United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
WAYNE A. SILVA, Plaintiff,
SARAH A. THORNTON, et al., Defendants.
WILLIAM E. SMITH CHIEF JUDGE.
April 3, 2018, Magistrate Judge Sullivan filed a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) (ECF No. 4)
recommending that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint
(ECF No. 1) and deny as moot Plaintiff's Motion for Leave
to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 2). Although not
labeled as such, on April 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed an
objection to the R&R. (See Pl.'s Mot. for
Writ of Execution, ECF No. 6.)
barely comprehensible, Plaintiff, pro se, in a cursory
fashion, appears to attack Magistrate Judge Sullivan's
recommendations that the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine, that the doctrine of res judicata bars the action,
and that venue is not proper in this Court. (See id.
at 3-4.) Plaintiff's objections, to the extent that this
Court can discern them, are meritless. For instance, citing
supposed “Venue Rule 4.1(b), ” Plaintiff suggests
that venue is proper over all defendants within one-hundred
miles of this Court. (See id. at 4.) The only rule
this Court can extract from Plaintiff's reference, Rule 4
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which deals with
establishing personal jurisdiction over a defendant through
service of process, is of no assistance to Plaintiff. This
Rule applies only to joinder of third-party defendants (Rule
14) or required parties (Rule 19), both absent here. And it
does nothing to alter the conclusion that venue is not proper
in this district. See, e.g., Colonna's
Shipyard, Inc. v. City of Key West, 735 F.Supp.2d 414,
420 (E.D. Va. 2010) (“[S]ervice of process requirements
do not determine whether venue is appropriate[.]”); 4
Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Adam N. Steinman,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 1063 (4th ed.
2015) (“Conversely, service in accordance with the
federal rules will not prevent dismissal for improper venue
if the suit is in the wrong district . . . .”).
“[a] document filed pro se is ‘to be
liberally construed, ' and ‘a pro se
complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleading drafted by lawyers,
” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)
(citation omitted), “pro se status does not
relieve [a plaintiff] of the obligation to meet procedural
requirements established by law.” Lattimore v.
Polaroid Corp., 99 F.3d 456, 464 (1st Cir. 1996) (citing
United States v. Michaud, 925 F.2d 37, 41 (1st Cir.
1991)). Here, as Magistrate Judge Sullivan outlines,
Plaintiff encounters multiple, threshold procedural
requirements which are fatal to his Complaint.
Court, therefore, ACCEPTS the R&R (ECF No. 4) in its
entirety and adopts its recommendations and reasoning. For
the reasons articulated by the Magistrate Judge,
Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1) is DISMISSED with
prejudice. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in
Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 2) is DENIED as moot. Plaintiff's
remaining filings, labeled as Motions for Writ of Execution
(ECF Nos. 5, 6, 8), which lack merit and have no bearing on
this Order or the R&R, are DENIED as moot. IT IS SO
PATRICIA A. SULLIVAN, United States Magistrate Judge.
February 27, 2018, Plaintiff Wayne A. Silva filed pro
se a one-page, handwritten complaint against two unnamed
Massachusetts county sheriffs and three Massachusetts
residents, Sarah A. Thornton, John G. Gomes and Francis J.
Trapasso. The complaint recites that the case belongs in this
Court based on federal question jurisdiction derived from the
Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. It references
an action apparently filed in Massachusetts state court in
2013, and lists “defaults” against four of the
five defendants on various dates in 2014 for amounts
exceeding $2 million each (one of the four is listed as
“$12, 600, 113.53”). Accompanying the complaint
is a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”), ECF No. 2, which has been referred to me
for determination. Because of the IFP motion, this complaint
is subject to screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
the exception of the name of the court in the heading,
Plaintiff's complaint is a verbatim copy of a pleading he
filed in the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts, which was dismissed on January 3, 2018.
Silva v. Thornton, Civil Action No. 17-12106-FDS,
ECF No. 5 (D. Mass. Jan. 3, 2018) (Final Order of Dismissal).
In ordering that the case must be dismissed at screening, the
Massachusetts court performed a thorough and thoughtful
analysis, including a review of the relevant public database
containing Massachusetts state court case filings.
Id. at ECF No. 4 (M. & O. of Jan. 3, 2018).
