Noone v. Town of Palmer, C.A. No. 12–CV–30206–MAP.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtPONSOR
Citation2 F.Supp.3d 1
PartiesJoseph Francis NOONE IV, Joseph Charles Noone, Dustin Michael Noone, and Christopher Patrick Noone, Plaintiffs v. TOWN OF PALMER, Massachusetts Land Court, Charles T. Blanchard, Beverly Morin–Lizak, Lawrence M. Jasak, Michael H. Burns, Paul Nowicki, Deborah J. Patterson, and Peter A. Brown, Defendants.
Docket NumberC.A. No. 12–CV–30206–MAP.
Decision Date26 February 2014

2 F.Supp.3d 1

Joseph Francis NOONE IV, Joseph Charles Noone, Dustin Michael Noone, and Christopher Patrick Noone, Plaintiffs
v.
TOWN OF PALMER, Massachusetts Land Court, Charles T. Blanchard, Beverly Morin–Lizak, Lawrence M. Jasak, Michael H. Burns, Paul Nowicki, Deborah J. Patterson, and Peter A. Brown, Defendants.

C.A. No. 12–CV–30206–MAP.

United States District Court,
D. Massachusetts.

Feb. 26, 2014.


[2 F.Supp.3d 2]


Joseph Francis Noone, IV, Palmer, MA, pro se.

Joshua Charles Noone, Palmer, MA, pro se.


Dustin Michael Noone, Palmer, MA, pro se.

Christopher Patrick Noone, Palmer, MA, pro se.

Nancy Frankel Pelletier, David S. Lawless, Robinson Donovan, PC, Kerry David Strayer, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts Division, Springfield, MA, Benjamin S. Klein, D'Ambrosio Brown, LLP, Boston, MA, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER REGARDING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION WITH REGARD TO DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS (Dkt. Nos. 23, 27, 43, 44 & 45)

PONSOR, District Judge.

This action is brought, pro se, by the executor and heirs of the estate of Joseph Francis Noone IV against the Town of Palmer; the Massachusetts Land Court; Charles T. Blanchard, the Town Manager of Palmer; Palmer Tax Assessors Beverly Morin–Lizak, Lawrence M. Jasak, Michael H. Burns, and Paul Nowicki; Deborah J. Patterson, the Recorder of the Massachusetts Land Court; and Peter A. Brown, an attorney who represented the Town of Palmer during the land court proceedings.

The case arises out of a tax title foreclosure proceeding in Massachusetts Land Court, in which Plaintiffs argued that because the decedent held a “land patent” on his property, no taxes were due. While the proceeding was pending, Plaintiffs purported to “remove” the case to this court. On March 22, 2013, the land court entered judgment in the tax lien action in favor of the Town of Palmer.

After some preliminary proceedings in this court, all Defendants filed motions to dismiss. These motions were referred to Magistrate Judge Kenneth P. Neiman for a report and recommendation. On February 3, 2014, Judge Neiman issued his recommendation to the effect that all the motions should be allowed. Timely objections from Plaintiffs followed.

Judge Neiman's careful work makes extended discussion of the issues raised by the motions to dismiss unnecessary. The fact is that this is precisely the kind of case that 28 U.S.C. § 1341 was designed to forestall. The principle of comity between federal courts and state governments embodied in section 1341 bars a federal court from entertaining actions for damages or

[2 F.Supp.3d 3]

declaratory judgments that depend on challenges to state tax systems. (Report and Recommendation (R & R) at 8–9 (citing Fair Assessment in Real Estate Ass'n v. McNary, 454 U.S. 100, 103, 116, 102 S.Ct. 177, 70 L.Ed.2d 271 (1981)), Dkt. No. 47.)

Many people are unhappy at being taxed. The rule is therefore straightforward: challenges to state or local tax systems must proceed through state court. Here, as Judge Neiman found, the state court mechanism for challenging the tax was perfectly adequate, and Plaintiffs were free to pursue their appeal of the land court's decision through the normal state court appellate process. (R & R at 9–10, Dkt. No. 47.)

In addition to the statutory bar under section 1341, it is clear that the land court's decision has preclusive effect on any complaint filed in this court. Because the section 1341 bar is so clear, and the preclusive impact of the land court ruling so manifest, the court need not evaluate Defendants' assertion that the complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

For the foregoing reasons, upon de novo, review this court hereby adopts the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Neiman (Dkt. No. 47). The motions to dismiss (Dkt. Nos. 23, 27, 43, 44, and 45) are hereby ALLOWED. The clerk will enter judgment for Defendants. This case may now be closed.

It is so ordered.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION WITH REGARD TO DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS (Document Nos. 23, 27, 43, 44, and 45)
February 3, 2014
NEIMAN, United States Magistrate Judge.

