RAFFAELE v. MARRAMA CIV. A. No. 00-40217-NMG.
164 F.Supp.2d 224 (2001)
Anthony RAFFAELE, Plaintiff, v. Christine MARRAMA, Jacqueline Marrama and Thomas Moran, Jr., Defendants.
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts.
September 20, 2001.
Jacqueline A. Marrama, Fitchburg, MA, pro se.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
GORTON, District Judge.
Plaintiff Anthony Raffaele ("Raffaele") brought this action against defendants Christine Marrama, Jacqueline Marrama and Thomas Moran ("Moran") alleging claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and M.G.L. c. 12, §§ 11H and I for violating his civil rights, 42 U.S.C. § 1985 for conspiracy to violate his civil rights and 15 U.S.C. § 1692 for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"). He also alleges state law claims for malicious prosecution and abuse of process and seeks $500,000 in damages.
Raffaele has previously sued Christine Marrama and Moran under 42 U.S.C.
Currently pending before this Court are the unopposed motions to dismiss filed by defendants Christine Marrama and Jacqueline Marrama (Docket Nos. 10 and 13, respectively).
Raffaele's complaint is extremely vague and difficult to understand. However, he is proceeding pro se and, as such, this Court is required to construe his pleadings liberally. See Ahmed v. Rosenblatt,
From the complaint and the answers filed by the defendants, it appears that on May 24, 2000, all parties were present at a court proceeding in Fitchburg, Massachusetts wherein Christine Marrama attempted to collect child support from Raffaele for the support of their son, Nicholas Marrama. Raffaele apparently owes $70 per week in child support, $50 of which is a court-ordered support payment and $20 of which is an installment payment on a past-due amount.
Jacqueline Marrama asserts that she was present at that proceeding to provide moral support to Christine Marrama. Moran was present in his capacity as Christine Marrama's attorney. The result of the proceeding is unclear. Raffaele alleges that it terminated in his favor but that is disputed by Moran.
Both Christine Marrama and Jacqueline Marrama have filed counterclaims against Raffaele for deprivation of their civil rights, malicious prosecution, mental abuse and stress. Christine Marrama also alleges counterclaims of harassment and asserts counterclaims of mental abuse and stress on behalf of her minor son, Nicholas Marrama. Jacqueline Marrama alleges additional counterclaims of slander and defamation of character. Each defendant seeks an award of costs and legal fees associated with this lawsuit.
A. Standard of Review
A motion to dismiss will be granted only if the plaintiff would be unable to recover under any set of facts. Gonzalez-Bernal v. United States,
Both Christine Marrama and Jacqueline Marrama have filed motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and because Raffaele's complaint fails to state a claim on which relief could be granted.
1. Alleged Civil Rights Violations
Construing Raffaele's claims liberally, the essence of his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and M.G.L. c. 12, § 11H and I claims is that Christine Marrama violated his civil rights by commencing proceedings against him in state court to enforce a child support order and that Jacqueline Marrama violated his civil rights by attending a hearing in that case without a witness subpoena.
Section 1983 provides a cause of action for "the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution" against every person who
Raffaele appears to argue that Christine Marrama acted under color of law by attempting to collect money "on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Child Support Enforcement Bureau". It is clear that Christine Marrama is not a state actor, did not act in concert with a state official, nor was her conduct chargeable to the state. See Gonzalez-Morales v. Hernandez-Arencibia,
To establish a claim of conspiracy to violate civil rights, Raffaele
Mass v. McClenahan,
2. Alleged Violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Raffaele's claims under the FDCPA fails because the obligation to pay child support is not a "debt" under the statute. Such an obligation is not incurred in exchange for consumer goods or services, but instead was imposed by the state to force Raffaele to fulfill his parental duty to support his child. Mabe v. G.C. Services Ltd. Partnership,
3. Alleged Violations of State Law
Because the federal claims asserted by Raffaele against Christine Marrama and Jacqueline Marrama will be dismissed, this Court does not have jurisdiction over his remaining state law claims against those two defendants. This Court declines to exercise pendant jurisdiction over such
The counterclaims filed by Christine Marrama and Jacqueline Marrama include requests for this Court to impose costs on Raffaele. Fed.R.Civ.P. 11 authorizes a court to impose sanctions on a party that files pleadings which are presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation, or if the legal contentions are frivolous. Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b)(1) and (2). Rule 11 sanctions have, in fact, been imposed in cases similar to this one. See Danvers v. Danvers,
Although Raffaele's claims are baseless, Christine Marrama and Jacqueline Marrama have not satisfied the procedural requirements necessary for the issuance of sanctions. Rule 11 requires that such a motion "shall be made separately from other motions". Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)(1)(A). When a motion for sanctions is included in a defendant's motion to dismiss, the court is compelled to deny the motion for noncompliance with Rule 11. See Hoydal v. Prime Opportunities, Inc.,
For the foregoing reasons, the Motions to Dismiss filed by Christine Marrama and Jacqueline Marrama (Docket Nos. 10 and 13, respectively) are
- No Cases Found