United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING RESPONDENTS' MOTION
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge
2011, pro se petitioner Christopher Stoller was
convicted of theft by the Circuit Court of Lake County,
Illinois and sentenced to eight years in prison. Mr. Stoller
petitioned this Court for a writ of error coram nobis,
rare form of post-conviction relief. Respondents now move to
dismiss Mr. Stoller's petition, asserting that this Court
lacks jurisdiction. As discussed below, Respondents'
motion to dismiss is granted.
October 21, 2009, Petitioner Christopher Stoller was indicted
in the Circuit Court of Lake County, Illinois on one count of
theft of property totaling over $100, 000. Pet'r's
Pet. ¶ 39, ECF No. 3. Following a jury trial, Mr.
Stoller was found guilty and sentenced to eight years in
prison by the same court. Id. ¶¶ 3, 45-46.
On appeal, the Illinois Court of Appeals affirmed his
conviction and denied his motion for a new trial.
Id. ¶ 48; Pet'r's App. A, People v.
Stoller, No. 2-12-0442, 2013 WL 6858907 (Ill.App.Ct.
Dec. 26, 2013). Next, the Illinois Supreme Court denied Mr.
Stoller's motion for reconsideration in May of 2014.
Pet'r's App. C, People v. Stoller, 8 N.E.3d
1052 (Ill. 2014). Finally, in January of 2015, the Supreme
Court of the United States denied Mr. Stoller's petition
for a writ of certiorari. Pet'r's App. L, Stoller
v. Illinois, 135 S.Ct. 966 (2015). According to Mr.
Stoller's petition, he has now “served out his
sentence.”Pet'r's Pet. ¶ 3. After
unsuccessfully attempting these other avenues of relief, Mr.
Stoller filed the current petition for a writ of error coram
nobis with this Court. See generally Pet'r's
24, 2016, Respondents filed the instant motion to dismiss Mr.
Stoller's petition for want of jurisdiction. See
generally Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 12. Respondents
contend that because Mr. Stoller was neither convicted nor
sentenced by this Court, it does not have proper subject
matter jurisdiction to hear his coram nobis petition.
Id. ¶ 10.
29, 2016, Mr. Stoller responded to the motion to dismiss.
See generally Pet'r's Resp., ECF No. 18-1.
Mr. Stoller argues that his petition is within this
Court's jurisdiction because, inter alia, the
All Writs Act provides federal district courts with the
jurisdiction to hear petitions of all writs, including the
writ of coram nobis. See Pet'r's Resp.
matter jurisdiction concerns a court's authority
“to adjudicate the type of controversy presented”
by the case in question. See Davis & Assocs. v.
Williams, 892 A.2d 1144, 1148 (D.C. 2006) (citations
omitted). Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction
and it is generally presumed that “a cause lies outside
this limited jurisdiction.” Rasul v. Bush, 542
U.S. 466, 489 (2004) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life
Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). If a federal
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, it cannot reach the
merits of the case, but must either dismiss it or transfer it
to another court. Amerijet Int'l Inc. v. U.S.
Dep't of Homeland Sec., 43 F.Supp.3d 4, 20 (D.D.C.
2014). As a court of limited jurisdiction, it is imperative
that this Court “begin, and end, ” with an
examination of its jurisdiction. Gen. Motors Corp. v.
EPA, 363 F.3d 442, 448 (D.C. Cir. 2004).
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the court has
subject matter jurisdiction. Lujan v. Defs. of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). When considering
whether it has jurisdiction, a court accepts “the
allegations of the complaint as true.” Banneker
Ventures, LLC v. Graham, 798 F.3d 1119, 1129 (D.C. Cir.
2015) (citing Herbert v. Nat'l Acad. of Scis.,
974 F.2d 192, 197 (D.C. Cir. 1992)). A court may also
“consider the complaint supplemented by undisputed
facts evidenced in the record, or the complaint supplemented
by undisputed facts plus the court's resolution of
disputed facts.” Id. (quoting
Herbert, 974 F.2d at 197).
pro se complaint is held to “less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per
curiam) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976)). Despite this relaxed standard, a pro se
plaintiff must still establish that the court has subject
matter jurisdiction. See, e.g., Fontaine v. Bank
of Am., N.A., 43 F.Supp.3d 1, 3 (D.D.C. 2014);
Bickford v. Gov't of U.S., 808 F.Supp.2d 175,
179 (D.D.C. 2011); Newby v. Obama, 681 F.Supp.2d 53,
55 (D.D.C. 2010).
this Court is not the sentencing court in Mr. Stoller's
case, it does not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear
Mr. Stoller's petition. Therefore, the Respondents'