685 Fed.Appx. 503 (8th Cir. 2017), 16-3550, Northwest Title Agency, Inc. v. Minnesota Department of Commerce

Docket Nº:16-3550
Citation:685 Fed.Appx. 503
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:Northwest Title Agency, Inc., Plaintiff - Appellant v. Minnesota Department of Commerce; Michael Rothman; Dennis D. Ahlers; Jason Broberg, individually, Defendants - Appellees
Attorney:For Northwest Title Agency, Inc., Plaintiff - Appellant: Wayne B. Holstad, Dellwood, MN; Frederic W. Knaak, Knaak & Associates, P.A., Saint Paul, MN. For Minnesota Department of Commerce, Michael Rothman, Dennis D. Ahlers, Jason Broberg, individually, Defendants - Appellees: Sarah L. Krans, ATTOR...
Judge Panel:Before LOKEN, MURPHY, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 08, 2017
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 503

685 Fed.Appx. 503 (8th Cir. 2017)

Northwest Title Agency, Inc., Plaintiff - Appellant

v.

Minnesota Department of Commerce; Michael Rothman; Dennis D. Ahlers; Jason Broberg, individually, Defendants - Appellees

No. 16-3550

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 8, 2017

Submitted March 9, 2017

Editorial Note:

UNPUBLISHED. (See Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 32.1)

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

Northwest Title Agency, Inc. v. Minn. DOC, (D. Minn., Aug. 8, 2016)

For Northwest Title Agency, Inc., Plaintiff - Appellant: Wayne B. Holstad, Dellwood, MN; Frederic W. Knaak, Knaak & Associates, P.A., Saint Paul, MN.

For Minnesota Department of Commerce, Michael Rothman, Dennis D. Ahlers, Jason Broberg, individually, Defendants - Appellees: Sarah L. Krans, ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Saint Paul, MN.

Before LOKEN, MURPHY, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 504

PER CURIAM.

Plaintiff Northwest Title Agency, Inc. (NWTA) had its insurance license revoked and sanctions of $20,000 imposed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce after it concluded that NWTA had violated Minnesota law. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the sanctions. NWTA subsequently filed this federal lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Minnesota Department of Commerce and others (collectively, the defendants), alleging that they had violated NWTA's federal rights. The district court1 dismissed the case under a Rooker Feldman theory and after concluding NWTA's claims were barred by res judicata. NWTA appeals, and we affirm.

I.

NWTA is a Minnesota corporation and was a licensed title insurance producer from 2007 until 2012. In 2011 the Minnesota Department of Commerce (the Department) began investigating NWTA on the basis of anonymous information it had received that indicated NWTA was violating Minnesota law. After a contested administrative hearing an administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that NWTA had violated Minnesota's licensing statute for closing agents and title insurance licensing statute, among other things. The ALJ's recommended findings and conclusions were adopted by the Commissioner of the Department, who retroactively revoked NWTA's insurance license and imposed a $20,000 fine.

NWTA appealed the administrative action to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. In that appeal, NWTA presented numerous claims including several federal constitutional claims related to the Department's seizure of documents from NWTA's office and the admission of hearsay evidence at the contested administrative hearing. The Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected NWTA's arguments and affirmed the sanctions. The Minnesota Supreme Court denied NWTA's petition for further review, and NWTA did not file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.

NWTA subsequently commenced this federal action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants' actions in the administrative proceedings violated NWTA's federal rights. The defendants moved to dismiss and the district court granted the motion, deciding that NWTA's claims were barred by res judicata and a jurisdictional argument (" the Rooker Feldman doctrine" ). NWTA appeals.

II.

The district court dismissed NWTA's complaint on two independent grounds. First, the court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over NWTA's complaint, citing " the Rooker Feldman doctrine." See D.C....

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