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.

Battles v. Penna Housing Finance Agency

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 2, 2018

MISS BOBBIE JEAN BATTLES, Plaintiff,
v.
PENNA HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          GERALD J. PAPPERT, J.

         On February 5, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Bobbie Jean Battles filed a Complaint against the “Penna” Housing Finance Agency, Daryl P. Rotz, the Philadelphia Property Tax Department, the Philadelphia Water Revenue Department, Howard Neukurg, Judge John Herron, the “Commonwealth of Philadelphia, ” Temple Episcopal Mental Hospital, Social Worker Madeline, and “Falsified 303.” She also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. By Memorandum and Order entered on February 12, 2018, the Court granted Battles leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dismissed her Complaint, and provided leave to file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days. Battles v. Penna Housing Fin. Agency, No. 18-494, 2018 WL 835045, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 12, 2018). Specifically, the Court noted that, pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, it lacked jurisdiction over Battles' appeal of the dismissal of her state court case. Id. The Court also noted that any claims not barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine failed to comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because “Battles ha[d] not provided any facts to support her allegations.” Id.

         Battles did not file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days. Accordingly, by Order entered on April 9, 2018, the Court dismissed this action without prejudice for failure to prosecute. (ECF No. 5.) On April 18, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit received an Amended Complaint from Battles. (ECF No. 6.) The Third Circuit returned the Amended Complaint to Battles, and Battles subsequently submitted it to this Court. The Amended Complaint names the following individuals and entities as Defendants: (1) Einstein Crisis Center: Falsified 302 (2015); (2) Social Worker Madeline: Falsified 303; (3) Judge John Herron; (4) Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency Director Daryl P. Rotz; (5) Philadelphia Water Revenue Commissioner Howard Neukurg; and (6) the Philadelphia Property Tax Department. For the following reasons, the Court will reopen this matter, dismiss the Amended Complaint, and provide one final opportunity to amend.

         I

         In her Amended Complaint, Battles alleges that Judge John Herron of the Philadelphia Orphans Court breached Rule and Canon 2 of the Judicial Reform and Counsel Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 by “illegally ruling PLAINTIFF, Bobbie Jean Battles, incapacitated without reviewing any of litigation, and emphasizing only on PHFA's mortgage.” (Am. Compl. at 5.)[1] She further asserts that “Einstein Crisis Center's, 2015, never examined PLAINTFF, transferred to Temple Episcopal Mental Hospital: unfair mental trial-no witnesses allowed; Social Worker made a [FALSIFIED 303] holding me for, at least SEVENTY-FOUR DAYS (74).” (Id.) Battles claims that the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Philadelphia Water Department, and the Philadelphia Property Tax Department took $15, 000.00 which had been given to Abused People of Society, Inc., “and omitting this on records, but used mental brutality via harassment calls, threaten foreclosure; being paid by EQUI Credit, Now, Select Portfolio Specialists for an outstanding mortgage, along with the [$15, 000.00] also; forging another mortgage.” (Id. at 5-6.) According to Battles, Judge Herron abetted the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority. (Id.) Battles requests that the “Presiding Honorable Judge adjudicate capacity to regain her estate and to pursue to direct Abuse People of Society, Inc., APOS to advocate for citizens.” (Id. at 6.)

         Battles has attached numerous exhibits to her Amended Complaint, including, but not limited to, letters addressed to the Court, correspondence from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, copies of docket entries from this matter as well as Battles' state court case, emails, a transcript of Battles' capacity proceedings that occurred on May 20, 2015 before Judge Herron, and a copy of Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. A review of public dockets reflects that on September 28, 2017, Battles filed a complaint in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas against the Commonwealth of Philadelphia, Judge Herron, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Philadelphia Real Estate Department, and the Philadelphia Water Revenue Department. Battles v. Herron, No. 170903490 (Phila. Ct. Common Pleas). By Order entered on October 2, 2017, Judge Fox granted Battles leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dismissed her complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim, and noted that the court lacked jurisdiction to determine her capacity. Id.

         II

         As noted above, the Court granted Battles leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) requires that the Court dismiss the Complaint if it fails to state a claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). Conclusory statements and naked assertions will not suffice. Id. The Court may also consider matters of public record. Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006). As Battles is proceeding pro se, the Court construes her allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).

         III

         A. Claims Seeking Review of State Rulings

         In one attachment to her Amended Complaint, Battles indicates that she wishes to appeal Judge Herron's May 20, 2015 determination of incapacity in her state court case. (ECF No. 6-1 at 5.) As the Court previously informed Battles, pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, “federal district courts lack jurisdiction over suits that are essentially appeals from state-court judgments.” Great W. Mining & Mineral Co. v. Fox Rothschild LLP, 615 F.3d 159, 165 (3d Cir. 2010). Based on that principle, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine deprives a federal district court of jurisdiction over “cases brought by state-court losers complaining of injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments.” Id. at 166 (quotations omitted). Therefore, to the extent Battles seeks reversal of Judge Herron's capacity determination, the Court lacks jurisdiction to do so.

         B. Claims Not Barred By Rooker-Feldman

         To the extent that Battles raises any claims that are not barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, her Amended Complaint fails to state a plausible claim for relief. It appears that Battles is attempting to raise constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based upon the Defendants' involvement in Battles' capacity proceedings. “To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of ...


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.