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McDonald v. Arapahoe County

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 22, 2018

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, a quasimunicipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Colorado, Defendant.


          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO, United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Arapahoe County's Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. # 13.) The Court referred Defendant's Motion to Dismiss to United States Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe. (Doc. # 18.) On January 26, 2018, Magistrate Judge Watanabe issued a Recommendation that this Court grant Defendant's Motion and dismiss Plaintiff Reed Kirk McDonald's case in its entirety. (Doc. # 24.) For the reason discussed below, the Court concludes that Magistrate Judge Watanabe's Recommendation is correct.


         The Magistrate Judge's Recommendation details the factual and procedural background of this case and of Plaintiff's copious related actions. See (Doc. # 24 at 1- 3.) The Recommendation is incorporated herein by reference. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Accordingly, the factual background of this dispute will be reiterated only to the extent necessary to address Plaintiff's objections.

         As Magistrate Judge Watanabe explained, this action is one in a series of lawsuits Plaintiff has filed regarding the foreclosure and sale of his house, the subsequent forcible entry and detainer (“FED”) suit, and his eviction from the property. See (Doc. # 24 at 1-3.) In 2012, Citibank, NA (“Citibank”) initiated foreclosure proceedings on Plaintiff's residential property in Littleton, Colorado. The Arapahoe County Public Trustee sold the property on October 17, 2012, but Plaintiff continued to reside on the property. In 2014, Citibank brought a FED action against Plaintiff in Arapahoe County District Court. See Citibank N.A. v. McDonald, No. 2014-cv-200074 (Arapahoe Cty. Dist. Court). The district court entered a judgment for possession in favor of Citibank and against Plaintiff. Plaintiff appealed. While the appeal was before the Colorado Court of Appeals, Citibank sought and was granted a Writ of Restitution from the district court on October 8, 2015. See (Doc. # 1-3 at 57-63.) The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's judgment in the FED action on October 15, 2015. Citibank, N.A. v. McDonald, Nos. 14CA0759, 14CA1359, 2015 WL 6121749, *1 (Colo.App. Oct. 15, 2015) (unpublished), rehearing denied (Nov. 12, 2015).

         Plaintiff subsequently filed two petitions for writ of certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court, a motion for emergency temporary restraining order, six motions for relief under Colorado Appellate Rule 21, and two more appeals. See (Doc. # 13 at 2- 3.) The Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court denied or dismissed each of these filings between 2015 and 2017. As Plaintiff continued to litigate the FED action, Citibank moved for and was granted the reissuance of the expired Writ of Restitution on September 14, 2016, and again on January 5, 2017. (Doc. # 1-3 at 66-67, 72-75.) Plaintiff was evicted from his property on January 30, 2017. (Doc. # 13 at 4.)

         Plaintiff initiated this action against Arapahoe County on July 13, 2017, alleging that the Arapahoe County District Court was without jurisdiction to issue the Writs of Restitution while Plaintiff was appealing his case. (Doc. # 1.) Magistrate Judge Watanabe summarized Plaintiff's “vague, scattershot, and replete with irrelevant tangents” Complaint as also arguing:

Plaintiff argues that his constitutional due process rights were violated, and that this was especially unfair because Citibank filed the motions without conferring with him and without personally serving him. Plaintiff also argues that the state court should not have ordered the foreclosure and eviction based on a forged “conveyance instrument.” Finally, he argues that Arapahoe County is liable for executing the state court's writs and evicting him from the property.

(Doc. # 24 at 2-3 (citing Doc. # 1)).

         Defendant moved to dismiss the entire action on August 28, 2017, arguing that Plaintiff's claims are “barred by the Younger abstention doctrine and/or Rooker-Feldman doctrines, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction . . ., and [Plaintiff] fails to state a plausible claim for relief against Arapahoe County.” (Doc. # 13 at 4.) Plaintiff timely responded on September 18, 2017 (Doc. # 19), to which Defendant replied on October 2, 2017 (Doc. # 21). Without leave of the Court, Plaintiff also filed a surreply. (Doc. # 23.)

         On January 26, 2018, Magistrate Judge Watanabe issued his Recommendation. (Doc. # 24.) He concluded that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars Plaintiff's suit and therefore recommended that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss be granted. (Id. at 8.) On February 15, 2018, Plaintiff belatedly filed objections to the Recommendation.[1] (Doc. # 28.)


         Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit as a pro se litigant. The Court, therefore, reviews his pleading “liberally and hold[s] [it] to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys.” Trackwell v. United States, 472 F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted). However, a pro se litigant's “conclusory allegations without supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be based.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). A court may not assume that a plaintiff can prove facts that have not been alleged, or that a defendant has violated laws in ways that a plaintiff has not alleged. Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983); see also Whitney v. New Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997) (a court may not “supply additional factual allegations to round out a plaintiff's complaint”); Drake v. City of Fort Collins, 927 F.2d 1156, 1159 (10th Cir. 1991) (a court may not “construct arguments or theories for the plaintiff in the absence of any discussion of those issues”). Nor does pro se status entitle a litigant to an application of different rules. See Montoya v. Chao, 296 F.3d 952, 957 (10th Cir. 2002).

         When a magistrate judge issues a recommendation on a dispositive manner, Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 72(b)(3) requires that the district judge “determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's [recommended] disposition that has been properly objected to.” In conducting its review, “[t]he district judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive ...

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