Proceeding pro se, Joseph Francis Noone IV, as executor of the estate of Joseph Francis Noone III (“Spud Noone”), and Joseph Charles Noone, Dustin Michael Noone and Christopher Patrick Noone, as heirs of Spud Noone (together, “Plaintiffs”), bring this action, which arises out of a tax title foreclosure in Massachusetts Land Court. Named as defendants are the Town of Palmer; the Massachusetts Land Court; Charles T. Blanchard, the Town Manager of Palmer; Beverly Morin–Lizak, Lawrence M. Jasak, Michael H. Burns, and Paul Nowicki, Palmer Tax Assessors; Deborah J. Patterson, the Recorder of the Massachusetts Land Court; and Peter A. Brown, an attorney with D'Ambrosio Brown, LLP, who represented the Town of Palmer during the Land Court proceedings.

Plaintiffs' claims stem from their assertion that Spud Noone held a “land patent” to his property. As a result, according to Plaintiffs, no municipal real estate taxes were due on the property and the Massachusetts Land Court lacked jurisdiction over the tax title foreclosure case. In particular, Plaintiffs assert the following claims in their second amended complaint: “conspiracy against rights to property as contemplated by 42 U.S.C. § 1985” against all Defendants (Counts 1 through 9); “conspiracy to commit an act of extortion as contemplated by 42 U.S.C. § 1985” against all Defendants (Counts 10 through 18); “treason against the U.S. Constitution as contemplated by 18 U.S.C. § 2381” against Patterson (Count 19); “breach of trust as a public official” against Blanchard, Moriz–Lizak, Burns, Nowicki, Patterson, and Brown (Counts 20 through 25); “violation of civil rights as contemplated by M.G.L. ch. 268, § 37” against all Defendants (Counts 26 through 34); “attempted extortion as contemplated by M.G.L. ch. 265, § 25” against all Defendants (Counts 35 through 43); “constructive fraud and larceny

[2 F.Supp.3d 4]

by scheme as contemplated by M.G.L. ch. 266, § 20” against all Defendants (Counts 44 through 52); and “fraud on the court and perjury of attorney's oath” against Brown (Count 53).1

Defendants have filed motions to dismiss, which have been referred to this court for a Report and Recommendation. See28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). For the following reasons, the court will recommend that Defendants' motions be granted

I. Background and Procedural History

The following facts come from Plaintiffs' second amended complaint, which also refers to attachments to their first amended complaint. Accordingly, certain facts derive from both documents. See Trans–Spec Truck Service, Inc. v. Caterpillar Inc., 524 F.3d 315, 321 (1st Cir.2008) (“When ... a complaint's factual allegations are expressly linked to—and admittedly dependent upon—a document (the authenticity of which is not challenged) that document effectively merges into the pleadings and the trial court can review it in deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).”) (quoting Beddall v. State St. Bank & Trust Co., 137 F.3d 12, 16–17 (1st Cir.1998)); Watterson v. Page, 987 F.2d 1, 3 (1st Cir.1993) (courts may also consider “official public records” at the motion to dismiss stage). The facts and all reasonable inferences are stated in a light most favorable to Plaintiffs as the parties opposing dismissal. Young v. Lepone, 305 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir.2002).

In 1983, Spud Noone acquired, through a conveyance from his parents, a tract of land in Palmer. (Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint (“Compl.”) ¶¶ 1, 10, 12.) This same tract, Plaintiffs assert, can be traced to an “English Crown Grant from the King of Great Britain” to Thomas Little in 1733. ( Id. ¶ 3.) “Through an unbroken chain of title over a period of time,” the tract “eventually became the private property of one Elaine B. Stillwell,” who conveyed it to Spud Noone's parents in 1970. ( Id. ¶¶ 8–9.) Spud Noone's deed to the property, Plaintiffs continue, “was recorded almost nine months after the grant of land to [him], without his knowledge and consent, and not within the customary 60–day period.” ( Id. ¶ 13.) The recorded deed “served as the basis for tax assessment” of the tract. ( Id. ¶ 16.) The English Crown Grant, however, constitutes a contract, or a “land patent,” which makes the property “immune from taxation.” ( Id. ¶¶ 22–23, 31, 33.) 2

On July 19, 2011, the Town of Palmer, through Paul Nowicki, executed a tax taking of Spud Noone's property for failing to pay real estate taxes for fiscal year 1989. (Exhibit P (attached to Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint (“Amend Compl.”)).) See generallyMass. Gen. Laws ch. 60, §§ 53 and 54. On February 2, 2012, the Town of Palmer instituted a tax lien action against Spud Noone in the Massachusetts Land Court, seeking to foreclose all rights of redemption to the property. (Exhibits Q and T (attached to Amend Compl.).) See generallyMass. Gen. Laws ch. 60, § 65. During the ensuing proceedings before the Land Court, Spud Noone, who filed a Notice

[2 F.Supp.3d 5]

of Special Appearance indicating that he did not consent to the jurisdiction of the court, raised the land patent and jurisdictional issues “on several occasions, both during oral arguments and in written pleadings.” (Compl. ¶¶ 39, 70; Exhibits J, Q, R, and S (attached to Amend Compl.).)

