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United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division at LafayetteMay 13, 2011
NO. 4:11-CV-026. (N.D. Ind. May. 13, 2011)

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  • United States v. Wilson

    …The Court cannot give the Defendant legal advice. See Grzanecki v. Bravo Cucina Italiana, 408 F. App'x 993,…

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  • stating that the court "may not give [a pro se party] legal advice"

    Summary of this case from United States v. Wilson

NO. 4:11-CV-026.

May 13, 2011


This matter is before the Court on a complaint and in forma pauperis petition filed by Craig F. Brown, a pro se plaintiff, on behalf of himself and his minor daughter. For the reasons set forth below, this case is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).



pro se pro se Erickson v. Pardus,551 U.S. 899428 U.S.C. § 1915

Brown states that he is representing himself and his minor daughter in this proceeding. Though a litigant can represent his own interests, he may not represent others, not even his own child. Navin v. Park Ridge Sch. Dist., 270 F.3d 1147, 1149 (7th Cir. 2001). Therefore Brown may not represent his daughter in this proceeding. Nevertheless, even if this case had been filed by a lawyer representing both he and his daughter, it does not state a claim for which this court can grant them any relief.

Brown is asking this Court to modify the child custody decree that was issued by the Tippecanoe Superior Court. The authority of federal district courts to review state court judgments and related claims has been strictly limited by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923).

Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, lower federal courts lack subject-matter jurisdiction when, after state proceedings have ended, a losing party in state court files suit in federal court complaining of an injury caused by the state-court judgment and seeking review and rejection of that judgment. In determining whether a federal plaintiff seeks review of a state-court judgment, we ask whether the injury alleged resulted from the state-court judgment itself. If it does, Rooker-Feldman bars the claim.
Beth-El All Nations Church v. City of Chicago, 486 F.3d 286, 292 (7th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted). Simply put, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine "precludes lower federal court jurisdiction over claims seeking review of state court judgments or over claims `inextricably intertwined' with state court judgments." Remer v. Burlington Area Sch. Dist., 205 F.3d 990, 996 (7th Cir. 2000). This is such a case. Therefore this court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over this claim.

Furthermore, Brown's claims for monetary damages are also meritless. Law enforcement agencies do not have the authority to modify or ignore the custody decree related to his daughter. To the extent that Brown is alleging that the police did not respond when he called them for other matters, that too is not a basis for civil liability. See Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 749, 768 (2005).

It is clear that Brown cares very deeply for his daughter and is concerned for her welfare. Though this court may not give him legal advice, it is possible that he may have a claim in the Tippecanoe Superior Court or the Court of Appeals of Indiana. But because this court lacks jurisdiction over the claims asserted in this complaint, it is legally frivolous.


For the reasons set forth above, this case is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).