United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
KEVIN F. McDONALD, Magistrate Judge.
The pro se plaintiff is a resident of Taylors, South Carolina. The plaintiff has brought suit against the Virginia Department of Social Services, five employees of the division of Child Support Enforcement of the Virginia Department of Social Services, and an entity referred to by the plaintiff as Automatic Data Processing.
The plaintiff is attempting to challenge child support obligations imposed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The plaintiff discloses that he had filed a case in the Family Court for Greenville County, but the case was dismissed (doc. 1 at 1). The plaintiff also indicates that his wages have been garnished to pay child support ( id. at 1-2).
In the "Statement of Claim" portion of the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he sent affidavits and other documents to the Virginia Department of Social Services-Department of Child Support Enforcement via certified mail and that there was no rebuttal. He believes "silence is accepted as contract." The plaintiff further states that he is not the same as a "ficticous [ sic ] entity, all capital letters (legal fiction)" and that he is attempting to "reclaim" his body and estate. He says he is an antediluvian patriarch, Benjaminite, Noahite, Adamite, "as well as son of Anu" and that the practice of law cannot be licensed by any State because the practice of law is an occupation of common right ( id. at 3). The plaintiff avails himself of the ministerial exception in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the decision of the Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 132 S.Ct. 694 (2012) ( id. ). In his prayer for relief, the plaintiff seeks dismissal of any and all claims against him; payment of restitution to "replace anguish" arising out of the defendants' coercive acts and fraudulent joinder; damages with "real" money; and the surrender of all documents with the plaintiff's name in capital letters; and personal properties and real estate to pay the plaintiff's counterclaims ( id. at 5).
Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se complaint pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The plaintiff is a pro se litigant, and thus the plaintiff's pleadings are accorded liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 90-95 (2007)( per curiam ). When a federal court is evaluating a pro se complaint or petition, the plaintiff's or petitioner's allegations are assumed to be true. Merriweather v. Reynolds, 586 F.Supp.2d 548, 554 (D.S.C. 2008). Even under this less stringent standard, the complaint is subject to summary dismissal. The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990).
The Virginia Department of Social Services is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment, which divests this court of jurisdiction to entertain a suit brought against Virginia or its integral parts, such as a state agency or department. See, e.g., Fed. Maritime Comm'n v. South Carolina State Ports Auth., 535 U.S. 743, 744-45 (2002). The five individual defendants are immune from suit in their official capacities as employees of the Division of Child Support Enforcement of the Virginia Department of Social Services. See Brown v. Lieutenant Governor's Office on Aging, 697 F.Supp.2d 632, 635 (D.S.C. 2010) (citing Gray v. Laws, 51 F.3d 426, 430 (4th Cir. 1995)). This court does not have jurisdiction to review an order by a Family Court in South Carolina or a Virginia court of similar jurisdiction regarding the plaintiff's child support. A federal district court cannot review decisions of state courts in non-habeas civil cases. Although the application of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine has been limited, see, e.g., Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280 (2005), and Davani v. Virginia Dept. of Transp., 434 F.3d 712, 716-20 (4th Cir. 2006), appeals of orders issued by lower state courts must go to a higher state court. Secondly, the Congress, for more than two hundred years, has provided that only the Supreme Court of the United States may review a decision of a state court in a direct appeal. 28 U.S.C. § 1257; see also 28 U.S.C. § 1738 (federal court must accord full faith and credit to state court judgment); 28 U.S.C. 1738A (full faith and credit for child custody orders by state courts); and 28 U.S.C. 1738B (full faith and credit for child support orders issued by state courts).
When a case is subject to summary dismissal or is frivolous, a district court may deny in forma pauperis status and dismiss the case, even though the litigant qualifies for in forma pauperis status solely based on the financial information provided to the court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Accordingly, it is recommended that the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (doc. 4) be denied.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Based on the foregoing, I recommend that the district court dismiss the abovecaptioned case without prejudice and without service of process. It is also recommended that the district court deny the plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (doc. 4). ...