United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY ON PENDING MOTIONS
RICHARD L. YOUNG, JUDGE
pro se Plaintiff, Thairon Ratliff, and his former
wife, Defendant Tina Marie Todd Johnson, had two children
together. Following their divorce, Tina married Defendant
Tyson Johnson, who filed petitions to adopt the children on
March 23, 2017.
Complaint names as defendants Tina and Tyson Johnson;
Tina's attorneys in the adoption proceedings, Meredith L.
McIntyre and David A. Smith d/b/a McIntyre & Smith; his
court-appointed attorneys in the adoption proceedings,
Frederick Turner and Nicholas Smith; the court-appointed
guardian ad litem in the adoption proceedings, Melissa
Richardson; the Clerk of the Lawrence Circuit Court,
Billie Tumey; Judge Steven R. Galvin of the Monroe Circuit
Court; and Judge Lynne E. Ellis of the Martin Circuit Court.
Broadly, Plaintiff alleges that the opposing parties
conspired with officers of the court to wrongfully grant his
wife a divorce and then to fraudulently procure the adoption
of his biological children. His Complaint consists of two
counts: (1) fraud on the court against all named Defendants
except Tina; and (2) spoliation of evidence against Tumey and
pending are seven motions: (1) Defendant Melissa
Richardson's Motion to Dismiss; (2) Defendants Meredith
L. McIntyre and David A. Smith's Motion to Dismiss; (3)
Judge Steven R. Galvin and Judge Lynne E. Ellis's Motion
to Dismiss; (4) Defendants Meredith L. McIntyre and David A.
Smith's Motion for Ruling on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss; (5) Defendant Frederick Anthony Turner's Motion
to Dismiss; (6) Defendant Nicholas Siler's Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings; and (7) Defendant Billie
Tumey's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. For the
reasons set forth below, the court finds the Motions should
begins his Complaint with allegations against Judge Andrea
McCord of the Lawrence Circuit Court regarding
Plaintiff's divorce proceedings and the petitions to
adopt his children. (Filing No. 1, Compl. at 3). He alleges
the law firm that represented Tina and Tyson, McIntyre &
Smith, “is a fictitious entity acting as a legal entity
and filing paperwork in fraud in the wrong venue with the
intent of hunting a judge as opposed to legal venue.”
(Id. at 15). According to Plaintiff, Judge McCord
knew there were fatal defects in the pleadings submitted by
Tina and Tyson's lawyers, but “passe[d] the
defective illegally filed” case to Judge Stephen
Galvin, who was appointed Special Judge. (Id. at
5-6). Judge Galvin appointed Richardson as guardian ad litem.
(Id. at 7).
alleges Judge Galvin knew the children lived in Martin County
and that the petitions for adoption were filed in Lawrence
County. Under Plaintiff's interpretation of Indiana law,
Judge Galvin had no jurisdiction over the petitions and
should not have assumed it. (Id. at 6). Furthermore,
Plaintiff claims, the documents in the adoption hearings were
filed in Lawrence County, but hearings were being held in
Monroe County. (Id. at 7). These hearings, he
alleges, are not documented and the recordings from the
hearings cannot be located. (Id.). “[Judge]
Galvin's sessions in the foreign court of Monroe County
is his spoliation of evidence and records in these
addition, Plaintiff claims Judge Galvin illegally appointed
Turner as court-appointed counsel against his wishes.
(Id. at 6). Turner filed a motion for change of
venue to Martin County allegedly without his consent.
(Id. at 8). Judge Galvin granted the motion and
ordered that the matter be transferred to Martin County.
(Id.). Tumey, as Clerk of the Lawrence Circuit
Court, “played a vital role in the spoliation of
records” by transferring the Clerk's record in the
adoption matters to Martin County pursuant to Judge
Galvin's order. (Id. at 9-10).
Ellis of the Martin Circuit Court assumed jurisdiction even
though Plaintiff (and not his attorney) had filed a document
which “vacate[d] the judgment that transferred the
adoptions.” (Id. at 11). According to
Plaintiff, “[Judge] Ellis did not have jurisdiction
holding onto defective pleadings filed in the wrong
venue.” (Id. at 13). Judge Ellis
“without informing [Plaintiff]” appointed Siler
as counsel (apparently after Turner withdrew). (Id.
at 12). Siler, like Turner, allegedly “appear[ed] in
court and in conferences without consulting
[Plaintiff]” and “fail[ed] to give proper notice
of hearings.” (Id. at 12). Judge Ellis and
Siler allegedly worked with Tyson and his attorneys “to
stampede [his] rights and access to his children for profit
and personal gain.” (Id. at 13). Plaintiff
also alleges that Richardson, the guardian ad litem,
performed an investigation of the children's home and
“seemed to think it was honky-dory” even though
Tyson “has a criminal history and was reported to be
growing marijuana's [sic] home.” (Id.).
Plaintiff alleges, he was “physically threatened with
involuntarily incarceration 90 days without bail in civil
contempt for any effort he made to seek his right to Due
process and Self-Defense in his rights to his
children.” (Id. at 18). Consequently, he was
forced to move to Delta, Colorado on May 2, 2018, “in
order to fight for his children here in Federal Court.”
(Id. at 3, 15). He filed the present action on July
parties' motions do not raise identical arguments but do
share some in common. First, the attorneys-McIntyre, Smith,
Siler, and Turner-argue the Rooker-Feldman doctrine deprives
the court of subject matter jurisdiction. Second, McIntyre,
Smith, Siler, and Richardson argue the court lacks diversity
jurisdiction. And third, Judge Galvin, Judge Ellis,
Richardson, and Tumey argue they are entitled to immunity
from suit. The parties raise other arguments, but the court
chooses to focus only on these dispositive issues.
Count I, Plaintiff alleges all Defendants, except for Tina,
committed a fraud ...