FKB’s Rachel Aghassi and Christopher D. Skoczen obtained a pre-answer dismissal of a discrimination claim in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York brought against FKB’s client, an attorney who represented the executor of an estate in litigation involving the estate’s assets.
In its successful pre-answer motion to dismiss, FKB argued that the plaintiff sought to use the federal court as an appellate forum for claims that had been adjudicated in the Surrogate’s Court. The Court (District Court Judge Joan M. Azrack) agreed with FKB’s argument that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevented plaintiff from obtaining subject matter jurisdiction in federal court for claims that had been adjudicated thoroughly in state court. See Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983). The Court also agreed with FKB’s argument that, despite plaintiff’s attempt to assert civil rights claims, the gravamen of the complaint was the plaintiff’s claim to estate assets, the same issue addressed by the state court.