United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court following the filing of several
Motions to Dismiss by Defendants pursuant to 12(b)(1) and
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docs. Nos.
39, 41, 44, 47, 48,  49). Defendants Barnes, Schatzman, and
Joines also seek pre-filing injunctions and ask this Court to
impose sanctions against Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 40, 48, 50).
This matter is also before the Court on Plaintiff's
responses to those motions and his requests for injunctive
relief. (Docs. Nos. 38, 52, 55, 57). The Court issued a
notice to Plaintiff, who appears pro se, pursuant to
Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th
Cir. 1975), advising him of the burden he carries in
responding to Defendants' motions, and all motions have
been fully briefed. For the reasons that follow,
Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief is denied,
Defendants' motions to dismiss are granted, and
Defendants' motions for a pre-filing injunction are
denied at this time.
1, 2016, this Court issued an order denying Plaintiff's
request for injunctive relief and granting Defendants'
previous motions to dismiss. (Doc. No. 31). Plaintiff
appealed to the Fourth Circuit, which ruled to dismiss and
remand the order with instructions to allow Plaintiff to file
an amended complaint. (Doc. No. 36). Plaintiff subsequently
amended his complaint (Doc. No. 38), and Defendants submitted
new Motions to Dismiss. (Doc. No. 39, 41, 44, 47, 48, 49).
The Court notes at the outset that despite an opportunity to
amend his pleadings, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint is-in
large part-very similar to his Original Complaint and
includes many of the same “causes of action” and
other fantastical allegations without much reference to facts
to support such claims.
who appears pro se, commenced this suit against a
variety of public officials. Defendant Roy Cooper previously
served as the Attorney General of North Carolina and
currently serves as the Governor of the State. Defendant Pat
McCrory is the previous governor of North Carolina. Defendant
B.J. Barnes is the Sheriff of Guilford County, North
Carolina. Defendant William T. Schatzman is the Sheriff of
Forsyth County. Defendant James Allen Joines is the Mayor for
the City of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Defendant Nancy
Vaughan is the Mayor for the City of Greensboro, North
filed his amended complaint in the Western District of North
Carolina on December 6, 2016. (Doc. No. 38). The Court notes
at the outset that it is difficult to identify specific
claims and causes of action within Plaintiff's
Complaint. The first discernable claim appears to be
against Defendants Schatzman and Vaughan for transporting
Plaintiff to a detention center and setting bail.
Id. at 5. The second claim seems to be against all
Defendants, claiming each has coerced Plaintiff into
revealing his Social Security number for “capital gain
for the private corporation.” Id.
Plaintiff's next cause of action appears to be one of
unlawful arrest. Plaintiff alleges that while he was
“exercising private rights of traveling, ”
Defendant Joines “demanded payment of ransom” and
subsequently kidnapped, harassed, caused duress, and labeled
Plaintiff as a “Sovereign Citizen.” Id.
at 6. Plaintiff includes Schatzman in this claim and asserts
that Schatzman took Plaintiff's fingerprints and pictures
under duress. Id. Plaintiff then claims that his
name has been copyrighted since 2009, and, accordingly, all
Defendants have infringed upon this copyright. Id.
at 14. Plaintiff claims he has not filed suit to harass
Defendants, but in “good faith, good conscience, and
clean hands” to stop Defendants from harassing and
slandering him. Id. at 9.
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff seeks a variety of relief for
the alleged injuries. Plaintiff asks for removal of his
fingerprints and pictures from government databases.
Id. at 14. Plaintiff requests the return of his cell
phone, as well as the return of an “International
Driving Permit” and “Muur's Identification
Cards.” Id. Plaintiff further requests that
his criminal record be expunged and his nursing license
granted. Id. Plaintiff asks that he and his family
be placed on a State “do not detain, do not
disturb” list, and that each Defendant pay the fee for
filing, taxes, and damages caused to himself and his
automobile. Plaintiff also claims his name is trademarked and
asks that it be declared private property. Id.
Defendants have moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims under Rule 12(b)(1)
and for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Some Defendants have also
asserted Plaintiff failed to follow the pleading requirements
in Rule 8(a) and filed suit in the improper venue under Rule
12(b)(3) as grounds for dismissal. This Court issued a
Roseboro notice on December 29, 2016, to notify
Plaintiff of his burden to respond to Defendants'
motions. (Doc. No. 53).
filed a document titled “Response to State Agent:
Attorney” (Doc. No. 52) on December 28, 2016. Plaintiff
also filed documents titled “Affidavit Respond to State
Agents-Attorneys, ” (Doc. No. 55) and “Respond to
State Agent: Attorney” (Doc. No. 57) on January 9 and
18, 2017. As with previous filings, it is unclear to this
Court as to what relief Plaintiff seeks. At best, all
pleadings appear to ask this Court to grant injunctive
relief. Therefore, this Court liberally construes these
documents to be motions seeking injunctive relief.
federal court to adjudicate a matter, it must first have
subject matter jurisdiction. Constantine v. Rectors &
Visitors of George Mason Univ., 411 F.3d 474, 480 (4th
Cir. 2005). A court may have subject matter jurisdiction
either under federal question, 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (2012),
diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (2012), or
supplemental jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. §1367 (2012). A
court will have jurisdiction under federal question if a
cause of action is created by federal law. Merrell Dow
Pharm., Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 808 (1968).
Federal question must be clearly established in a
plaintiff's well-pleaded complaint. Caterpillar, Inc.
v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 393 (1987). If a court has
original jurisdiction through federal question, it will also
have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are
part of the same case or controversy. 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
A court will have diversity jurisdiction in cases between
citizens of different states where the amount in controversy
is greater than $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. “If
the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.” Fed.
R. Civ. Pro. 12(h)(3).
plaintiff has the burden of establishing subject matter
jurisdiction. Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d
642, 647 (4th Cir. 1999). In evaluating a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), courts apply the standard
applicable to a motion for summary judgment, under which the
nonmoving party must set forth specific facts beyond the
pleadings to show that a genuine issue of material facts
exists. Richmond, Fredricksburg, & Potomac R.R. Co.
v. United States, 945 F.3d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991). The
moving party prevails on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss
“if the material jurisdictional facts are not in
dispute and the moving party is entitled to prevail as a
matter of law.” Id. at 768.
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows
defendants to move for dismissal when a plaintiff has not
stated a claim that is recognized by law. In order to survive
a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, Plaintiff's
“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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)
(citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
570 (2007)). In order to be plausible, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter “that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable.” Id. Rule 8(a) requires that a
plaintiff's complaint must contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). While a
high level of factual detail is not required, a complaint
needs more than “an unadorned,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007)). Furthermore, a
complaint must be “clear enough to enable the Defendant
to know how to defend himself.” North Carolina v.
McGuirt, 114 Fed.App'x. 55, 558 (4th Cir. 2004).
pleadings from pro se litigants are entitled to some
leniency, they are still bound to follow the rules of
procedure. See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S.
106, 113 (1993) (“[W]e have never suggested that
procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be
interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed
without counsel.”). While a pro se complaint
must be construed liberally, Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the liberal construction requirement
will not permit a district court to recognize a clear failure
to allege facts in the complaint which set forth a claim that
is cognizable under federal law. See Weller v. Dep't
of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).