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Robinson v. Obama

United States District Court, District of Columbia

April 4, 2014

David Robinson Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
Barack Obama et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD J. LEON, District Judge.

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, has submitted an action captioned "Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief Interlocutory Damages Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1985, " and an application to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court will grant plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis and will dismiss this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction since plaintiff has not established his standing to sue. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (requiring the court to dismiss an action "at any time" it determines that subject matter jurisdiction is wanting); Haase v. Sessions, 835 F.2d 902, 906 (D.C. Cir. 1987) ("[T]he defect of standing is a defect in subject matter jurisdiction.").

Plaintiff, a resident of Rosedale, New York, sues, inter alia, President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, several leaders of Congress, and the National Security Agency ("NSA") for equitable relief and monetary damages exceeding $12 million. See Compl. at 13-15. Plaintiff is "challenging the constitutionality of a secret government program that unlawfully intercepts vast quantities of telephone and internet communication of innocent Americans without court approval...." Id. at 1. He alleges that he "is an innocent American who frequently communicates by telephone and internet, " who now "has a well-founded belief that his communications are being intercepted." Id. at 2. Plaintiff's belief stems from nothing more than "public revelations [in 2013] that the federal government, through... NSA, and with the participation of certain telecommunications and internet companies, has conducted surveillance and intelligence-gathering programs that collect certain data about the telephone and internet activity of American citizens within the United States." Klayman v. Obama, 957 F.Supp.2d 1, 1 (D.D.C. 2013).

"To establish Article III standing, an injury must be concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent; fairly traceable to the challenged action; and redressable by a favorable ruling.'" Clapper v. Amnesty Intern. USA, 133 S.Ct. 1138, 1147 (2013) (quoting Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, 561 U.S. 139, ___, 130 S.Ct. 2743, 2752 (2010)). Unlike the plaintiffs in Klayman, plaintiff does not allege that he is a "subscriber[] or user[] of certain telecommunications and internet firms." Klayman, 957 F.Supp.2d at 1. His generalized fear that his communications are being intercepted "is insufficient to create standing." Clapper, 133 S.Ct. at 1154. A separate order of dismissal accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.


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