United States District Court, District of Columbia
matter is before the Court on its initial review of
petitioner 'spro se petition and application for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court will
grant the in forma pauperis application and dismiss
the case because the petition fails to meet the minimal
pleading requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, fails to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), and fails to establish 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 is
wanting), Pro se litigants must comply with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Jarrell v. Tisch,
656 F.Supp. 237, 239 (D.D.C. 1987). Rule 8(a) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure requires petitions and complaints to
contain "(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds
for the court's jurisdiction [and] (2) a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a); see Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009); Ciralsky v.
CIA, 355 F.3d 661, 668-71 (D.C. Cir. 2004). The Rule 8
standard ensures that respondents receive fair notice of the
claim being asserted so that they can prepare a responsive
answer and an adequate defense and determine whether the
doctrine of res judicata applies. Brown v.
Califano, 75 F.R.D. 497, 498 (D.D.C. 1977).
a resident of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sues the President
of the United States and other government officials and
individuals affiliated with the President. Petitioner
requests mandamus relief, asking that the Court order
respondents to step down and/or recuse themselves from
certain criminal investigations because he is frustrated with
the status and/or outcome of those investigations. However,
rather than presenting factual allegations to support a
cognizable legal claim, the petition appears only to express
his apparent disapproval of the current Presidential
administration and its actions. As drafted, the petition
fails to meet the minimum pleading standard set forth in Rule
the extraordinary remedy of a writ of mandamus is available
to compel an "officer or employee of the United States
or any agency thereof to perform a duty owed to
plaintiff." 28 U.S.C. § 1361. A petitioner bears a
heavy burden of showing that his right to a writ of mandamus
is "clear and indisputable." In re Cheney,
406 F.3d 723, 729 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (citation omitted).
"It is well-settled that a writ of mandamus is not
available to compel discretionary acts." Cox v.
Sec'y of Labor, 739 F.Supp. 28, 30 (D.D.C. 1990)
(citing cases). "[M]andamus is 'drastic'; it is
available only in 'extraordinary situations.'"
Cheney, 406 F.3d at 729 (citations omitted). Only if
"(1) a plaintiff has a clear right to relief, (2) a
defendant has a clear duty to act, and (3) there is no other
adequate remedy available to the plaintiff," Thomas
v. Holder, 750 F.3d 899, 903 (D.C. Cir. 2014), is
mandamus relief granted. Petitioner fails to establish any of
these elements, and thus fails to meet his burden.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The
Executive Branch has absolute discretion to decide whether to
conduct an investigation or prosecute a case. United
States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 693 (1974); Powell v.
Katzenbach, 359 F.2d 234, 234-35 (D.C. Cir. 1965) (per
curiam) (the discretion of the Attorney General may not be
controlled through mandamus).
the petition does not establish either that petitioner has a
clear right to the relief requested or that respondents have
a clear duty to act. It is unclear how, if at all,
petitioner's request for a writ of mandamus would benefit
him in any concrete or actual way. See Linda R.S. v.
Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973). Intangible
benefits do not satisfy the "injury in fact"
requirement. See Common Cause v. FEC, 108 F.3d 413,
417 (D.C. Cir. 1997); Humane Soc'y of the United
States v. Babbitt, 46 F.3d 93, 98 (D.C. Cir. 1995).
standing doctrine helps ensure that the Judicial Branch does
not perform functions assigned to the Legislative or
Executive Branch and that the judiciary is the proper branch
of government to hear the dispute." Public Citizen
v. Nat`l Highway Traffic Safety Admin., 489 F.3d 1297,
1289 (D.C. Cir. 2007). Here, petitioner seeks to entangle the
Court in the internal processes of the FBI and the Office of
the Attorney General, a quintessentially executive function.
Petitioner has not pleaded facts to establish his standing to
sue, and "the defect of standing is a defect in subject
matter jurisdiction." Haase v. Sessions, 835
F.2d 902, 906 (D.C. Cir. 1987); see also Lujan v. Defs.
of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992); Fed.R.Civ.P.
the Court will grant the petitioner's application to
proceed in forma pauperis and will dismiss the
petition. An Order consistent ...