Graven v. Martin et al

Filing 30

ORDER that Defendant Mike Martin's 9 Motion to Dismiss, Defendant Dan Wallner's 10 Motion to Dismiss, and 23 Notice of Motion and Motion of Bill Emery to Dismiss the Complaint Pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) are GRANTED. Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice to refiling in a court of proper jurisdiction. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall terminate this action. Signed by Judge Neil V Wake on 06/30/11. (ESL)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Will Graven, a single man, Plaintiff, 10 11 ORDER vs. 12 No. CV-11-00642-PHX-NVW Mike Martin; Dan Wallner; and Bill Emery, Defendants. 13 14 Before the Court are “Defendant Mike Martin’s Motion to Dismiss” (Doc. 9), 15 “Defendant Dan Wallner’s Motion to Dismiss” (Doc. 10), and “Notice of Motion and 16 Motion of Bill Emery to Dismiss the Complaint Pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6)” 17 (Doc. 23). Because subject matter jurisdiction does not exist over Plaintiff’s complaint, 18 the Court will grant these motions. 19 I. FACTS 20 In 1992, the federal government decommissioned George Air Force Base, in 21 Victorville, California. 58 Fed. Reg. 58543 (1993). The runways and related facilities 22 became the Southern California Logistics Airport, which is used for commercial air 23 cargo, 64 Fed. Reg. 72642 (1999), and reputedly for transporting military units. 24 According to Plaintiff Will Graven, the Airport leases the land from the Air Force, the 25 Air Force “yet maintains a presence on, control over, and provides funds to the 26 Base/Airport,” and the FAA “also provides funds to the Airport.” (Doc. 1 ¶¶ 2–4.) 27 Plaintiff Graven is an Arizona resident and the primary shareholder of two 28 companies that did business at the Airport. Somehow, one of Graven’s companies (the 1 complaint does not specify which one) came into a possession of a pile of rubble at the 2 Airport — apparently the remains of certain demolished buildings. If crushed into 3 smaller pieces, this rubble “had significant value as high quality aggregate base material 4 [later determined to have a value of $85,000].” (Id. ¶ 52 (bracketed clause in original).) 5 Graven alleges that, between May and September 2006, Defendant Martin (a Arizona 6 resident), Defendant Wallner (a California resident), and Defendant Emery (a California 7 resident) swindled Graven’s company out of this rubble through a certain scheme, the 8 details of which are not relevant to this motion to dismiss.1 9 Graven’s companies have assigned their causes of action to him personally, and he 10 now sues those allegedly responsible for the following causes of action: (1) “Receipt of 11 Stolen Property”; (2) “Conspiracy to Commit Conversion”; (3) “Conversion”; (4) 12 “Aiding and Abetting a Conspiracy”; (5) “Intentional Interference With an Existing 13 Contract”; (6) “Various Forms of Fraud”; (7) “Forgery”; (8) “Breach of the Covenant of 14 Good Faith and Fair Dealing”; (9) “Bad Faith”; and (10) “Unjust Enrichment.” 15 Defendants have moved to dismiss. 16 jurisdiction. Wallner and Emery also claim other defenses, such as lack of personal 17 jurisdiction (alleging lack of minimum contacts with Arizona) and res judicata (based on 18 now-dismissed bankruptcy proceedings relating Graven and/or his companies). 19 II. 20 All Defendants claim lack of subject matter LEGAL STANDARD Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Generally speaking (and as 21 relevant to this case), federal courts may only hear “civil actions arising under the 22 Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States,” 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or “civil actions 23 where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000 . . . between . . . 24 citizens of different States,” id. § 1332(a)(1). 25 26 27 1 Declarations and proofs of service establish Defendants’ respective residencies. (See Docs. 23–26.) 28 -2  1 III. ANALYSIS 2 Graven’s causes of action do not arise under federal law, nor do they raise a 3 substantial federal question. The only possible connection to federal law is the fact that 4 the rubble was piled up on what used to be an Air Force base. Allegedly, the Air Force 5 still owns the land, but it leases it to a California municipal entity. This does not 6 “necessarily raise a stated federal issue, actually disputed and substantial, which a federal 7 forum may entertain without disturbing any congressionally approved balance of federal 8 and state judicial responsibilities.” Grable & Sons Metal Prods., Inc. v. Darue Eng’g & 9 Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 314 (2005). Accordingly, federal question jurisdiction does not 10 exist. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. 11 Nor does diversity jurisdiction exist. Graven and Defendant Martin are both 12 citizens of Arizona. Accordingly, this Court cannot exercise jurisdiction based on the 13 diversity of the parties’ citizenship. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). 14 In sum, Graven’s complaint, as currently pleaded, can only be brought in a state 15 court. Graven cannot sue on these causes of action in federal court. His complaint will 16 therefore be dismissed. Given the foregoing, the Court will not reach the Defendants’ 17 other arguments for dismissal. 18 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that “Defendant Mike Martin’s Motion to 19 Dismiss” (Doc. 9), “Defendant Dan Wallner’s Motion to Dismiss” (Doc. 10), and “Notice 20 of Motion and Motion of Bill Emery to Dismiss the Complaint Pursuant to FRCP 21 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6)” (Doc. 23) are GRANTED. Plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED 22 without prejudice to refiling in a court of proper jurisdiction. 23 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall terminate this action. 24 Dated this 30th day of June, 2011. 25 26 27 28 -3 

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