Curt Gilgenbach v. United States Incorporated, et al
Filed Nonprecedential Disposition PER CURIAM. The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED. This is not the first time Gilgenbach has pursued frivolous litigation. He filed a similar land patent case in 2016 in the United States Court of Federal Claims. We now sanction Gilgenbach with a fine of $1,000. If the fine is not paid in two weeks, we will enter an order under Support Systems International, Inc. v. Mack, 45 F.3d 185, 186 (7th Cir. 1995), barring him from filing papers in any federal court within this circuit except for defense of criminal cases or applications for writs of habeas corpus. Sanction due for Appellant Curt Gilgenbach by 01/19/2018. Sent Certified Mail. Receipt Number: 7016 0340 0001 1333 5186. Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge; Joel M. Flaum, Circuit Judge and Diane S. Sykes, Circuit Judge. [6894385-1]  [17-2011]
To be cited only in accordance with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Submitted December 21, 2017*
Decided January 5, 2018
DIANE P. WOOD, Chief Judge
JOEL M. FLAUM, Circuit Judge
DIANE S. SYKES, Circuit Judge
STATE OF ILLINOIS, et al.,
Appeal from the United States
District Court for the Northern District
of Illinois, Eastern Division.
Andrea R. Wood,
O R D E R
Curt Gilgenbach has sued federal, state, and local taxing authorities asserting
that because he has a “land patent,” he and his property are immune from taxation. The
district court correctly ruled that it lacked subject‐matter jurisdiction over this frivolous
suit, so we affirm.
* The United States was not served with process in the district court and is not
participating in this appeal. The case is submitted on the record, the appellant’s brief,
and the Village of Glendale Heights’s motion for summary affirmance, which we have
construed as its response brief. We have agreed to decide this case without oral
argument because the appeal is frivolous. See FED. R. APP. P. 34(a)(2)(A).
Gilgenbach sued the United States, the State of Illinois, DuPage County,
Bloomingdale Township, and the Village of Glendale Heights. He asserts that in 1845
the United States granted to his predecessor‐in‐interest the title to land that he now
owns and therefore the defendants may not constitutionally tax it. When the
defendants, some of whom were not served with process, did not respond to this
complaint, he moved for default judgments. The judge dismissed the suit for lack of
subject‐matter jurisdiction and denied Gilgenbach’s motion as moot, ending the case.
In this court Gilgenbach argues that the district court was required to enter
default judgments under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a). He also rehashes his
earlier arguments about the “unlawful taxation” of his property.
Frivolous suits do not engage federal jurisdiction. Crowley Cutlery Co. v. United
States, 849 F.2d 273, 277 (7th Cir. 1988); see Beauchamp v. Sullivan, 21 F.3d 789, 790 (7th
Cir. 1994). And this suit is frivolous. We have sanctioned litigants for frivolously basing
federal‐question jurisdiction on the theory, which Gilgenbach uses, that a “land patent”
from the United States is a federal “law” that bars others from later acquiring interests
in the land. Hilgeford v. Peoples Bank, 776 F.2d 176, 179 (7th Cir. 1985). A “land patent”
from the United States does not bar future interests, including taxable interests, in the
land; it just conveys fee simple ownership to the original titleholder. Wisconsin v. Glick,
782 F.2d 670, 671–74 (7th Cir. 1986) (relying on Hilgeford to sanction litigants for basing
federal jurisdiction on a “land patent” and expecting that the sanction will ensure that
others “think twice” before doing likewise); see also Van Zelst v. Comm’r, 100 F.3d 1259,
1261 (7th Cir. 1996) (explaining that a “land patent” is fee simple ownership). The
district judge thus properly ruled that it lacked subject‐matter jurisdiction and could not
enter default judgments.
Gilgenbach also argues that the defendants violated local and state laws in
categorizing his land for zoning and taxation purposes, but he has not developed his
argument so we need not address it. See Johnson v. Gen. Bd. of Pension & Health Benefits of
United Methodist Church, 733 F.3d 722, 731 (7th Cir. 2013); Puffer v. Allstate Ins. Co.,
675 F.3d 709, 718 (7th Cir. 2012). In any case, the judge properly declined to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over state‐law claims after she dismissed the federal claim as
frivolous. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c); Groce v. Eli Lilly & Co., 193 F.3d 496, 500–01 (7th Cir.
This is not the first time Gilgenbach has pursued frivolous litigation. He filed a
similar “land patent” case in 2016 in the United States Court of Federal Claims. We now
sanction Gilgenbach with a fine of $1,000. If the fine is not paid in two weeks, we will
enter an order under Support Systems International, Inc. v. Mack, 45 F.3d 185, 186 (7th Cir.
1995), barring him from filing papers in any federal court within this circuit except for
defense of criminal cases or applications for writs of habeas corpus.
We have considered Gilgenbach’s other arguments, and none has merit. The
judgment of the district court is
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