United States District Court, D. Maryland
DAWUD W. MAHDI, Plaintiff,
STATE OF MARYLAND, CALIBER HOME LOANS, INC., TRUSTEE JEFFREY NADEL, Substitute Trustee et al., SUBSTITUTE TRUSTEES, CIRCUIT COURT FOR PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Defendants.
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
2, 2016, Dawud W. Mahdi, who describes himself in the caption
of his filing as a “third party intervenor, ”
filed a self-represented Notice of Removal of case number
CAEF-14-15384 from the Circuit Court for Prince
George’s Court, Maryland to the District of Maryland
and a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis. ECF 1, 2. Mahdi cites a litany of
constitutional provisions, federal statutes, and regulations
pursuant to which he brings this action, including the
Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Fourteenth
Amendments of the Constitution, the Fair Debt Collections
Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6), 5 U.S.C. §551,
18 U.S.C. §§ 1001, 1505, 2331, and 22 CFR §
92.12-92.30. There are no grounds to suggest the Freedom of
Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551, criminal statutes at 18
U.S.C. §1001 (false statements in federal proceedings);
18 U.S.C. §1505 (obstruction of federal proceedings) or
18 U.S.C. §2331 (international terrorism) or federal
regulations at 22 CFR § 92.12-92.30 (certification by
notary) are relevant to Mahdi’s state foreclosure
relief, Mahdi seeks to vacate a Circuit Court for Prince
George’s County decision in a foreclosure proceeding
for “lack of in rem, in personam, territorial, and
subject matter jurisdiction, as well as for improper venue,
as well as pursuant to the 11th Amendment Foreign State
Immunity.” ECF 1, Complaint, p. 8. For reasons to
follow, this case will be remanded to the Circuit Court for
Prince Georges County.
preliminary matter, Mahdi’s financial information
submitted in support of the Motion to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis is incomplete. Mahdi has not answered questions
about expenses or other questions posed in the required
financial affidavit. ECF 2. Further, Mahdi filed no documents
from the state court proceeding with the Notice of Removal.
Of note, Court personnel have been unable to locate the case
Mahdi seeks to remove on the Maryland Judiciary case search
http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/casesearch/inquirySearch.jis. Requiring Mahdi to
correct these deficiencies would unnecessarily delay
resolution of this matter.
of subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised at any point
during the proceedings and may ... be raised sua sponte by
the court.” Brickwood Contractors, Inc. v. Datanet
Eng'g, Inc., 369 F.3d 385, 390 (4th Cir. 2004);
see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3). “Federal
courts are not courts of general jurisdiction; they have only
the power that is authorized by Article III of the
Constitution and the statutes enacted by Congress pursuant
thereto.” Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch.
Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986). As such, subject-matter
jurisdiction cannot be conferred by the parties, nor can a
defect in subject-matter jurisdiction be waived by the
parties. United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 630
removal statute provides that any civil action brought in a
State court of which the district courts of the United States
have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant
to the federal district where the action is pending.
See 28 U.S.C. §1441(a). To effectuate removal,
the defendant must file a notice of removal in the district
court within thirty (30) days of receipt of a copy of the
initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief in the
action. Id. §1446(a) & (b). Mahdi provides
no evidence he has satisfied this requirement. Because
removal raises “significant federalism concerns,
” the removal statutes must be strictly construed, and
all doubts must be resolved in favor of remanding the case to
state court. Md. Stadium Auth. v. Ellerbe Becket,
Inc., 407 F.3d 255, 260 (4th Cir. 2005); see also
Mulcahey v. Columbia Organic Chemicals Co., 29 F.3d 148,
151 (4th Cir. 1994) (stating removal jurisdiction is strictly
construed). The removing party has the burden of proving
subject matter jurisdiction. Id.; Johnson v. Nutrex
Research, Inc., 429 F.Supp.2d 723, 726 (D. Md. 2006).
Mahdi timely removed the action, jurisdiction is lacking.
First, Mahdi’s summary recitation of statutory
citations without supporting facts fails to provide grounds
to establish federal question subject matter jurisdiction. 28
U.S.C. §1331; see, e.g., Thomas v. Burlington
Indus., Inc., 763 F.Supp. 1570, 1576 (S.D. Fla. 1991)
(“Removal based on the existence of a federal question,
nevertheless, must allege all facts essential to the
existence of that federal question. Consequently, a notice of
removal based upon a ‘bare-bones contention’
…is subject to remand.”) (citations omitted).
Second, Mahdi alleges no grounds to establish diversity of
the parties’ jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1332. Rather, this action appears predicated on an
in rem foreclosure proceeding filed
pursuant to Maryland state law against property located in
even if Mahdi had demonstrated jurisdiction, he may not
re-litigate orders entered in the state foreclosure action in
this court. Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine,
federal courts lack subject matter jurisdiction to sit in
appellate review of judicial determinations made in state
courts. See District of Columbia Court of Appeals v.
Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity
Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923). “[J]urisdiction to
review such decisions lies exclusively with superior state
courts and, ultimately, the United States Supreme
Court.” Plyler v. Moore, 129 F.3d 728, 731
(4th Cir. 1997); see 28 U.S.C. § 1257(a).
“Courts have consistently applied the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine to dismiss claims requesting
federal district court review of a state court's eviction
and foreclosure proceedings.” Sanders v. Cohn,
Goldberg & Deutsch, LLC, Civil Action No.
DKC 15-1571, 2016 WL 223040, at *4 (D. Md. Jan. 19, 2016)
(internal quotations and citations omitted); see id.
(listing cases). The Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars
“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.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544
U.S. 280, 284 (2005). It bars “lower federal courts
from considering not only issues raised and decided in the
state courts, but also issues that are 'inextricably
intertwined' with the issues that were before the state
court.”' Washington v. Wilmore, 407 F.3d
274, 279 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Feldman, 460 U.S.
at 486); see Plyler, 129 F.3d at 731. In sum, the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine precludes Mahdi’s
efforts to pursue vacatur of the state court’s decision
in this court.
these reasons, the court lacks jurisdiction to consider this
case and the matter will be remanded to the Circuit Court for
Prince Georges County for all matters as may be appropriate.
A separate Order follows.
 Mahdi removed this matter under the
caption as indicated above. Mahdi has followed incorrect
procedure by calling himself “Plaintiff” in the
captioning of this matter. If this is in fact a removal of an
underlying action in state court, see supra ...