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United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Alexander C. BAKER, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. State of CALIFORNIA, in their official capacities; et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 18-56237

Decided: November 25, 2019

Before: CANBY, TASHIMA, and CHRISTEN, Circuit Judges. Alexander C. Baker, Pro Se Amie L. Medley, Deputy Attorney General, AGCA-Office of the California Attorney General, Los Angeles, CA, for Defendants - Appellees Michael Martin Molinaro, Attorney, Pro Se


Alexander C. Baker appeals pro se from the district court’s judgment dismissing his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action alleging constitutional claims related to the issuance and re-issuance of a temporary restraining order under California’s Domestic Violence Protection Act (“DVPA”). We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We review de novo. Noel v. Hall, 341 F.3d 1148, 1154 (9th Cir. 2003) (dismissal under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine); Omar v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991 (9th Cir. 1987) (sua sponte dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)). We may affirm on any ground supported by the record. Thompson v. Paul, 547 F.3d 1055, 1059 (9th Cir. 2008). We affirm.

The district court properly dismissed Baker’s as-applied challenge to the DVPA for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, because the claims constituted a forbidden “de facto appeal” of a prior state court judgment or were “inextricably intertwined” with that judgment. See Noel, 341 F.3d at 1163-65 (discussing proper application of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine); see also Henrichs v. Valley View Dev., 474 F.3d 609, 616 (9th Cir. 2007) (Rooker-Feldman doctrine barred plaintiff’s claim because the relief sought “would require the district court to determine that the state court’s decision was wrong and thus void”). Dismissal of Baker’s as-applied challenge to California Code of Civil Procedure § 904.1(a)(6) was also proper under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See Noel, 341 F.3d at 1163-65; see also Henrichs, 474 F.3d at 616.

Dismissal of Baker’s facial challenges to the DVPA was proper because Baker failed to allege facts sufficient to state a plausible claim. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 681, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (to avoid dismissal, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face” and conclusory allegations are not entitled to be assumed true (citation and internal quotation marks omitted)); see also Cal. Fam. Code § 6203(a)(4) (DVPA’s definition of “abuse” includes behavior that “has been or could be enjoined pursuant to Section 6320”), § 6320(a) (court has discretion, “on a showing of good cause,” to enjoin a party from contacting, coming within a specified distance, or disturbing the peace of named family or household members of the protected party); cf. Lugo v. Corona, 35 Cal.App.5th 865, 247 Cal. Rptr. 3d 764, 767-68 (2019) (distinguishing civil restraining orders under the DVPA and criminal protective orders).

We do not consider matters not specifically and distinctly raised and argued in the opening brief. See Padgett v. Wright, 587 F.3d 983, 985 n.2 (9th Cir. 2009).

The motion of Michael Martin Molinaro, Esq. for leave to file an amicus brief in support of plaintiff-appellant (Docket Entry No. 17) is granted. The Clerk will file the brief of amicus curiae submitted at Docket Entry No. 17.


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