process
violations” caused by the requirement that she first
file a claim with the MICP. See ECF No. 1, PageID #s
4, 6-7. The Complaint also alleges medical malpractice claims
against Kobayashi and Huang. See ECF No. 1, PageID
#s 5-6. The Complaint seeks $10 million in compensatory
damages and $10 million in punitive damages against each
Defendant. See ECF No. 1, PageID #s 7-8. The
Complaint also seeks declaratory judgment against the State
of Hawaii Judiciary “for grossly violating the
Plaintiff's rights acting in absence of all
jurisdiction” and “not following public policy
which is also considered as [sic] treason and not a function
of a sitting judge.” ECF No. 1, PageID # 8.
response, each Defendant filed a motion to dismiss.
See ECF Nos. 10, 11, and 15.
MOTION TO DISMISS STANDARDS.
Rule 12(b)(1) (Lack of Subject-Matter Jurisdiction).
and Huang both raise the prior state court proceedings as a
bar to Yamano's state law claims against them in this
court. Apparently treating that bar as a matter to be
examined either under Rule 12(b)(6) or Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, they do not discuss the
jurisdictional impact of the prior state court proceeding.
judicata is not a jurisdictional issue, but the related but
distinguishable Rooker-Feldman doctrine goes
directly to subject matter jurisdiction. This court
determines that Rooker-Feldman is implicated in this
case, for reasons discussed later in the present order.
federal court has a duty to examine subject matter
jurisdiction on its own even if no party raises the issue.
See Grupo Dataflux v. Atlas Global Grp., L.P., 541
U.S. 567, 593 (2004) (“[I]t is the obligation of both
district court and counsel to be alert to jurisdictional
requirements.”); Watkins v. Vital Pharma.,
Inc., 720 F.3d 1179, 1181 (9th Cir. 2013) (“[I]t
is well established that district courts may address
questions of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte.”)
This court accordingly proceeds as if Kobayashi and Huang had
also moved under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Rule 12(b)(1), a complaint may be dismissed for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. An attack on subject matter
jurisdiction “may be facial or factual.” Safe
Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir.
2004). A facial attack asserts that “the allegations
contained in a complaint are insufficient on their face to
invoke federal jurisdiction[, ]” while a factual attack
“disputes the truth of the allegations that, by
themselves, would otherwise invoke federal
jurisdiction.” Id. Before this court is a
deciding a Rule 12(b)(1) facial attack motion, a court must
assume the facts alleged in the complaint to be true and
construe them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party. Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328
F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003). However, courts “do
not accept legal conclusions in the complaint as
true, even if ‘cast in the form of factual
allegations.'” Lacano Invs., LLC v.
Balash, 765 F.3d 1068, 1071 (9th Cir. 2014) (emphasis in
original) (quoting Doe v. Holy See, 557 F.3d 1066,
1073 (9th Cir. 2009)).
Rule 12(b)(5) (Insufficient Service of Process).
12(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows
dismissal of a complaint based on insufficient service of
process. Federal courts cannot exercise personal jurisdiction
over a defendant without proper service of process. Omni
Capital Int'l, Ltd. v. Wolff & Co., 484 U.S. 97,
104 (1987). “[S]ervice of process is the mechanism by
which the court actually acquires the power to enforce a
judgment against the defendant's person or
property.” SEC v. Ross, 504 F.3d 1130, 1138
(9th Cir. 2007) (alterations omitted).
determine whether service of process was proper, a court
looks to the requirements of Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Gidding v. Anderson, No. C-07-04755
JSW, 2008 WL 4065814, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 27, 2008); 5B
Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal
Practice & Procedure § 1353 (3d ed. 2009).
“Rule 4 is a flexible rule that should be liberally
construed to uphold service so long as a party receives
sufficient notice of the complaint.” United Food
& Commercial Workers Union, Local 197 v. Alpha Beta
Co., 736 F.2d 1371, 1382 (9th Cir. 1984). However,
“neither actual notice nor simply naming the ...