United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Robert Lee Rhoe, II brings this pro se action
against various Maryland judges, state child support
attorneys, and state entities alleging that Defendants have
violated several federal laws and the U.S. Constitution
during the course of an ongoing paternity
proceeding.ECF No. 1. Presently pending before the
Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted. ECF No. 12. No. hearing is
necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For the following
reasons, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss will be granted.
Perez gave birth to a child in July 2009. ECF No. 1-5 at
On January 21, 2016, the Montgomery Office of Child Support
Enforcement (MCOCSE) filed a paternity complaint against Mr.
Rhoe in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland
(the “Circuit Court”) regarding the minor child.
ECF No. 1 ¶ 4. Attorneys Christopher Kunz, Amy Fusting,
and Rina Erhart-Defendants and employees of the Maryland
Attorney General's office-all served as counsel for
MCOCSE at various stages of the paternity proceedings. ECF
No. 1 ¶¶ 10, 13. Plaintiff alleges that MCOCSE
filed the paternity complaint in bad faith. ECF No. 1 ¶
4. Apparently in support of this position, Plaintiff asserts
that Enma Perez is “not legally domiciled” in
Maryland and that MCOCSE failed to produce “written
representations” made by Ms. Perez about
Plaintiff's paternity status. See e.g., ECF No.
1 ¶ 16. Throughout the discovery process and the ongoing
proceedings, MCOCSE has raised relevance objections to
Plaintiff's interest in Ms. Perez's legal status in
the United States. Id.; ECF No. 1 ¶ 16.
further alleges that the MCOCSE Defendants missed discovery
deadlines and/or failed to comply with discovery requests.
ECF No. 1 ¶ 13. Specifically, he points out that
MCOCSE's discovery responses were signed by Ms. Perez and
MCOCSE and Ms. Perez made certain objections. ECF No. 1
18, 2016, Defendant Special Magistrate Keith J. Rosa presided
over a hearing and ordered Mr. Rhoe to submit to genetic
testing to determine if he was the father of the minor child.
ECF No. 1 ¶ 27. Maryland law requires that “on the
motion of the Administration, a party to the proceeding, or
on its own motion, the court shall order the mother, child,
and alleged father to submit to blood or genetic tests to
determine whether the alleged father can be excluded as being
the father of the child. Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §
5-1029. At the hearing, Plaintiff argued that MCOCSE's
complaint should be dismissed as a discovery sanction and he
should not be required to submit to a paternity test because
he cannot be forced to present evidence against himself. ECF
No. 1 ¶ 22; ECF No. 1-18 at 8. Plaintiff alleges that by
following § 5-1029's mandate, Defendant Rosa
conspired with MCOCSE to help the agency obtain evidence. ECF
No. ¶ 25.
1, 2016, Defendant Judge John M. Maloney signed Defendant
Rosa's order requiring Mr. Rhoe to submit to genetic
testing. ECF No. 1 ¶ 29. Mr. Rhoe then filed two
interlocutory appeals to the Maryland Court of Special
Appeals, arising out of Judge Maloney's order requiring
Mr. Rhoe to submit to genetic testing and Judge Maloney's
order denying Mr. Rhoe's request for sanctions for
alleged discovery violations. ECF No. 1 ¶ 30-31.
Although the trial court proceedings were not stayed while
his interlocutory appeals pended, Mr. Rhoe refused to submit
to genetic testing and failed to appear at subsequent
hearings. ECF No. 1 at 33-34; ECF No. 12-2 at 12.
25, 2016, MCOCSE filed a petition for contempt against Mr.
Rhoe based upon his failure to submit to genetic testing. ECF
No. 12-2 (certified docket entries) at 12. The hearing on
contempt was postponed multiple times over the course of the
next year while MCOCSE attempted to serve Mr. Rhoe.
Id. at 12, 14, 16. MCOCSE eventually served Mr. Rhoe
with the contempt complaint. Id. at 16. Mr. Rhoe
filed a motion to quash the contempt petition, which
Defendant Judge Joseph M. Quick denied. Id. at 17.
The Office of the Public Defender then entered its appearance
on behalf of Mr. Rhoe. Id. Plaintiff alleges that
the MCOCSE Defendants violated his constitutional due process
rights by filing their contempt petition and Defendant Quick
violated those rights by granting the petition. ECF No. 1
21, 2017, the Circuit Court held a hearing on the contempt
petition. ECF No. 12-2 at 17; ECF No. 1-24. Plaintiff's
then-counsel appeared, but Plaintiff failed to appear,
instead sending the Circuit Court a letter indicating his
belief that he could not be held in contempt. ECF No. 12-2 at
17. As a result of Plaintiff's failure to
appear, Defendant Judge Debra L. Dwyer issued a body
attachment for Mr. Rhoe. ECF No. 1-24 at 5.
October 24, 2017, the Montgomery County Police arrested Mr.
Rhoe. ECF No. 1 ¶ 41. The Circuit Court held a bond
review hearing at which Mr. Rhoe was represented by counsel.
ECF No. 1 ¶ 42. At the hearing, Mr. Rhoe was released
and a new court date for the petition for contempt was
scheduled for December 1, 2017. ECF No. 12-2 at 19. At the
rescheduled contempt hearing, Plaintiff argued that he could
not be held in contempt by the Circuit Court because he had
appeals pending and requested a stay of the trial court
proceedings. ECF No. 1 ¶ 46. To determine whether a stay
was appropriate, Defendant Judge Dwyer requested that the
parties provide copies of their appellate briefs and allow
for a brief recess so that she could review Plaintiff's
interlocutory appeals. Id. The parties did so, and
after reviewing the appellate briefs, Defendant Dwyer
“hypothesized that Plaintiff would not prevail in his
Appeal” and denied Plaintiff's motion to stay on
this basis. ECF No. 1 ¶ 47. Defendant Judge Dwyer then
found Mr. Rhoe in contempt and ordered that he purge the
contempt by submitting to genetic testing by December 21,
2017. ECF No. 12-2 at 20. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Dwyer's decision unconstitutionally interfered with his
appeals. ECF No. 1 ¶ 47. The Maryland Court of Special
Appeals later dismissed the interlocutory appeals as
premature. ECF No. 12-4.
December 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint and
requested an injunction against the Circuit Court. ECF No. 1.
Although Plaintiff did not explicitly state whether he sued
Defendants in their official or individual capacity, he
served them at their employment addresses and the Complaint
addresses actions taken by Defendants in their official
capacities. ECF No. 1 at 1-3. After filing his federal
lawsuit, Mr. Rhoe complied with the Circuit Court's
contempt order and submitted to genetic testing. ECF No. 12-2
at 21. The Circuit Court then held a child support hearing
regarding paternity on March 30, 2018. ECF No. 12-2 at 26. At
Ms. Perez's request, the MCOCSE Defendants withdrew their
request for child support and focused solely on establishing
paternity. ECF No. 15-2 at 8-9. The Circuit Court established
that Mr. Rhoe is the father of the minor child. Id.
Mr. Rhoe noticed a timely appeal of that order to the
Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which according to the
Complaint is currently pending. ECF No. 1 ¶ 5.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)
move to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, asserting that the
Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff has the
burden of proving that subject matter jurisdiction
exists. See Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642,
647 (4th Cir. 1999). When a defendant challenges subject
matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), “the
district court is to regard the pleadings as mere evidence on
the issue, and may consider evidence outside the pleadings
without converting the proceeding to one for summary
judgment.” Id. (quoting Richmond,
Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States,
945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991)). The district court ...