Sharpe v. Roman Catholic ( 2003 )


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  •                                                        United States Court of Appeals
                                                                    Fifth Circuit
                                                                 F I L E D
                   IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
                                                                 August 18, 2003
                            FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
                                                             Charles R. Fulbruge III
                                                                     Clerk
    
                                No. 02-11204
                              Summary Calendar
    
    
    
    FRANCIS SHARPE,
    
              Plaintiff-Appellant,
    
                                   versus
    
    ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF DALLAS; CHARLES V. GRAHMANN, Reverend,
    His Predecessors and Successors, as Bishop of the Roman Catholic
    Diocese of Dallas; WINDLE TURLEY; RANDAL MATHIS; MONTE FITE,
    
              Defendants-Appellees.
    
    
    
              Appeal from the United States District Court
                   for the Northern District of Texas
                         USDC No. 3:02-CV-522-G
    
    
    Before HIGGINBOTHAM, DAVIS, and PRADO, Circuit Judges.
    
    PER CURIAM:*
    
         Francis   Sharpe   appeals   the   district   court’s    judgment
    
    dismissing his action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 for lack of
    
    jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.1       Sharpe argues
    
    that his federal action does not amount to an attack on the prior
    
    
    
         *
          Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that
    this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except
    under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR. R. 47.5.4.
         1
           See D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 
    460 U.S. 462
     (1983);
    Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 
    263 U.S. 413
     (1923).
    state    court   judgment   because       his   federal   claims   are   not
    
    inextricably intertwined with the merits of the state court suit.
    
         Under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, “[w]hen issues raised in a
    
    federal court are inextricably intertwined with a state judgment
    
    and the court is in essence being called upon to review the state-
    
    court decision, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to
    
    conduct such a review.”2     Although Sharpe argues that his federal
    
    suit differs from his state case because his federal complaint
    
    claims that the defendants violated his civil rights, “litigants
    
    may not obtain review of state court actions by filing complaints
    
    about those actions in lower federal courts cast in the form of
    
    civil rights suits.”3
    
         Sharpe’s pleadings belie his argument that the Rooker-Feldman
    
    doctrine is inapplicable: His complaint specifically requests a
    
    declaratory judgment that certain discarded church documents belong
    
    to him and should be returned to him.               The state court had
    
    previously granted summary judgment to the defendants on Sharpe’s
    
    claims requesting return of the documents. Sharpe’s federal action
    
    is clearly inextricably intertwined with the judgment in his prior
    
    
    
         2
           See Davis v. Bayless, 
    70 F.3d 367
    , 375 (5th Cir. 1995)
    (“When issues raised in a federal court are inextricably
    intertwined with a state judgment and the court is in essence being
    called upon to review the state-court decision, the court lacks
    subject matter jurisdiction to conduct such a review.” (internal
    quotation marks omitted)).
         3
             Hale v. Harney, 
    786 F.2d 688
    , 691 (5th Cir. 1986).
    
                                          2
    state court case.   Therefore, the district court’s judgment of
    
    dismissal is AFFIRMED.
    
         The motions to dismiss filed by defendants Turley and Fite are
    
    DENIED AS MOOT.
    
    
    
    
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