El-Shabazz v. Henry

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Civil Rights

New York Law Journal

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Judge Brian Cogan

El-Shabazz's 42 USC §1983 suit, relating to Family Court proceedings on his son's custody, was dismissed under 28 USC §1915(e)(2)(B). To the extent he sought review and vacatur of Family Court's rulings, his claims were barred the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and the domestic relations exception to federal jurisdiction set out in Elk Grove Unified Sch. Dist. v. Newdow. To the extent El-Shabazz sought money damages, his claims were barred because he sued defendants who cannot be held liable, either due to immunity or because they were not state actors for §1983 purposes. CitingNeustein v. Orbach, district court found that if it were to consider plaintiff's request to vacate Family Court's protection order to the child's mother, and that court's order suspending his May 2012 habeas petition seeking custody, it would have to wade into a domestic dispute and review state court custody determinations—a role inappropriate for a federal court. In addition to finding the Family Court's judge immune from plaintiff's claims, which related to acts performed in that judge's judicial capacity, district court found the child's social worker—under contract with Family Court—immune under the doctrine of quasi-judicial immunity.

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