United States District Court, D. Maryland
Richard D. Bennett United States District Judge.
Steven Moseley (“Plaintiff” or “Mr.
Moseley”) seeks to challenge a child support judgment
entered in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
Plaintiff's similar effort in a prior case was dismissed
by this Court on December 7, 2017. (No. JKB-17-114, ECF No.
12.) Plaintiff's current lawsuit names three Defendants:
Adrienne Winston, Martin McGuire, and Judge Jeffrey Geller -
the same three defendants in the prior federal action.
behalf of Judge Jeffrey Geller and Martin McGuire (together,
the “State Defendants”), the Maryland Attorney
General's Office filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim On June 13, 2018. (ECF No. 9.) Mr. Moseley has
not responded to the Motion to Dismiss. Having reviewed the
motion, no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule
105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 9) is GRANTED, and this case shall
be DISMISSED as to all defendants.
State Child Support Action
September 28, 2012, the State of Maryland (represented by
Martin McGuire), on behalf of Adrienne Winston, sued Mr.
Moseley for child support payments in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City. (Docket Sheet in No. 24-P-12-002814, ECF No.
7-3 at 9.) The Summons for Mr. Moseley was served on January
15, 2013, but Mr. Moseley claimed service of process was
improper because the Summons was only effective for 60 days
from the date of issue, October 16, 2012. (ECF No. 7-2.) Mr.
Moseley therefore moved to dismiss the action, but the
Circuit Court for Baltimore City denied Moseley's motion
on March 27, 2013. (Docket Sheet in No. 24-P-12-002814, ECF
No. 7-3 at 10.) The Circuit Court proceeded to enter a
judgment against Mr. Moseley, and the case was formally
closed in November 2014. (Id. at 13.) There is no
indication that Mr. Moseley filed a direct appeal of the
Circuit Court's rulings.
Previous Federal Lawsuit
January 2017, Mr. Moseley filed suit in this Court seeking a
writ of mandamus against Judge Geller, Martin McGuire, and
Adrienne Winston alleging that Judge Geller had violated his
equal protection and due process rights by denying his motion
to dismiss. See Moseley v. Winston, No. JKB-17-114,
2017 WL 371907 (D. Md. Jan. 26, 2017); No. JKB-17-114, ECF
No. 4. Chief Judge James K. Bredar of this Court sua
sponte dismissed Mr. Moseley's action, reasoning
that “this court does not have original subject-matter
jurisdiction over matters concerning child support.”
Id. (citing Raftery v. Scott, 756 F.2d 335,
343 (4th Cir. 1985) (domestic relations exception to federal
courts' jurisdiction based on idea that state has a
stronger, more direct interest)). Judge Bredar also held that
Mr. Moseley's requests for relief were barred by the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine because they amounted to a
request for federal court review of a state court judgment.
Id. at *2 (citing Dist. of Columbia Ct.
of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 482 (1983);
Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 416
2017, Mr. Moseley moved to reopen the case, asserted a new
claim, and moved to vacate the prior dismissal order pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4). (No. JKB-17-114;
ECF No. 5.) In that filing, Mr. Moseley conceded that this
Court did not have jurisdiction under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, but argued that a due
process violation in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City
entitled him to relief under Rule 60(b)(4). (Id.) On
August 4, 2017, Mr. Moseley filed an “Amended -
Petition to Re-Open Case Based on New Claim of Relief /
Motion to Vacate Judgement as per FRCP 60(B)(4), ”
which also invoked equal protection as a theory for relief.
(No. JKB-17-114, ECF Nos. 6, 7.) This Court determined that
Rule 60(b) did not authorize motions merely based upon a
request for reconsideration, and reaffirmed its earlier
ruling, thereby denying Mr. Moseley's petition to reopen.
(No. JKB-17-114, ECF No. 7 at 2-3.) The Court emphasized that
Mr. Moseley's allegation that the Circuit Court violated
his due process and equal protection rights is barred by the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine. (Id. at 3.)
September 2017, Mr. Moseley filed another petition to vacate
pursuant to Rule 60(b)(4) attacking the same Circuit Court
judgment. This Court determined that this petition, which was
initially docketed as a new lawsuit, No. JKB-17-2489, was
more properly dockets as a post-judgment motion in the
previously filed case, No. JKB-17-114. Less than three months
later, Mr. Moseley filed a petition for voluntary dismissal
without prejudice. (No. JKB-17-114, ECF No. 11.) This Court
granted Mr. Moseley's requested dismissal on December 7,
2017. (No. JKB-17-114, ECF No. 12.)
Instant Federal Lawsuit
March 19, 2018, three months after voluntarily dismissing his
first suit, Mr. Moseley filed a Petition to Vacate Judgment
as Per FRCP 60(B)(4) in the instant case. (ECF No. 1.) On May
9, 2018, Mr. Moseley filed a “Petition to Vacate
Judgment as Per FRCP 60(B)(4) - Amended, ” requesting
in part a preliminary injunction against the enforcement and
collection of the void judgment. (ECF No. 4.) On May 9, 2018,
this Court denied Mr. Moseley's request for preliminary
injunctive relief noting that such relief “would
[arguably] void the Circuit Court judgment.” (ECF No.
Moseley then amended his Petition a second time on May 30,
2018. (ECF No. 7.) This Court will refer to this filing as
the operative “Second Amended
Complaint.” The Second Amended Complaint requests
“relief as per Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4)
from a judgment (case#24P12002814) entered in violation of
constitutional requirements (due process) by the Baltimore
City Circuit Court.” (ECF No. 7 at 1.) Mr.
Moseley's constitutional claim is that the State court
judgment is allegedly “void ab initio because
personal jurisdictional service was ‘without
effect', which rendered the lower court ‘powerless
to proceed' to a final decree as per Maryland law.”
(Id.) He alleges that the child support order is
void because he was absent from the initial child support
hearing because he was improperly served. (Id. at
4-5.) He reiterates that the State court violated his due
process rights by denying his motion to dismiss for improper
service and proceeding with the child support matter.
terms of relief, Mr. Moseley again seeks a preliminary
injunction against the collection of the child support
payments, and he also prays that this Court enter a
“Declaratory Judgment that the Baltimore City Circuit
Court judgment entered was invalid” as well as
“an order to remove Maryland State driving
restrictions, Credit Reporting ...