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McDonald v. Eagle County

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 6, 2019

REED KIRK MCDONALD, Plaintiff,
v.
EAGLE COUNTY, a quasimunicipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Colorado, and BELLCO CREDIT UNION, Defendants.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE DECEMBER 12, 2018 RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE AND GRANTING MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The matter is before the Court upon the December 12, 2018 Recommendation by United States Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter that this Court grant Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (Doc. ## 23, 31). (Doc. # 67.) The Court finds Plaintiff Reed K. McDonald's Objection to the Recommendation (Doc. # 77) to be unpersuasive for the reasons described herein and overrules it. The Court affirms and adopts Magistrate Judge Neureiter's Recommendation and grants Defendants Eagle County's and Bellco Credit Union's (“Defendant Bellco”) Motions to Dismiss.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This action arises out of two unrelated state court cases. (Doc. # 67 at 2.)

         A. CLAIMS RELATED TO THE LITIGATION IN EAGLE COUNTY

         First, in September 2009, Plaintiff brought suit in the District Court for Eagle County, Colorado, against third party Zions First National Bank (“Zions Bank”) for issues related to a loan Zions Bank previously made to Plaintiff (the “Litigation in Eagle County”). (Doc. # 31-3.) Plaintiff claimed that Zions Bank “breached the contract-a loan agreement-by failing to advance requested draws” and that it “breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing in the same manner.” See (Doc. # 31-1 at 4.) Zions Bank asserted a counterclaim for a deficiency judgment against Plaintiff. See (id.) The Eagle County District Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims against Zions Bank on summary judgment on March 3, 2011 (id. at 5), and Zions Bank voluntary dismissed its counterclaim against Plaintiff on March 18, 2011, see (Doc. # 31-3 at 13; Doc. # 1-1 at 1). The Eagle County District Court awarded Zions Bank attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $102, 267.75 on April 7, 2011.[1] (Doc. # 31-3 at 12; Doc. # 31-2 at 2).

         Plaintiff subsequently appealed the Eagle County District Court's decision to summarily dismiss his claims and terminate the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals. On or about November 2, 2011, the Court of Appeals rejected the appeal on the ground that because the Eagle County District Court dismissed Zions Bank's counterclaim without prejudice, “an appealable order [had] not been entered” by the Eagle County District Court. (Doc. # 1-1 at 3-4.) The Court of Appeals noted as an aside that “it [did] not appear that the pro se plaintiff [Plaintiff] was ever properly served with the Orders of the district court . . . If this Court had found that a final and appealable order had been entered, it would have found that the time for filing an appeal had not started to run because there is no evidence that Plaintiff was served with a copy of the district court's orders.” (Id.) Approximately a year later, the Eagle County District Court issued a writ of garnishment on Plaintiff's account with Defendant Bellco. See (Doc. # 31-3 at 7.)

         In the action presently before this Court, Plaintiff asserts that the Colorado Court of Appeals ordered Defendant Eagle County in its November 2, 2011 Order “to restore ‘due process' and ‘equal protection of the law' in its proceedings” but that Defendant Eagle County “knowingly refused to obey” the Court of Appeal's order. (Doc. # 14 at 1- 2.) Plaintiff raises the following claims against Defendant Eagle County, all of which arise out of the outcome of the Litigation in Eagle County: (1) a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by “fail[ing] its obligation to obey the Court of Appeals Order [to provide] due process and equal protection” and by “refusing to conclude the [Litigation in Eagle County];” (2) a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating his Fourth Amendment rights by “knowingly fil[ing] and issu[ing] [a] writ allowing [Zions Bank] to seize Plaintiff's bank accounts to financially prevent [him] from pursuing his civil case;” (3) a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating “the United States Constitution” by “knowingly and improperly refus[ing] under color of state law to allow Plaintiff to present his case against [Zions Bank];” and (4) a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 for conspiring with the Clerk of the Court for the District Court of Eagle County and with Zions Bank to violate his civil rights. (Id. at 17-22.)

