United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON, United States District Judge
Meghan Christine Belaski has filed a pro se
complaint against the United States, President Donald J.
Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House
Speaker Paul Ryan. Compl. [Dkt. #1]. According to the
complaint, plaintiff is seeking a "temporary restraining
order and injunction" to prevent defendants from
"colluding in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organization scheme, or RICO enterprise, in violation of 19
U.S. Code 1961 to obstruct justice against the [p]laintiff,
the American people, and the United States of America."
Id. ¶1. Plaintiff requests that the Court
intervene until it can be determined that defendants
"are not acting in a rebellious manner against the
interests of the United States in allegiance with a sworn
enemy of the state." Id. ¶ 31.
alleges that she has "been a Whistleblower ... to the
Dodd-Frank established Office of the Whistleblower for the
United States Securities and Exchange Commission Office of
the Whistleblower and related entities . . . since February
2014." Compl.¶ 3. She claims that she has provided
the government with "non-public, and material
documentation and information" regarding fraud and money
laundering operations through United States entities,
including providing the government "with the
'treasure chest' from Forrest Fenn's elusive
riddle, The Thrill of the Chase" after
plaintiff "solved the riddle on August 30, 2015."
Id. ¶¶ 3, 5. She also alleges that since
solving the riddle, plaintiff has provided the government
"with evidence of contact from beyond our earthly
realms." Id. ¶ 40. Further, plaintiff
states that she felt "compelled to let the court know
that she is in fact the Stump of Jesse foretold in Biblical
Revelations, and that Forrest Fenn's 'riddle' is
actually the Scroll from Revelations." Id.
appears to be claiming that the government has not acted upon
any of the information she has provided to it, and so, the
government is obstructing justice and acting against the
interests of the United States. Compl. ¶¶ 8-10,
14-15, 24-25. Plaintiff attached approximately 2, 000 pages
of exhibits to her complaint, which include copies of
articles and excerpts from webpages, which she has annotated.
See, e.g., Ex. I to Compl. [Dkt. # 1-11]; Ex. I
(Part 2) to Compl. [Dkt. #1-12], Because plaintiff has only
alleged a generalized grievance and therefore does not have
standing to sue, and because plaintiffs claims are patently
insubstantial presenting no federal question suitable for
decision, the Court will dismiss the complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(h)(3) (requiring the court to dismiss an action "at
any time" it determines that subject matter jurisdiction
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., 326 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir.
2003); Zernial v. United States, 714 F.2d 431,
433-34 (5th Cir. 1983).
courts may exercise subject matter jurisdiction only if there
is a "Case" or "Controvers[y]" to be
decided. U.S. Const. Art. Ill. § 2. "One element of
the case-or-controversy requirement is that [plaintiff],
based on [her] complaint, must establish that [she] has
standing to sue." Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811,
818 (1997); Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540,
1547 (2016) ("Standing to sue is a doctrine rooted in
the traditional understanding of a case or
controversy."). And "the defect of standing is a
defect in subject matter jurisdiction." Haase v.
Sessions, 835 F.2d 902, 906 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
Supreme Court established in Lujan v. Defs. of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555 (1992), that constitutional
standing consists of three elements: the plaintiff must have
(1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable
to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is
likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial
decision." Id. at 560-61. To meet the first
element, "a plaintiff must show that he or she suffered
'an invasion of a legally protected interest' that is
'concrete and particularized' and 'actual or
imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.'"
Spokeo, 136 S.Ct. at 1548, quoting Lujan,
504 U.S. at 560.
plaintiff has not pled facts that would establish her
standing to sue because she has not alleged the necessary
injury in fact. Although plaintiff characterizes herself as a
"whistleblower, " the complaint does not seek
relief for any alleged adverse action taken against her
personally. Rather, plaintiff claims that defendants have
"obstructed justice to prevent" her
"[w]histleblower information from public view, "
Compl. ¶ 2, and she specifically alleges that
"[defendants have acted" not just against her but
"against the interests of the United States."
Id. ¶ 28; id.¶ 12 (creating a
"national security emergency"); see also Id.
¶ 30 ("[I]rreparable harm is likely to occur
beyond the scope of the plaintiffs individual rights and
liberties as an American citizen, and this court [should]
consider the irreparable harm that the American public is
likely to suffer from."). In other words, while
plaintiffs complaint may be impassioned, and she may have
some legitimate grounds to differ with actions taken or not
taken by the executive and legislative branches, what she has
filed is, at its core, a generalized grievance against the
government, and that is not a justiciable federal case.
See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975)
(observing that where "the asserted harm is a
'generalized grievance' shared in substantially equal
measure by all or a large class of citizens, that harm alone
normally does not warrant exercise of jurisdiction").
Therefore, the Court can dismiss this case on these grounds
addition, subject 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, quoting
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, 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 plaintiffs immediate release
from a correctional institution).
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), plaintiffs allegations in this case present "no
federal question suitable for decision." Best,
39 F.3d at 330. Insofar as plaintiffs 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). And to
the extent that plaintiff seeks a "Temporary Restraining
Order and Injunction, " Compl. ¶ 1, plaintiff has
failed to articulate - let alone satisfy - the requirements
for the issuance of such an order, see, e.g., Davis v.
Pension Benefit Guar. Corp., 571 F.3d 1288, 1291 (D.C.
Cir. 2009), and she has not complied with any of the relevant
local and federal rules. See LCvR 65.1(a), (c);
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 ...