United States District Court, District of Columbia
E. BOASBERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
William Scheidler takes issue with many of the decisions and
practices of the state and federal judiciaries, particularly
as they pertain to his various lawsuits. He filed this
pro se suit against a range of Defendants, seeking
almost half a million dollars in damages and to have a
variety of court actions set aside and other actions
compelled. The Government now files a Motion to Dismiss,
contending that this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction
as to some of Scheidler's claims and that he has not
stated a claim as to others. Agreeing on both scores, the
Court will grant the Motion and dismiss the case.
pleading is not a model of clarity. It reads instead as a
catalog of grievances he has suffered at the hands of various
judicial bodies. The Court, nevertheless, will attempt to
sketch the facts that it discerns underlie the five claims
that Scheidler seems to be asserting.
February 11, 2019, he filed the instant Complaint, naming as
Defendants the United States, Chief Justice John Roberts, and
Jane and John Does of the judicial branch 1-100. See
ECF No. 1 (Complaint) at 1. He alleges that he “mailed
[a] tort claim . . . to Chief Justice Roberts” at the
Supreme Court in July of 2018. Id. A few weeks
later, he mailed the same papers to President Trump.
Id. at 2. He first asserts that because
“[t]here has been no response by either the President
or Chief Justice Roberts” after six months, his
“claim” has been denied. Id. Although he
does not describe the substance of that claim, it appears to
be related to the same facts that motivated the instant suit
- namely, that Plaintiff has been unsuccessful in his efforts
to recuse judges handling a variety of cases he has filed
over the years. Scheidler believes that judicial officers did
not properly perform their duties related to his litigation
and that he is, as a result, entitled to damages.
See ECF No. 7 (Plaintiff's Opposition) at 1
(agreeing this is “gist” of his claim).
explains that “[f]ederal judicial branch officials,
employees, and surrogates have abridged or modified the . . .
substantive rights of [P]laintiff, by enlarging their own
powers.” See Compl. at 4 (internal quotation
marks omitted). Scheidler “filed motions to disqualify
judges for bias and actual conflict, ” but all those
motions - including those in his filings to the Supreme Court
- were “decided by other judges, ” so that
“judges-judged-judges with respect to the laws and
rules that appl[ies] to judges.” Id. He names
two district judges who belong to the Washington state bar,
which he believes improperly controls the judicial branch.
Id. at 4-6. And he explains specifically that, when
he “sued the Bar, ” a judge - who was a member of
the Bar - dismissed the case, showing that there is “a
racket between bar associates and their judges.”
Id. at 7. As a result, he contends that the
decisions of two district judges in the state of Washington
“must be considered null and void.” Id.
then offers a lengthy explanation of his state-court
litigation and state laws that the federal judiciary has
“abridged.” Id. at 10-23. He focuses
particularly on a dispute with one of his former attorneys,
Scott Ellerby. Id. at 13-14. Scheidler filed a
“[Washington State Bar Association] grievance . . .
against . . . Ellerby, based upon Ellerby's conspiring
with [a] prosecutor in the scheme to deprive [P]laintiff of
counsel.” Id. at 14. He believes the state
judge reviewing the grievance acted improperly and
“abuse[d] [his] powers.” Id. at 15.
summarizing towards the end of his pleading, he explains that
“[t]his case concerns the policies, customs, practices,
and rules that are utilized improperly, unlawfully and
unconstitutionally by judicial officers - judges and
lawyers.” Id. at 23 (internal quotation marks
omitted). Specifically, he asserts that “[Washington]
State's judicial branch” has violated the Tenth
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the state
constitution and a variety of federal and state statutory
provisions. Id. at 26. The “U.S. judicial
branch” has likewise “deprive[d]” him of
his rights. Id.
relief, he contends that he is entitled to damages from all
Defendants, including $470, 000 for negligence under the
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Id. at 28. He
requests “full restitution against the United States
for its negligence in controlling the intentional
unauthorized acts by its judicial branch officials in their
self-established schemes to take [P]laintiff's property
and inflict intentional distress.” Id. He
urges that the Court issue “a writ of mandamus
directing the Judges of the U.S. Supreme Court [to] exercise
their legal and ethical duty to uphold the constitutions and
laws of the United States and Washington State and supervise
their subordinate judges.” Id.
evaluating Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, the Court must
“treat the complaint's factual allegations as true
. . . and must grant [P]laintiff ‘the benefit of all
inferences that can be derived from the facts
alleged.'” Sparrow v. United Air Lines,
Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1113 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (quoting
Schuler v. United States, 617 F.2d 605, 608 (D.C.
Cir. 1979)) (citation omitted); see also Jerome Stevens
Pharm., Inc. v. FDA, 402 F.3d 1249, 1250 (D.C. Cir.
2005). The pleading rules are “not meant to impose a
great burden upon a plaintiff, ” Dura Pharm., Inc.
v. Broudo, 544 U.S. 336, 347 (2005), and he must thus be
given every favorable inference that may be drawn from the
allegations of fact. Sparrow, 216 F.3d at 1113.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal
of an action where a complaint fails “to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.” Although
“detailed factual allegations” are not necessary
to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citation omitted). The Court need not accept as
true, then, “a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation, ” nor an inference unsupported by the facts
set forth in the Complaint. Trudeau v. Fed. Trade
Comm'n, 456 F.3d 178, 193 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (quoting
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986))
(internal quotation marks omitted). For a plaintiff to
survive a 12(b)(6) motion, the facts alleged in the complaint
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
Rule 12(b)(1), Plaintiff bears the burden of proving that the
Court has subject-matter jurisdiction to hear his claims.
See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555,
561 (1992). A court also has an “affirmative obligation
to ensure that it is acting within the scope of its
jurisdictional authority.” Grand Lodge of Fraternal
Order of Police v. Ashcroft, 185 F.Supp.2d 9, 13 (D.D.C.
2001). For this reason, “‘the plaintiff's
factual allegations in the complaint . . . will bear closer
scrutiny in resolving a 12(b)(1) motion' than in
resolving a 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a
claim.” Id. at 13-14 (quoting 5A Charles A.
Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and
Procedure § 1350 (2d ed. 1987) (alteration in