Watts v. Wells Fargo Dealer Services Inc
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER To the extent they request relief from this court's partial final judgment, the court DENIES "Affiant Demand for Judicial Notice" 91 and FINDS the "Writ of Habeas Corpus" 92 MOOT. Signed by Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre on 6/27/17. (SAC )
2017 Jun-27 PM 04:52
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ROGER W. WATTS, JR.,
WELLS FARGO DEALER SERVICES,
This matter comes before the court on Mr. Watts’s “Affiant Demand for Judicial Notice”
(doc. 91) and “Writ of Habeas Corpus.” (Doc. 92). The court entered an Order and Partial Final
Judgment on May 25, 2017, which, among other things, granted final summary judgment in favor
of Wells Fargo as to its claim for possession of the 2011 BMW, which served as security for Mr.
Watts’s loan with Wells Fargo. In these newest filings, Mr. Watts continues to assert various
sovereign citizen theories and present incoherent legal documents that do not address the clear
language of the contract he signed with Wells Fargo on May 8, 2014 that the court found to be
dispositive of this matter. See (Doc. 89).
First, the court addresses Mr. Watts’s “Writ,” in which he challenges the court’s
jurisdiction over him, (doc. 92 at 1), and his request that the court construe his pro se pleadings
liberally in his “Affiant Demand.” (Doc. 91 at 1–3). The court has repeatedly construed Mr.
Watts’s pleadings liberally; the court would have dismissed his case long ago had it not done so.
And the court does have jurisdiction over Mr. Watts and this case. Mr. Watts filed this suit in
state court and so invoked the jurisdiction of the state court, and Wells Fargo removed this case
to federal court. Mr. Watts filed a Motion to Remand, in which he did not challenge personal
jurisdiction, and this court determined that it has jurisdiction over the subject matter. (Doc. 53)
(denying Motion to Remand). Mr. Watts did not challenge personal jurisdiction until March 22,
2017, when, in his previous “Writ of Habeas Corpus,” he stated, “Court jurisdiction has been
challenge.” (Doc. 75 at 1). The court denied that “Writ of Habeas Corpus” because it presented
no grounds for relief. (Doc. 82).
In litigating in this court for 15 months, Mr. Watts waived any claim that he might have
to personal jurisdiction. See Matthews v. Brookstone Stores, Inc., 431 F. Supp. 2d 1219, 1223
(S.D. Ala. 2006) (citations omitted) (stating that a defendant may waive personal jurisdiction if
he “substantially participates in the litigation without actively pursuing” his personal jurisdiction
defense). In any event, the court properly exercised jurisdiction over Mr. Watts. See, e.g., Adam
v. Saenger, 303 U.S. 59, 67–68 (1938) (holding that a court may exercise personal jurisdiction
over a plaintiff against whom a defendant files a counterclaim, because the plaintiff voluntarily
submitted himself to the court’s jurisdiction by filing his complaint); Linge v. State of Georgia
Inc., 569 F. App’x 895, 896 (11th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted) (finding the argument that a
sovereign citizen is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court to be “‘wholly insubstantial and
frivolous’”); U.S. v. Benabe, 654 F.3d 753, 767 (7th Cir. 2011) (“Regardless of an individual’s
claimed status of descent, be it as a ‘sovereign citizen,’ a ‘secured-party creditor,’ or a
‘flesh-and-blood human being,’ that person is not beyond the jurisdiction of the courts.”).
Next, the court liberally construes the “Affiant Demand for Judicial Notice”1 as a motion
No such pleading exists, so the court construes this document as the most logical
to alter or amend the judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), and finds that the
motion does not “demonstrate why the court should reconsider its prior decision and ‘set forth
facts or law of a strongly convincing nature to induce the court to reverse its prior decision.’”
Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland v. Am. Consertech, Inc., No. 06-0338-CG-M, 2008 WL
4080270, at *1 (S.D. Ala. Aug. 28, 2008) (quoting Cover v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 148 F.R.D.
294, 295 (M.D. Fla. 1993)). Mr. Watts has not shown any of the three generally recognized
grounds justifying reconsideration of an order: (1) an intervening change in the law, (2) the
availability of new evidence, or (3) the need to correct a clear error or manifest injustice. See,
e.g., Sussman v. Salem, Saxon & Nielsen, P.A., 153 F.R.D. 689, 694 (M.D. Fla. 1994).
Instead, Mr. Watts suggests that the court may somehow satisfy his debt with money
from the U.S. Treasury and that his execution of the installment contract with Wells Fargo (by
which he borrowed money to buy the car) miraculously paid his debt to the bank. The ridiculous
nature of such arguments speaks for itself—and the court specifically addressed the latter
argument in its Memorandum Opinion on Wells Fargo’s Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc.
90). Importantly, Mr. Watts admits that he was obligated to pay Wells Fargo under the contract,
and seems only to dispute the method of payment: “Affiant does not dispute [nor] has any
controversy regarding said debt.” (Doc. 91 at 1 n.1). Pursuant to that contract, Mr. Watts—not
this court nor the U.S. Treasury—owes the debt to Wells Fargo.
The court finds that Mr. Watts’s “Demand,” no matter how liberally the court construes
it, does not present any recognizable theory on which the court can grant any relief. If Mr. Watts
intended the “Demand” as a motion, the court DENIES it.
Next, Mr. Watts calls his second filing a “Writ of Habeas Corpus” and requests release
from custody; the court construes this document as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus as
would be filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Although his petition contains numerous legal flaws,
because Mr. Watts has been released from custody since he filed his petition, his petition is now
Accordingly, to the extent they request relief from this court’s partial final judgment, the
court DENIES “Affiant Demand for Judicial Notice” (doc. 91) and FINDS the “Writ of Habeas
Corpus” (doc. 92) MOOT.
DONE and ORDERED this 27th day of June, 2017.
KARON OWEN BOWDRE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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