United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
December 7, 2018 plaintiff, Eugene George Warner,
“Agent” for the Eugene George Warner Trust,
Estate filed a complaint in this court. Compl. [Dkt. # 1].
There is no named defendant. It is unclear to the Court what
claims plaintiff is asserting. Plaintiff describes a state
court case in Alaska - “No. 3AN-17-06205CI”
before Judge Douglas Kossler - where he was stripped of his
“asset (a dwelling) in denying both of [his] filed
petitions for Preliminary Injunction and Non-Statutory
Abatement.” Compl. at 1. Plaintiff seeks
“equitable relief” and a “private meeting
with the clerk of said court and a chancellor sitting in . .
. American Equity jurisdiction . . . presiding over my
estate.” Compl. at 2. With this complaint, plaintiff
submits a declaration and his will and testament in which he
declares that he is not “a United States citizen or
resident, and never [has] been, ” he is “first
and foremost a citizen of the Kingdom of God”, and that
he “terminate[s] any contractual or presumed benefits,
privileges, or opportunities of resident/agent status with
any and all de facto governments.” Declaration of
Status [Dkt. # 1-1] (“Warner Decl.”) ¶¶
7-8, 37. He then invites “any and all who may have
evidence of rebuttal to bring forth proof of claim”
and his fee for proceeding with any matter is $10, 000 per
day. Id. at 4. Because this Court does not have
subject matter jurisdiction for the case, it will dismiss it
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.” Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).
“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.”
Id. 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 when it is evident that the court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3); see
Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006)
(“[W]hen a federal court concludes that it lacks
subject matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
complaint in its entirety”).
Court generally derives its subject matter jurisdiction from
two federal laws, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332.
“Section 1331 provides for
‘[f]ederal-question' jurisdiction, § 1332 for
‘[d]iversity of citizenship' jurisdiction.”
Arbaugh, 546 U.S. at 513. “A plaintiff
properly invokes § 1331 jurisdiction when she pleads a
colorable claim ‘arising under' the Constitution or
laws of the United States. She invokes § 1332
jurisdiction when she presents a claim between parties of
diverse citizenship that exceeds the required jurisdictional
amount, currently $75, 000.” Id. (internal
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 . . .
essentially fictitious.” Best, 39 F.3d at 330
(internal quotations omitted); see 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).
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 neither
present a “federal question suitable for decision,
” Best v. Kelly, 39 F.3d 328, 330 (D.C. Cir.
1994), nor complete diversity of citizenship. Plaintiff does
not assert any claims arising under the laws of the United
States or the Constitution. And plaintiff has not alleged any
claims against a diverse defendant exceeding $75, 000.
Indeed, plaintiff has not alleged claims against any
defendant, let alone a diverse defendant.
extent plaintiff is asking this Court to return his property,
this Court does not have equitable jurisdiction over property
disputes arising in another state. See Matthew v.
Rodgers, 284 U.S. 521, 525-26 (1932) (affirming section
16 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 which states that suits in
equity shall not be sustained in the courts of the United
States “in any case where a plain, adequate, and
complete remedy may be had at law”). To the extent
plaintiff is asking the Court to review the Alaska state
court determination confiscating his property, this Court
also may not review a state court decision if that decision
presents no federal questions, which this case does not.
Grable & Sons Metal Products, Inc. v. Darue
Engineering & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 313 (2005)
(“[T]his Court [has] confined federal question
jurisdiction over state-law claims to those that really and
substantially involv[e] a dispute or controversy respecting
the validity, construction or effect of [federal]
law.”) (internal quotation marks omitted).
the Court will dismiss this case sua sponte, without
prejudice, pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of