Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hamilton v. Bromley

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

July 10, 2017

HARRY E. HAMILTON, Appellant
v.
NICOLE BROMLEY, Centre County Children and Youth Services; DIRECTOR OWNER OPERATOR YOUTH HAVEN; JUDGE BRADLEY P. LUNSFORD; JOHN DOES, JANE DOES, Employees of Children and Youth Services, Youth Haven or ABC Corps

          Argued Date: May 22, 2017

         On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (M.D.Pa. No. 4-14-cv-02248) District Judge: Honorable Matthew W. Brann

          Jon G. Heintz [ARGUED] Jennifer L. Swize Jones Counsel for Harry E. Hamilton

          James P. Johnson [ARGUED] Counsel for Nicole Bromley

          Steven F. Baicker-McKee Babst Calland, Amy H. Marshall [ARGUED] Babst Calland Counsel for Director Owner Operator Youth Haven

          Michael Daley [ARGUED] Counsel for Judge Bradley P. Lunsford

          Before: HARDIMAN, ROTH and FISHER, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          FISHER, Circuit Judge.

         It is a longstanding principle that the federal courts "have no more right to decline the exercise of jurisdiction which is given, than to usurp that which is not given." Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat.) 264, 404 (1821). But in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the Supreme Court recognized "a far-from-novel exception to this general rule, " Sprint Commc'ns, Inc. v. Jacobs, 134 S.Ct. 584, 591 (2013) (internal quotation marks omitted), which it expanded in subsequent decisions. Under the Court's Younger jurisprudence, federal courts are obligated to abstain from exercising their jurisdiction where it would interfere with "state criminal prosecutions, " certain "civil enforcement proceedings, " or "civil proceedings involving certain orders that are uniquely in furtherance of the state courts' ability to perform their judicial functions." New Orleans Pub. Serv., Inc. v. Council of New Orleans, 491 U.S. 350, 368 ("NOPSI") (1989).

          In this case, Harry Hamilton seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from an alleged conspiracy to deprive him of contact with his son. But because he now has custody of his son subject to pending state-court proceedings, the District Court opined that this case could be moot and dismissed it on Younger abstention grounds. Although the District Court erred in dismissing this case under Younger before resolving whether it is moot-a federal court can abstain from exercising its jurisdiction only if it has jurisdiction to abstain from-we find that Hamilton's custody of his son has mooted his case. We will accordingly affirm the District Court's dismissal on that alternate ground.

         I

         Since 2004, Harry Hamilton and his ex-wife, Sherrilyn Washington, have fought in state court for custody of their son, S.H. This case originates from that dispute, centering on a three-week period in 2014 when Hamilton had partial custody of S.H. and S.H. accused Washington of abusing him.

         A

         On November 7, 2014, S.H. fled from Washington's home to Hamilton's claiming that he had been abused by her. Hamilton filed a motion in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas for a temporary order giving him full custody of S.H. And after S.H. stayed with Hamilton over the weekend, Washington filed ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.