         B. CLAIMS RELATED TO LITIGATION IN ARAPAHOE COUNTY

         Second, in a completely unrelated proceeding, Defendant Bellco initiated a collection action on December 14, 2016, against Plaintiff in the District Court for the County of Arapahoe, Colorado, for failure to make payments on a car loan (the “Litigation in Arapahoe County”). (Doc. # 67 at 3; Doc. # 31 at 3.) Plaintiff asserted several counterclaims against Defendant Bellco, including claims under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. (the “federal FDCPA”) and the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 15-16-101, et seq. (the “Colorado FDCPA”). (Doc. # 31-4 at 21-30.) Plaintiff also attempted to join Defendant Eagle County as a third-party defendant in the Litigation in Arapahoe County, alleging that the Litigation in Arapahoe County was related to the prior Litigation in Eagle County because of the garnishments entered in the latter. (Id.) The Arapahoe County District Court dismissed all of Plaintiff's counterclaims against Defendant Bellco and Defendant Eagle County on September 7, 2017, leaving only Defendant Bellco's original collections claim. (Doc. # 31-5.)

         Defendant Bellco moved for summary judgment in the Litigation in Arapahoe County on December 27, 2017. (Doc. # 31 at 4.)

         On January 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant Eagle County alone. (Doc. # 1.) On January 24, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Removal with this Court to remove the Litigation in Arapahoe County, asserting that the Litigation in Arapahoe County was “intertwined” with his case against Defendant Eagle County before this Court. (Doc. # 6.)

         In the Litigation in Arapahoe County, Plaintiff then contended that the Arapahoe County District Court no longer had jurisdiction. (Doc. # 31-6 at 1.)

         On March 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint in this action, adding Defendant Bellco as a defendant. (Doc. # 14.) Plaintiff argues that “Bellco's case is intertwined with Eagle Counties [sic] misconduct.” (Id. at 2.) He asserts four causes of action against Defendant Bellco: (1) violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights by refusing to dismiss its civil action and by “conspir[ing] with state court to prosecute a civil action out-of-time in violation of Colorado's statute of limitations;” (2) violation of the federal FDCPA; (3) violation of the Colorado FDCPA; and (4) violation of his First Amendment rights to privacy “by trespassing his gated property to illegally search and seize Plaintiff's personal property.” (Id. at 22-27.)

         On March 14, 2018, the Arapahoe County District Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant Bellco and entered judgment in its favor in the amount of $14, 664.09 in the Litigation in Arapahoe County. (Doc. # 31-7.) Plaintiff is appealing the judgment of the Arapahoe County District Court in the Litigation in Arapahoe County. (Doc. # 31-8; Doc. # 31 at 4.)

         C. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         As the Court just described, Plaintiff alleges four causes of action against Defendant Eagle County and four separate causes of action against Defendant Bellco. See (Doc. # 14.)

         Defendant Eagle County moved to dismiss all claims against it on April 13, 2018, arguing that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and name the wrong defendant. (Doc. # 23.) Plaintiff filed his Response on May 4, 2018 (Doc. # 33), to which Defendant Eagle County replied on May 18, 2018 (Doc. # 35).

         Defendant Bellco filed its Motion to Dismiss on April 25, 2018, on the grounds that the Court lacks jurisdiction under the Younger abstention doctrine, that Plaintiff's federal and Colorado FDCPA claims are barred by claim preclusion and issue preclusion, and that Plaintiff fails to state a claim for relief in his other claims. (Doc. # 31.) Plaintiff responded to the Motion to Dismiss on May 22, 2018. (Doc. # 38.) Defendant Bellco replied in support of its motion on June 5, 2018. (Doc. # 42.)

         Magistrate Judge Neureiter issued his Recommendation on both Motions to Dismiss on December 12, 2018, advising that this Court should grant both Motions to Dismiss. (Doc. # 67.) Plaintiff filed his Objection to the Recommendation on January 28, 2019 (Doc. # 77), to which Defendant Bellco responded on February 7, 2019 (Doc. # 78), and Defendant Eagle County responded on February 8, 2019 (Doc. # 79). Plaintiff replied in support of his Objection on February 19, 2019. (Doc. # 80.)

         Plaintiff has also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on all of his claims against Defendant Bellco on June 26, 2018 (Doc. # 47), and a Motion to Exceed Page Limits in his summary judgment motion (Doc. # 49). Magistrate Judge has recommended that in light of his Recommendation that the Court grant ...


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