Dominic v. Goldman, Civil No. 21-cv-148-LM

CourtUnited States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of New Hampshire
Writing for the CourtLandya McCafferty, United States District Judge
Citation560 F.Supp.3d 579
Parties Steven DOMINIC v. Stephen R. GOLDMAN, et al.
Docket NumberCivil No. 21-cv-148-LM
Decision Date14 July 2021

560 F.Supp.3d 579

Stephen R. GOLDMAN, et al.

Civil No. 21-cv-148-LM

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire.

Signed July 14, 2021

Steven Dominic, Warner, NH, Pro Se.

Edwin F. Landers, Jr., Linda M. Smith, Morrison Mahoney LLP, Manchester, NH, for Stephen R. Goldman, James J. Bianco, Jr., Bianco Professional Association Attorneys at Law.

Nathan W. Kenison-Marvin, NH Attorney General's Office (DOJ) Department of Justice, Samuel R. V. Garland, NH Attorney General's Office (Civil), Concord, NH, for Margaret-Ann Moran, Sharon A. Richardson.

Michael P. Johnson, Ryan Denis Landry, Boyle Shaughnessy Law PC, Manchester, NH, for Shane R. Stewart.


Landya McCafferty, United States District Judge

560 F.Supp.3d 583

Proceeding pro se, plaintiff Steven Dominic brings this action against attorneys who formerly represented his deceased mother's estate, a former special administrator of the estate, and judicial officials who presided over administration of the estate. Plaintiff, who is currently the estate's executor and the only person with a beneficial interest in it, alleges that the defendants conspired to deprive him of his interest in his mother's estate and intentionally interfered with his inheritance. Plaintiff brings federal claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) for conspiracy to interfere with civil rights and under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection. In addition, plaintiff brings claims under New Hampshire law for intentional interference with inheritance, unfair business practices, legal malpractice, fraudulent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Defendants move to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims (doc. nos. 14, 16, 23). Plaintiff objects. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants defendants’ motions to dismiss, dismisses plaintiff's federal claims with prejudice, and dismisses his state-law claims for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction without prejudice to his right to pursue those claims in state court.


Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint as true, construe reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, and determine whether the factual allegations in the complaint set forth a plausible claim upon which relief may be granted. See Breiding v. Eversource Energy, 939 F.3d 47, 49 (1st Cir. 2019). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).


Except where otherwise noted, the following facts are drawn from plaintiff's amended complaint (doc. no. 4) and the attached exhibits.

Plaintiff's mother, Elaine Dominic ("Elaine"), died on November 8, 2016, survived by her sons Steven Dominic (the plaintiff in this action), Reginald Dominic ("Reginald"), and Gary Dominic ("Gary"). At the time of Elaine's death, Reginald lived in her house in Boscawen, New Hampshire, and plaintiff, although a New Hampshire resident, was on an extended visit with his wife's parents in Florida. Plaintiff had at that time been estranged from his brothers Reginald and Gary for several years. Plaintiff did not learn of Elaine's death until December 6, 2016, when Reginald notified plaintiff's mother-in-law by telephone and she, in turn, notified plaintiff.

560 F.Supp.3d 584

On December 7, 2016, plaintiff contacted Elaine's attorney, defendant Stephen R. Goldman,1 to advise him of Elaine's death and to determine whether he would be willing to represent Elaine's estate for probate purposes. Attorney Goldman agreed to take on the representation. On December 12, 2016, having obtained Reginald's consent to retaining Attorney Goldman and agreement to meet with him, plaintiff called Goldman back to confirm their arrangement. It does not appear that plaintiff had any further involvement with Attorney Goldman or with Reginald, or otherwise with the administration of Elaine's estate, until May 26, 2017.

On December 28, 2016, Attorney Goldman filed a petition for administration of Elaine's estate in the New Hampshire Circuit Court, 6th Circuit — Probate Division — Concord. The petition requested that the court appoint Reginald as the estate's executor. Defendant Margaret-Ann Moran,2 in her capacity as the presiding probate judge of the Circuit Court, granted the request and named Reginald as the executor.

In late March 2017, Reginald's health began failing rapidly. On April 2, 2017, Gary moved into the estate's house in Boscawen, where Reginald was still residing. Gary observed that the valuables and motor vehicles that he expected to see in the house were missing, as were all of Elaine's financial and medical records.

Reginald died on April 5, 2017. On April 10, 2017, Gary met with Attorney Goldman to discuss how to proceed following Reginald's death. Gary and Attorney Goldman agreed that the best course would be for Attorney Goldman to serve as the administrator of the estate. Accordingly, Attorney Goldman filed a petition to be named as the administrator of Elaine's estate. In April or May 2017, Judge Moran granted the request.

