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Wilson v. Geithner

United States District Court, District Circuit

September 29, 2013

FRANK H. WILSON, Plaintiff,
TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER, et al. Defendants.


Emmet G. Sullivan United States District Judge


Plaintiff Frank H. Wilson, proceeding pro se, has filed a complaint against eight Defendants: Timothy F. Geithner, the former Secretary of the Treasury; the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of the Treasury; John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader; John Campbell, a Representative for the 48th congressional district of California in the House of Representatives; the U.S. Attorney; the U.S. Attorney General; and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. Although it is difficult to discern the precise claims in his complaint, Mr. Wilson seeks $7, 000, 000, plus punitive damages and injunctive relief, for events concerning the Freedman’s Savings Bank and Trust Company (“Freedman’s Savings Bank” or “Bank”), all of which allegedly took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Mr. Wilson implies in his complaint that he is the heir of a depositor of the Bank and that he is owed dividends that were declared between 1873 and 1883 after the bank collapsed and its liquidated assets were held by the U.S. Treasury. See Compl. ¶¶ 3-4; id. Ex. A (Abby L. Gilbert, The Comptroller of Currency and the Freedman’s Savings Bank, 57 J. of Negro Hist. 2, Apr. 1972 at 132). Plaintiff does not specify how any of the defendants are responsible for the purported losses of his ancestors. Mr. Wilson alleges that the actions of the federal government, and presumably the federal defendants listed in his complaint, violated his constitutional and statutory rights, and purports to be bringing claims pursuant to the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d; and Section 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Pending before the Court are Motions to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) filed by seven of the Defendants as well as several miscellaneous motions filed by Mr. Wilson. Upon consideration of the motions, Plaintiff’s oppositions and other submissions to the Court, the applicable law, and the record as a whole, the Court grants Defendants’ motions to dismiss. Additionally, because Mr. Wilson’s claims are frivolous, the Court dismisses this action against Harry Reid, the only defendant who has not responded, sua sponte.


A. Rule 12(b)(1)

A federal district court may only hear a claim over which is has subject matter jurisdiction; therefore, a Rule 12(b)(1) motion for dismissal is a threshold challenge to a court’s jurisdiction. On a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the Court has jurisdiction. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). In evaluating the motion, the Court must accept all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true and give the plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be drawn from the facts alleged. See Thomas v. Principi, 394 F.3d 970, 972 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (internal citations omitted). However, the Court is “not required to . . . accept inferences unsupported by the facts alleged or legal conclusions that are cast as factual allegations.” Cartwright Int’l Van Lines, Inc. v. Doan, 525 F.Supp.2d 187, 193 (D.D.C. 2007) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

B. Rule 12(b)(6)

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). In order to be viable, a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). The plaintiff need not plead all of the elements of a prima facie case in the complaint, Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 511-14 (2002), nor must the plaintiff plead facts or law that match every element of a legal theory. Krieger v. Fadely, 211 F.3d 134, 136 (D.C. Cir. 2000).

However, despite these liberal pleading standards, to survive a motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 562. A claim is facially plausible when the facts pled in the complaint allow the Court “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). While this standard does not amount to a “probability requirement, ” it does require more than a “sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

“[W]hen ruling on a motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint.” Atherton v. D.C. Office of the Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). The court must also give the plaintiff “the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged.” Kowal v. MCI Commc’ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Nevertheless, a court need not “accept inferences drawn by plaintiffs if such inferences are unsupported by the facts set out in the complaint. Id. Further, “[t]hreadbare recitals of elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements” are not sufficient to state a claim. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. Although a pro se complaint “must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted), it too “must plead ‘factual matter’ that permits the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct.’” Atherton, 567 F.3d at 681-82.


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