On November 29, 2012, Spud Noone filed with the Land Court a “Notice of Removal to the United States District Court.” (Compl.¶ 58.) That same day, he filed a complaint in this court seeking various injunctions. (Doc. No. 1.) On January 26, 2013, Spud Noone passed away. (Doc. No. 7.) Plaintiffs thereafter filed a Notice of Suggestion of Death and a motion for an extension of time to amend the complaint, substitute a party, and serve the defendants. (Doc. Nos. 7 and 8.) On March 18, 2013, the court granted Plaintiffs' motion and ordered them to file an amended complaint and to serve defendants by April 26, 2013. (Electronic Order No. 9.) Meanwhile, on March...

To continue reading

Request your trial
4 practice notes
  • Decoulos v. Town of Aquinnah, the Aquinnah/Gay Head Cmty. Ass'n, Inc., Civil Action No. 17-cv-11532-ADB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • July 24, 2018
    ...damages on behalf of state-court loser because trustee "stands in the shoes of the state court losing party"); Noone v. Town of Palmer, 2 F. Supp. 3d 1, 7 n.5 (D. Mass. 2014) ("The court believes that [case brought by heirs and executor of state court loser's estate] is one of those limited......
  • Martinez v. Cummings, CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-10539-GAO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • June 21, 2017
    ...preclusive effect to a state-court judgment as another court of the State would give.'" Noone v. Town of Palmer, C.A. No. 12-30026-MAP, 2 F.Supp.3d 1, 10 (D. Mass., 2014) (citations and quotations omitted). The purposes of claim preclusion are to "protect 'against the expense and vexation a......
  • Manuel v. Brett Schroetlin, Civil Action No. 17-cv-01633-NYW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • March 22, 2018
    ...while couched in terms of standing, do not implicate the court's subject matter jurisdiction. See, e.g., Noone v. Town of Palmer, 2 F. Supp. 3d 1, 8-9 (D. Mass. 2014) (rejecting the defendants' standing challenges because whether the plaintiffs were the executor(s) of the decedent's estate ......
  • Rumford Free Catholic Library v. Town of Rumford, 2:20-cv-00066-JDL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Court (Maine)
    • June 12, 2020
    ...Injunction Act and the comity doctrine to dismiss an action arisingPage 6 out of a tax foreclosure proceeding); Noone v. Town of Palmer, 2 F. Supp. 3d 1, 2-3 (D. Mass. 2014) (same); see also Direct Mktg. Ass'n v. Brohl, 575 U.S. 1, 9-10 (2015) (considering the seizure of recalcitrant taxpay......
4 cases
  • Decoulos v. Town of Aquinnah, the Aquinnah/Gay Head Cmty. Ass'n, Inc., Civil Action No. 17-cv-11532-ADB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • July 24, 2018
    ...damages on behalf of state-court loser because trustee "stands in the shoes of the state court losing party"); Noone v. Town of Palmer, 2 F. Supp. 3d 1, 7 n.5 (D. Mass. 2014) ("The court believes that [case brought by heirs and executor of state court loser's estate] is one of those limited......
  • Martinez v. Cummings, CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-10539-GAO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • June 21, 2017
    ...preclusive effect to a state-court judgment as another court of the State would give.'" Noone v. Town of Palmer, C.A. No. 12-30026-MAP, 2 F.Supp.3d 1, 10 (D. Mass., 2014) (citations and quotations omitted). The purposes of claim preclusion are to "protect 'against the expense and vexation a......
  • Manuel v. Brett Schroetlin, Civil Action No. 17-cv-01633-NYW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • March 22, 2018
    ...while couched in terms of standing, do not implicate the court's subject matter jurisdiction. See, e.g., Noone v. Town of Palmer, 2 F. Supp. 3d 1, 8-9 (D. Mass. 2014) (rejecting the defendants' standing challenges because whether the plaintiffs were the executor(s) of the decedent's estate ......
  • Rumford Free Catholic Library v. Town of Rumford, 2:20-cv-00066-JDL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Court (Maine)
    • June 12, 2020
    ...Injunction Act and the comity doctrine to dismiss an action arisingPage 6 out of a tax foreclosure proceeding); Noone v. Town of Palmer, 2 F. Supp. 3d 1, 2-3 (D. Mass. 2014) (same); see also Direct Mktg. Ass'n v. Brohl, 575 U.S. 1, 9-10 (2015) (considering the seizure of recalcitrant taxpay......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT