United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the court on Defendant James Inzer's
(“Defendant”) Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. # 20). The
Motion is fully briefed (Docs. # 20 and 24) and is ripe for
review. For the reasons explained below, Defendant's
motion is due to be granted.
action arises out of an order entered in a previous state
court case in the Circuit Court of Etowah County, Alabama. In
that earlier state court litigation, Plaintiff Jim Campbell
(“Plaintiff”) sued his brother, Joseph R.
Campbell. His brother was represented by Defendant James
Inzer (“Defendant”). (Doc. # 1 at 1). In the
prior state court case, Defendant Inzer, on behalf of his
client (Plaintiff's brother), moved to dismiss, arguing
that Plaintiff's claims were barred by the doctrine of
res judicata in connection with an even-earlier 2006 case
(also between the brothers). (Doc. # 20 at 3). The state
trial court granted the motion to dismiss. Plaintiff
appealed.(Doc. # 20 at 3).
January 25, 2017, Plaintiff moved the state trial court to
send the record of a 2006 case to the appellate court to
allow the appellate court to review both cases and evaluate
whether the defendant's res judicata defense was proper.
(Doc. # 19 at ¶ 4; Doc., # 1 at 4). On January 27, 2017,
the trial court judge, the Honorable William Ogletree, denied
Plaintiff's motion. (Doc. # 19 at 1, ¶ 4). On May
26, 2017, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the
trial court's dismissal of Plaintiff's state court
case without opinion. (Doc. # 1 at 6).
case, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Inzer conspired with
Judge Ogletree to deny Plaintiff a “fair and impartial
hearing.” (Doc. # 19 at 2, ¶ 8). In particular,
Plaintiff claims that his rights were violated when Judge
Ogletree (purportedly based upon a conspiracy with Defendant
Inzer) denied Plaintiff's motion and refused to send the
2006 case record to the appeals court. (Doc. # 1 at 2).
Plaintiff filed his original complaint on May 28, 2019,
alleging violations of his due process rights under the
5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S.
Constitution. (Doc. #1 at 1). In response to this
court's Order, on July 18, 2019, Plaintiff filed an
Amended Complaint. (Docs. # 19). Defendant's current
Motion to Dismiss argues that Plaintiff's suit is barred
by the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, or in the
alternative, that Plaintiff's conspiracy claim fails to
state a claim as a matter of law. (Doc. # 20 at 9, 14).
Standard of Review
The Rule 12(b)(1) Standard
Rule 12(b)(1), an attack on subject matter jurisdiction is
either facial or factual. Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919
F.2d 1525, 1528-29 (11th Cir. 1990). Facial attacks
“require[ ] the court merely to look and see if [the]
plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a basis of subject matter
jurisdiction, and the allegations in his complaint are taken
as true for the purposes of the motion.” Id.
at 1259; Ex Parte Safeway Ins. Co. of Ala., Inc.,
990 So.2d 344, 349 (Ala. 2008) (“If a defendant mounts
a ‘facial' challenge to the legal sufficiency of
the plaintiff's jurisdictional allegations, the court
must accept as true the allegations in the complaint and
consider the factual allegations of the complaint in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party.”
attacks, on the other hand, challenge “the existence of
subject matter jurisdiction in fact, irrespective of the
pleadings.” Id. at 1529. When the challenge is
a factual attack, “no presumptive truthfulness attaches
to plaintiff's allegations, and the existence of disputed
material facts will not preclude the trial court from
evaluating for itself the merits of jurisdictional
claims.” Id. (quoting Williamson v.
Tucker, 645 F.2d 404, 412 (5th Cir. 1981)); Ex Parte
Safeway, 990 So.2d at 350 (“[A] court deciding a
Rule 12(b)(1) motion asserting a factual challenge
‘must go beyond the pleadings and resolve any disputed
issues of fact the resolution of which is necessary to a
ruling upon the motion to dismiss.'” (quotation
Defendant advances a factual attack on the court's
subject matter jurisdiction. (Doc. # 20 at 7). Accordingly,
the court may consider and rely on extrinsic evidence to
determine whether subject matter jurisdiction does in fact
exist. Ex Parte Safeway, 990 So.2d at 350.
The Rule 12(b)(6) Standard
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint
provide “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, the complaint must include
enough facts “to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Pleadings that
contain nothing more than “a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action” do not meet Rule 8
standards, nor do pleadings suffice that are based merely
upon “labels and conclusions” or “naked
assertion[s]” without supporting factual allegations.
Id. at 555, 557. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss, courts view the allegations in the complaint in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Watts
v. Fla. Int'l Univ., 495 F.3d 1289, 1295 (11th Cir.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although “[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, '” the complaint
must demonstrate “more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. A