On May 26, 2017, while still in Florida visiting his wife's family, plaintiff received written notice of Attorney Goldman's appointment as the estate's administrator. This was plaintiff's first notice both of Reginald's death and of Attorney Goldman's appointment. That same day, plaintiff called Attorney Goldman to ask why he had not been consulted in connection with the decision to request Attorney Goldman's appointment as administrator. Plaintiff also asked why Attorney Goldman had not requested that plaintiff be appointed as executor of the estate. Attorney Goldman responded that Elaine's will prohibited plaintiff from serving as executor of her estate. Plaintiff believes that Attorney Goldman's response was knowingly false.

Plaintiff returned to New Hampshire on June 1, 2017. On June 6, 2017, plaintiff met with Attorney Goldman. At that meeting, plaintiff became suspicious that Attorney Goldman had conspired with Reginald to interfere with plaintiff's interest in Elaine's estate and to cause harm to Elaine.

On June 10, 2017, plaintiff and his wife moved into the estate's Boscawen house.

560 F.Supp.3d 585

Plaintiff's brother Gary continued to reside there after plaintiff and his wife moved in.

On August 24, 2017, plaintiff filed a pleading in probate court objecting to Attorney Goldman's inventory of the estate's assets and requesting that Attorney Goldman resign as the estate's administrator. Attorney Goldman subsequently resigned at a status conference with the court on September 8, 2017. At that conference, plaintiff requested that the court appoint a special administrator to replace Attorney Goldman. On October 30, 2017, Judge Moran appointed defendant Shane R. Stewart to serve as the special administrator of Elaine's estate.

Attorney Stewart conducted an investigation of Elaine's financial and medical records. On February 9, 2018, Attorney Stewart filed a report to apprise the probate court of his findings. Attorney Stewart reported that it was "clear" that assets had been misappropriated from Elaine's estate and that Reginald had "violated his duties under a power of attorney" prior to Elaine's death. Doc. no. 4, Exh. 10, ¶ 2. Attorney Stewart also reported that plaintiff, Elaine's estate, and Reginald's estate were pursuing a global settlement. See id., ¶ 4. Plaintiff executed a settlement agreement on February 16, 2018, which apparently resulted in plaintiff becoming the sole beneficiary of both Elaine's and Reginald's estates. However, plaintiff believes that Attorney Stewart failed to disclose the full extent of Reginald's misappropriation of Elaine's assets and counseled plaintiff to settle his claims in order to conceal improper conduct of Attorney Goldman and the judicial defendants.

On August 3, 2018, plaintiff moved the probate court to appoint him as administrator of Elaine's estate. Judge Moran granted plaintiff's motion, and Attorney Stewart resigned. On October 19, 2018, plaintiff similarly moved the probate court to appoint him as the administrator of Reginald's estate. The probate court granted that motion as well.

On April 26, 2019, plaintiff moved the probate court on behalf of Elaine's estate to toll the statute of limitations for recovery of real property. On August 18, 2019, Judge Moran denied the motion. Plaintiff moved on September 5, 2019 for introduction of certain of Elaine's medical records into evidence and on September 13, 2019 for reconsideration of Judge Moran's decision denying his motion to toll. Judge Moran denied those motions respectively on October 2 and 10, 2019. In consequence, plaintiff "lost faith" in Judge Moran and moved for her recusal on October 24, 2019. Doc. no. 4, ¶¶ 195-196. On October 30, 2019, Judge Moran found that grounds for recusal did not exist but nevertheless granted the motion and recused herself "given the allegations made by the Administrator." Doc...

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2 cases
  • Easter v. City of Dall. Prob. Div., 3:21-CV-0860-D (BH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Texas
    • June 27, 2022
    ...done in their “capacities and functions as judges”); (citing Boyd v. Biggers, 31 F.3d 279, 284 (5th Cir. 1994)); Dominic v. Goldman, 560 F.Supp.3d 579 (D.N.H. 2021) (finding that probate judge was entitled to absolute judicial immunity because her actions in appointing an executor and speci......
  • Coulter v. Coulter, Civil Action 22-1806
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • April 25, 2023
    ...Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). [212] ECF Doc. No. 40 at 9. [213] Id. at 10. [214] Id. at 28. [215] Id. at 20. [216] Dominic v. Goldman, 560 F.Supp.3d 579, 589 (D.N.H. 2021) (“Courts have routinely found that appointment by a court to serve as an estate administrator does not transform a private......

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