United States District Court, D. Colorado
RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
Y. WANG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the court on the Plaintiff Youras
Ziankovich's (“Plaintiff” or “Mr.
Ziankovich”) Second Motion for Temporary Restraining
Order and Order to Show Cause Why a Preliminary Injunction
Should Not Be Issued (“Second Motion for TRO”)
[#14, filed September 14, 2017], which the presiding judge,
the Honorable Christine M. Arguello, referred to the
undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), the Order
Referring Case dated September 6, 2017 [#8], and the
Memorandum dated September 14, 2017 [#15]. Upon careful
review of the Second Motion for TRO, the entire case file,
and applicable law, this court concludes that there is a
jurisdictional bar to both the requested injunctive relief
and this action. Defendants filed a Response to the Second
Motion for TRO on October 5, 2017 [#19],  and this court
has determined that it is appropriate to proceed with this
Recommendation without further Reply by Plaintiff.
D.C.COLO.LCivR 7.1(d). Accordingly, I respectfully RECOMMEND
that the Motion for TRO be DENIED without prejudice, and that
this case be DISMISSED without prejudice pursuant to
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971).
commenced this action by filing his pro
se Complaint on August 24, 2017. [#1].
Plaintiff's Complaint stated that this “is an
action for declaratory relief commenced pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2201 and in accordance with the Rule 57 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.” [#1 at 2]. As Defendants,
Plaintiff names Bryon M. Large (“Mr. Large”) and
James C. Coyle (“Mr. Coyle”) (collectively,
“Defendants”), both of whom are legal counsel
within the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.
[Id.]. The Complaint also alleges that
Plaintiff's primary residence and one of his business
offices are located in Colorado. [Id. at 2- 3].
seeks declaratory relief that Defendants had no authority to
initiate an attorney disciplinary action against Plaintiff,
because Plaintiff is not and has never been licensed in the
state of Colorado; does not practice before Colorado state
courts and/or agencies; and only practices federal
immigration law in the State pursuant to 8 C.F.R. §
292.1(a)(1). [Id.]; see also [#14-1].
Plaintiff argues that Defendants lack jurisdiction to
initiate disciplinary proceedings under the Colorado Supreme
Court's attorney regulations, as he only practices in
federal court and is subject only to New York's attorney
regulations because he is licensed in New York. See
[#14-1 at 3-6]. Plaintiff contends that the pending
disciplinary action, Case No. 17PDJ037, poses an imminent
threat of danger and irreparable harm, because he may be
required to disclose sensitive client information that may
also subject him to discipline in New York, and that any
disciplinary sanctions imposed may negatively affect his
reputation. [Id. at 6-7].
August 31, 2017, Plaintiff filed his first Motion for TRO
seeking to enjoin the disciplinary action pending in state
court. [#5]. The undersigned then had the case redrawn to a
District Judge pursuant to Local Rule 40.1(c)(2)(a).
See [#6]. The presiding judge, the Honorable
Christine M. Arguello, then referred the first Motion for TRO
to the undersigned Magistrate Judge on September 6, 2017.
[#9]. However, before addressing the merits of the first
Motion for TRO, this court issued an Order to Show Cause
directing Plaintiff to clarify the basis for federal subject
matter jurisdiction over this action. See [#11 at
then filed his Amended Complaint on September 10, 2017, which
this court also construed as his Response to the Order to
Show Cause. See [#12]. The Amended Complaint
indicates that Plaintiff invokes this court's federal
question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and
asserts several new claims against Defendants pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his First, Fifth, and
Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as a claim for
violations of the Commerce Clause, art. I, § 8, cl. 3 of
the United States Constitution. See [id. at
5-6]. Plaintiff still requests declaratory relief in addition
to attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and 28
U.S.C. § 2412. [Id. at 5]. In light of
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, this court issued a
Recommendation that Plaintiff's first Motion for TRO be
denied as moot [#13], which Judge Arguello adopted on October
5, 2017. [#20]. Plaintiff filed his Second Motion for TRO,
which is identical to his first Motion for TRO, on September
14, 2017. [#14].
entered their appearance on September 7, 2017. See
[#10]. Pursuant to the executed summonses, Defendants were to
file their answer or responsive pleading to Plaintiff's
Complaint [#1] on or before September 15, 2017. See
[#4]. On September 25, 2017, Defendants filed a Motion to
Dismiss [#18] that has not been referred to this Magistrate
Judge for Recommendation. On October 5, 2017, Defendants
filed a Response to the Second Motion for TRO. [#19]. While
Mr. Ziankovich has not yet replied to the Second Motion for
TRO or the Motion to Dismiss, this court's review of the
briefing related to the Second Motion for TRO and the Amended
Complaint reveals that an expeditious Recommendation advances
the guiding principle of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure-that the Rules be implemented in a manner to secure
the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every
action and proceeding. Fed.R.Civ.P. 1.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and, as such,
“are duty bound to examine facts and law in every
lawsuit before them to ensure that they possess subject
matter jurisdiction.” The Wilderness Soc. v. Kane
Cty., Utah, 632 F.3d 1162, 1179 n.3 (10th Cir. 2011)
(Gorsuch, J., concurring). Indeed, courts have an independent
obligation to determine whether subject matter jurisdiction
exists, even in the absence of a challenge from any party.
1mage Software, Inc. v. Reynolds & Reynolds,
Co., 459 F.3d 1044, 1048 (10th Cir. 2006) (citing
Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500 (2006)).
This includes a determination that the court should abstain
under Younger and its progeny. See D.L. v.
Unified Sch. Dist. No. 497, 392 F.3d 1223, 1228 (10th
Cir. 2004) (“Younger abstention is
the Younger abstention doctrine, federal courts
should not ‘interfere with state court proceedings by
granting equitable relief-such as injunctions of important
state proceedings or declaratory judgments regarding
constitutional issues in those proceedings-' when a state
forum provides an adequate avenue for relief.”
Weitzel v. Div. of Occupational & Prof'l
Licensing of Dep't of Commerce of State of Utah, 240
F.3d 871, 875 (10th Cir. 2001) (quoting Rienhardt v.
Kelly, 164 F.3d 1296, 1302 (10th Cir. 1999)).
Younger abstention is the exception rather than the
rule, as federal courts “have a virtually unflagging
obligation to exercise the jurisdiction given them.”
Joseph A. ex rel. Corrine Wolfe v. Ingram, 275 F.3d
1253, 1267 (10th Cir. 2002) (internal ellipsis, quotation
marks, and citations omitted). Yet, Younger
abstention is appropriate if:
(1) there is an ongoing state criminal, civil, or
administrative proceeding, (2) the state court provides an
adequate forum to hear the claims raised in the federal
complaint, and (3) the state proceedings involve important
state interests, matters which traditionally look to state
law for their resolution or implicate separately articulated
Amanatullah v. Colorado Bd. of Med. Examiners, 187
F.3d 1160, 1163 (10th Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted).
Younger conditions are satisfied, abstention is
mandatory absent extraordinary circumstances. See Crown
Point I, LLC v. Intermountain Rural Elec. Ass'n, 319
F.3d 1211, 1215 (10th Cir. 2003); Brown ex rel. Brown v.
Day, 555 F.3d 882, 888 n.4 (10th Cir. 2009) (noting two
exceptions to Younger abstention: (1) a showing of
bad faith or harassment by state officials, or (2) the state
law or regulation is “flagrantly and patently violative
of express constitutional prohibitions.” (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted)). And given its
obligation to consider its own subject matter jurisdiction,
this court could even raise Younger ...