687 Fed.Appx. 195 (3rd Cir. 2017), 16-3084, Whelan v. Dawson

Docket Nº:16-3084
Citation:687 Fed.Appx. 195
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:STEVEN WARREN WHELAN, Appellant v. TANDRA L. DAWSON, in her personal capacity
Attorney:Steven Warren Whelan, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, East Brunswick, NJ.
Judge Panel:Before: AMBRO, KRAUSE and NYGAARD, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:April 19, 2017
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Page 195

687 Fed.Appx. 195 (3rd Cir. 2017)

STEVEN WARREN WHELAN, Appellant

v.

TANDRA L. DAWSON, in her personal capacity

No. 16-3084

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

April 19, 2017

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) April 3, 2017.

NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Editorial Note:

This opinion is not regarded as Precedents which bind the court under Third Circuit Internal Operating Procedure Rule 5.7. (See Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 32.1)

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. (D.C. Civil Action No 3-16-cv-02948). District Judge: Honorable Peter G. Sheridan.

Steven Warren Whelan, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, East Brunswick, NJ.

Before: AMBRO, KRAUSE and NYGAARD, Circuit Judges.

Page 196

OPINION[*]

PER CURIAM

On May 24, 2016, pro se appellant Steven Warren Whelan filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey challenging an order entered in his divorce proceedings. Specifically, Whelan alleged that, on April 1, 2016, the Honorable Tandra L. Dawson, who is presiding over his divorce proceedings in New York Family Court, violated his constitutional rights by suspending a visitation order that permitted him to see his young daughter. Whelan named Judge Dawson as the defendant in his federal action, and, by way of relief, asked the District Court to allow him " routine visits" with his daughter. Whelan also submitted a motion seeking the same relief in conjunction with the complaint.

On June 28, 2016, following oral argument, the District Court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and denied Whelan's motion. Whelan promptly filed an " emergency motion" for reconsideration, but, by order entered July 7, 2016, the District Court denied relief. Whelan timely appealed.

We have jurisdiction to review the District Court's judgment under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We exercise plenary review over questions of subject matter jurisdiction. Lightfoot v. United States, 564 F.3d 625, 626 (3d Cir. 2009).

Upon review, we agree with the District Court that it lacked jurisdiction over this action. First, although it is not entirely clear from Whelan's submissions whether the state-court order suspending his visitation rights was final, if it was, then the District Court was precluded from reviewing it under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See Exxon Mobil...

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