United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON United States District Judge.
Luis Ivan Poblete has filed this pro se action
against the United States Marshals Service, Judges Michael L.
Rankin and John M. Mott of the District of Columbia Superior
Court, Chung Hui Lo, Mark B. Sandground, Sr., Robert E.
Cappell, and Channing D. Phillips, the United States Attorney
for the District of Columbia. Writ of Mandamus/Prohibition
[Dkt. # 1-1] (“Writ”). This case appears to arise
out of a civil action filed by Lo against Poblete in Superior
Court. Id. ¶ 3. In that action for breach of
contract, Lo was represented by Mark Sandground, and Poblete
was represented by Robert Cappell. Public Docket, Lo v.
Poblete, No. 2013 CA 5697 (D.C. Sup. Ct.). Judges Mott
and Rankin presided over the Superior Court matter at various
stages, and it appears from the docket that judgment was
entered for the plaintiff on November 19, 2015, after the
parties came to a mediated settlement. Id.
initiated the present civil action on August 19, 2016 in
Superior Court, suing Lo, the attorneys and judges involved
in the matter, and various other entities and individuals.
See Writ. The Marshals Service and U.S. Attorney
Phillips removed the matter to this Court on September 8,
2016. Notice of Removal [Dkt. # 1].
appears to be asserting that the Superior Court lacks
jurisdiction over the contract action brought by Lo, and he
seeks a “writ of mandamus/prohibition”
“immediately arresting action of the inferior
Court” “under the authority of the Common Law of
England.” Writ ¶¶ 2-3. He asserts that
Sandground “entered a Void Summons and Complaint”
in the contract action, and he “demand[s] the
involuntary dismissal and the quashing of said service of
process of the said instant matter.” Id.
¶¶ 6, 10. He further alleges that the defendants
have engaged in fraud and that “[t]he Superior Court of
the District of Columbia is a criminal enterprise.”
Id. ¶¶ 13-14, 16. Specifically, he claims
that the Superior Court “is under the direct
supervision of a Judge known to have acted without
jurisdiction” - Judge Lee F. Satterfield - and that
“any and all Judges and state officers . . .
[including] Judge John M. Mott and Judge Michael L. Rankin
who are under his authority are acting without jurisdiction,
[and] are acting in conflict with the Federal
Constitution.” Id. ¶ 17.
also contends that “[t]he Court and the Court officers
including but not limited to [his] attorney has joined into
the action that was conspired against [him] and [his] parents
that deprived [them] of [their] citizenship by changing
[their] citizenship status from American State Citizens to a
U.S. Citizenship, ” which Poblete insists “is
punishable by death pursuant to the 1949 Geneva Convention,
Article 3.” Writ ¶ 18. He further alleges that
“[t]he courts and its officers including but not
limited to [his] attorney is involved in the act of
‘inland piracy' and ‘PRESS-GANGING' which
is a criminal offense pursuant to the 1949 Geneva Convention,
Article 3.” Id. ¶ 19. He supports his
writ with an affidavit, in which he avers that “the
flesh lives and the blood flows and nothing stands between
the Affiant and the divine.” Aff. of Luis Ivan Poblete
[Dkt. # 1-1] ¶ 5.
this matter proceeds any further, the Court must determine
whether it has jurisdiction to hear it. “Federal courts
are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only that
power authorized by Constitution and statute, which is not to
be expanded by judicial decree. It is to be presumed that a
cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden
of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting
jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (internal citations
omitted). In addition, “‘[i]t is axiomatic that
subject matter jurisdiction may not be waived, and that
courts may raise the issue sua sponte.'”
NetworkIP, LLC v. FCC, 548 F.3d 116, 120 (D.C. Cir.
2008), quoting Athens Cmty. Hosp., Inc. v.
Schweiker, 686 F.2d 989, 992 (D.C. Cir. 1982). Indeed, a
federal court must raise the issue because it is
“forbidden - as a court of limited jurisdiction - from
acting beyond [its] authority, and ‘no action of the
parties can confer subject-matter jurisdiction upon a federal
court.'” Id., quoting Akinseye v.
District of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970, 971 (D.C. Cir.
2003). Therefore, a district court may dismiss a complaint
sua sponte pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(h)(3) when it is evident that the court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction. See Evans v. Suter, No.
09-5242, 2010 WL 1632902, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 2, 2010),
citing Hurt v. U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C.
Cir., No. 07-5019, 2008 WL 441786 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 24,
2008); Scholastic Entm't, Inc. v. Fox Entm't
Grp., Inc., 336 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir. 2003);
Zernial v. United States, 714 F.2d 431, 433-34 (5th
matter jurisdiction is lacking where a complaint “is
‘patently insubstantial, ' presenting no federal
question suitable for decision.” Tooley v.
Napolitano, 586 F.3d 1006, 1009 (D.C. Cir. 2009),
quoting Best v. Kelly, 39 F.3d 328, 330 (D.C. Cir.
1994). A claim is “patently insubstantial” when
it is “flimsier than doubtful or questionable . . .
[and] essentially fictitious.” Best, 39 F.3d
at 330 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also
Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-37 (1974)
(“[F]ederal courts are without power to entertain
claims otherwise within their jurisdiction if they are so
attenuated and unsubstantial as to be absolutely devoid of
merit, wholly insubstantial, [or] obviously frivolous . . .
.”) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted);
see, e.g., Peters v. Obama, Misc.
No. 10-0298 (CKK), 2010 WL 2541066 (D.D.C. June 21, 2010)
(sua sponte dismissing complaint alleging that
President Obama had been served with and failed to respond to
an “Imperial Writ of Habeas Corpus” by the
“Imperial Dominion of Amexem, ” requiring the
plaintiff's immediate release from a correctional
the Court is mindful that complaints filed by pro se
litigants must be held to less stringent standards than those
applied to formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, see
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Brown v.
District of Columbia, 514 F.3d 1279, 1283 (D.C. Cir.
2008), plaintiff's allegations in this case present
“no federal question suitable for decision.”
Best, 39 F.3d at 330. Insofar as the complaint is
even intelligible, it lacks a “short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).
Furthermore, to the extent that plaintiff seeks to challenge
any aspect of the civil action filed by Lo in the Superior
Court, this Court lacks the jurisdiction to review the merits
of the court's decisions in that case. Richardson v.
D.C. Court of Appeals, 83 F.3d 1513, 1514 (D.C. Cir.
1996) (“[F]ederal district courts lack jurisdiction to
review judicial decisions by state and District of Columbia
the Court will dismiss this case sua sponte pursuant
to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for
lack of subject ...