United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge.
Steven Moseley, who is self represented, has filed a
“Petition To Vacate Judgment As Per FRCP
60(B)(4)” (ECF 1), which he has amended on two
occasions. See ECF 4; ECF 8. The suit includes
numerous exhibits. Moseley alleges that his due process
rights were violated by the Circuit Court for Howard County
during child support proceedings in the case of Howard
County Dept. Soc. Services, et al. v. Moseley, No.
13-C-11-087194 (Howard Co. Cir Ct.). Moseley seeks injunctive and
declaratory relief prohibiting the enforcement and a
collection of child support and declaration that the Howard
County Circuit Court judgment is “void ab
initio.” ECF 4 at 1; id. at 10.
Walter Closson, Esquire and Judge Richard S. Bernhardt (the
“State Defendants”) have moved to
dismiss. ECF 10. It is supported by a Memorandum
(ECF 10-1) (collectively, “Motion”) and exhibits.
to the dictates of Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d
309 (4th Cir. 1975), on June 11, 2018, the Clerk of Court
informed Moseley that a dispositive motion had been filed;
that Moseley had seventeen days in which to file a written
opposition to the motion; and that if Moseley failed to
respond, his claim could be dismissed, without further
notice. ECF 12. Moseley failed to respond, and the time for
doing so has expired.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons set forth
below, the Motion shall be GRANTED and this case shall be
Standard of Review
reviewing a complaint in light of a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court accepts all
well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and
construes the facts and reasonable inferences derived
therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420
(4th Cir. 2005) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v.
Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)); Ibarra
v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 473 (4th Cir. 1997).
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires
only a “short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Migdal v.
Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26
(4th Cir. 2001); see also Swierkiewicz v. Sorema
N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002) (stating that a complaint
need only satisfy the “simplified pleading
standard” of Rule 8(a)).
the Supreme Court has explained that a “plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitlement to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations
omitted). However, the complaint does not need
“detailed factual allegations” to survive a
motion to dismiss. Id. at 555. Instead, “once
a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by
showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in
the complaint.” Id. at 563. To survive a
motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain 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, 677-78 (2009)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
Closson, now retired, was an attorney in the Office of the
Maryland Attorney General, who represented the Howard County
Department of Social Services (“DSS”), Office of
Child Support. See ECF 10-4, Decl. of Karen
Rohrbaugh, Supervising Attorney; ECF 1-2 at 14. While so
employed, Closson was an employee of the State of Maryland.
Id. He was involved in child support proceedings
involving Stephany Young, the mother of Moseley's
daughter, born in 2001. ECF 8-1 at 46.
seeks injunctive and declaratory relief prohibiting the
enforcement and collection of child support and declaring
void the judgment issued by the Circuit Court for Howard
County. ECF 4 at 10. Moseley claims that his federal due
process rights were violated by the misconduct of Circuit
Court Judge Richard S. Bernhardt, who allegedly ignored
Moseley's request for a hearing during the child support
proceedings. See ECF 8.
complaint raises the same claims presented in his previous
federal action, filed January 13, 2017, wherein Moseley
alleged that he did not receive notice via first-class mail
of a hearing before an appointed master on the question of
child support until after the hearing. In that action,
Moseley v. Young, et al., Civil Action JKB-17-116
(D. Md.), Moseley stated that he filed an exception to the
master's recommendation on child support and requested a
hearing because his lack of employment and “other
evidence relevant to the case . . . would have [allegedly]
resulted in a major difference in the calculation of the
child support award.” Id., ECF 1 at 4. This
action was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice on
December 21, 2017, prior to initiation of the instant case.
the State Defendants argue that all claims against them are
subject to dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to
the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See District of
Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482,
(1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413,
416 (1923). Further, they argue that they are immune from
suit. Most compelling, however, is their argument that
Moseley's action is barred under Rule 12(b)(6) because it
outline of the State court proceedings follows. Moseley was sued
by the Howard County Department of Social Services and
Stephany L. Young in a paternity action filed on June 20,
2011. See Howard County Dept. Soc. Services, et al. v.
Moseley, No. 13-C-11-087194 (Howard Co. Cir
Ct.). A July 29, 2011 docket entry notes Moseley
was served with the complaint on July 25, 2011. Moseley filed
a counter-complaint on August 24, 2011. See Id. at
Docket Entry of August 24, 2011. A magistrate (master) held a
hearing on March 5, 2012 and/or March 8, 2012, and entered
recommendations in the matter, to which Moseley filed
exceptions. See Id. at Docket ...