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Al Kassar v. Samuels

United States District Court, District of Columbia

February 18, 2016

MONZER AL KASSAR, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES E. SAMUELS, JR., et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROSEMARY M. COLLYER United States District Judge

This matter is before the Court on consideration of Plaintiff’s pro se pleading titled “CIVIL COMPLAINT, DEMAND FOR ARBITRATION, 9 USCS § 4; AFFIRMATION AND VERIFICATION, 28 USCS § 1746(1), ” ECF No. 1 (emphasis in original), and Defendants’ Motion to Substitute the United States for Defendants and to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Claims, ECF No. 11. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will dismiss this matter for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff has been convicted “for conspiring to kill U.S. officers, to acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles, and to knowingly provide material support to a terrorist organization, ” and for “conspiring to kill U.S. citizens and money laundering.” United States v. Al Kassar, 660 F.3d 108, 114 (2d Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 132 S.Ct. 2374 (2012). He is currently is incarcerated at a Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. See Compl. at 1.

Plaintiff alleges that he has entered into “an express contract . . . with the UNITED STATES which governs ALL issues between the parties[.]” Compl. ¶ 1 (emphasis in original); see id. ¶ 11. The contract to which Plaintiff refers purportedly resolves “the . . . calculation and payment of the monetary damages accrued as a result of the wrongful enforcement of the instrument entitled ‘Judgment in a Criminal Case’ a/k/a Judgment and [C]ommitment Order (J&C) as rendered by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in its cause of action no. 1:07-cr-354 (JSR) (‘criminal case’)[.]” Id., Ex. 1 (Arbitration Agreement and Contract) ¶ 1. Although the document does not appear to bear the signature of any person on behalf of the United States, Plaintiff asserts that he “negotiated [the agreement] with the UNITED STATES, ” Compl. ¶ 4 (emphasis in original), such that the agreement is binding on Defendants Charles E. Samuels, Jr. and D. Scott Dodrill, see id. ¶¶ 2, 4, 14.[2] Because Defendants allegedly breached the agreement by “choosing to tortuously interfere in the enforcement of the terms and conditions embodied” in it, id. ¶ 12, Defendants are “now in DEFAULT thereof, ” id. ¶ 2 (emphasis in original).

Alternatively, Plaintiff raises a claim against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), see 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671-80. Compl. ¶¶ 3, 6, 15-16. He alleges that, on October 1, 2014, he “filed an Administrative Tort Claim demanding his arbitration rights as established in the Settlement to resolve the ongoing controversies between the parties.” Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff describes the circumstances under which his claim arose as follows:

The involuntary transfer of [Plaintiff] from the exclusive territorial and personal jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Spain to the United States without a valid and properly issued final extradition order issued by the appropriate court in Spain. This 5th Amendment due process violation left the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, in case no. 07-cr-351 (JSR) without territorial and personal jurisdiction to conduct further legal proceedings in this stated cause of action. This rendered the Judgment in a Criminal Case the Federal Bureau of Prisons is enforcing against [him] to be NULL and VOID ab initio from the inception of these referenced proceedings. These are violations [of Plaintiff’s] inherent rights in violation of 28 [U.S.C.] § 1343 and 18 [U.S.C.] §§ 241 and 242 or otherwise, i.e. false imprisonment.

Pl.’s Opp’n, Ex. A (Administrative Tort Claim dated October 1, 2014).[3] According to Plaintiff, “[t]he six (6) month response period . . . has now expired, ” yet he “is still being denied his constitutional, statutory and contractual rights in a concerted trespass thereon as more specifically protected in the express Settlement, i.e. a default.” Compl. ¶ 16.

For Defendants’ alleged breach of the Arbitration Agreement and Contract, Plaintiff asks that Defendants “be ordered to an arbitration forum to resolve the ongoing controversies between [the] parties.” Id. ¶ 17. At the conclusion of these proceedings, Plaintiff demands “judgment . . . for the sum certain amount of $3.1215 billion dollars for the trespass on the express Settlement by these [D]efendants[.]” Id.

II. DISCUSSION

“Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, ” and “it is . . . presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (citations omitted). Plaintiff therefore bears the initial burden of establishing that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over his claims. See id.; Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., 527 F.Supp.2d 101, 104 (D.D.C. 2007). “If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).

A. The Tucker Act

Defendants argue that, “[i]f Plaintiff’s action is construed as one for breach of contract, this Court lacks jurisdiction over such a claim.” Defs.’ Mem., ECF No. 11 at 9.[4] The Court concurs.

A plaintiff may bring a “civil action or claim against the United States, not exceeding $10, 000 in amount, founded either upon the Constitution . . . or upon any express or implied contract with the United States, or for liquidated or unliquidated damages in cases not sounding in tort” either in a federal district court or in the United States Court of Federal Claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1346(a)(2) (emphasis added). Regardless of the amount of a plaintiff’s claim, the United States Court of Federal Claims has “jurisdiction to render judgment upon any claim against the United States founded . . . upon the Constitution . . ., or upon any express or implied contract with the United States, or for liquidated or unliquidated damages in cases not sounding in tort.” 28 U.S.C. § 1491(a)(1). Read together, these statutory provisions mean “that the Court of ...


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