Based on this review, the court concluded that, to the extent
that anything coherent can be divined the pleading, Plaintiff
was trying to relitigate or reopen a Massachusetts state
court case in which the public record established that
judgment had entered against him in 2014. Id. at
1-2. Accordingly, the court held that the complaint failed to
state a claim because it lacked the “short and plain
statement of the claim” required by Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2) and failed to “give the defendant fair notice
of what the plaintiff's claim is.” Id. at 3
(citing Calvi v. Knox Cty., 470 F.3d 422, 430 (1st
Cir. 2006)). It further found that, to the extent that the
action appeared to be an attempt to invoke federal
jurisdiction over a case lost in state court, the federal
court lacks jurisdiction pursuant to the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Id. at 4 (citing
Geiger v. Foley Hoag LLP Ret. Plan, 521 F.3d 60, 65
(1st Cir. 2008)).
that the pleading failed to state a claim and that the court
lacked subject matter jurisdiction, the Massachusetts
district court dismissed the action. Civil Action No.
17-12106-FDS, ECF No. 4 at 3, 4. After Plaintiff persisted,
filing a Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 motion for relief from judgment, the
court entered an Order barring him from filing any other
papers in the action except for a notice of appeal. Civil
Action No. 17-12106-FDS, ECF No. 7 at 2. Among the grounds
for the Order, the court referenced Plaintiff's
“history of filing numerous post-judgment motions that
are without merit.” Id. (citing Silva v.
United States, 07-11133-DPW (D. Mass.), and Silva v.
City of New Bedford, C.A. No. 01-10918-RWZ (D. Mass.)).
verbatim copy of the same flawed pleading filed in this Court
suffers from all the same defects; accordingly, it is subject
to dismissal for all the same reasons. Further, since it is
now the subject of final judgment in Massachusetts, to the
extent that the dismissal was for failure to state a claim,
it is now barred from being relitigated in another District
by the doctrine of res judicata. AVX Corp. v.
Cabot Corp., 424 F.3d 28, 30 (1st Cir. 2005) (“a
dismissal for failure to state a claim is treated as a
dismissal on the merits”); Koolen v. Mortg. Elec.
Registration Sys., Inc., 953 F.Supp.2d 348, 352 (D.R.I.
2013) (“The law . . . is clear that the dismissal for
failure to state a claim does constitute a final judgment for
res judicata purposes”) (citation omitted). In
addition, this Court is not an appropriate venue for a case
where all defendants (as well as Plaintiff) reside in
Massachusetts and the events giving rise to the claim are
based on a Massachusetts state court proceeding, with no
events or properties in issue that are linked to the District
of Rhode Island. Therefore, the case is subject to dismissal
because the venue is improper. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1391(b),
1406(a); Cox v. Rushie, C.A. No. 13-11308-PBS, 2013
WL 3197655, at *4 (D. Mass. June 18, 2013) (action dismissed
on venue grounds under § 1915 when “improper venue
is obvious from the face of the complaint and no further
factual record is required to be developed”) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Finally, the Court takes note of
the post-dismissal Order that was entered by the
Massachusetts district court prohibiting Plaintiff from
filing anything further in the Massachusetts case except for
a notice of appeal. Thus, Plaintiff's complaint appears
to have been filed in this District for the improper purpose
of circumventing the Order entered in Massachusetts.
Uzamere v. United States, No. 13-505 S, 2013 WL
5781216, at *14 (D.R.I. Oct. 25, 2013), aff'd,
(1st Cir. Apr. 11, 2014) (deliberate and tactical
manipulation of venue renders case subject to dismissal as
on the foregoing, I recommend that the complaint be summarily
dismissed because it fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted, because this Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction pursuant to the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine, because the action is barred by res
judicata to the extent that the pleading fails to state
a claim, because venue in this Court is improper and because
the filing is an attempt to avoid compliance with an Order
issued by the District of Massachusetts. Consistent with this
recommendation, I further recommend that the IFP motion be
denied as moot.
objection to this report and recommendation must be specific
and must be served and filed with the Clerk of the Court
within fourteen (14) days after its service on the objecting
party. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2); DRI LR Cv 72(d).
Failure to file specific objections in a timely manner
constitutes waiver of the right to review by the district
judge and the right to appeal the Court's decision.
See United States v. Lugo ...