Caruso v. The United States of America, et al.

Filing 7

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS signed by Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman on 4/21/2017 RECOMMENDING that this action be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the substantiality doctrine. The Clerk of Court be directed to close this case. Referred to Judge Troy L. Nunley; Objections due within 14 days after being served with these F & R's. (Reader, L)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 STEVEN CARUSO, 12 13 14 No. 2:16-cv-2902-TLN-KJN PS Plaintiff, v. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., 15 16 Defendants. 17 18 Plaintiff Steven Caruso, proceeding without counsel, initially commenced this action on 19 December 9, 2016, and paid the filing fee. (ECF No. 1.) Thereafter, on December 27, 2016, 20 plaintiff filed the operative first amended complaint. (ECF No. 4.) The court’s record shows that 21 a summons based on the first amended complaint was issued and served on plaintiff by mail on 22 December 28, 2016. (ECF No. 5.) There have been no subsequent filings in the case. 23 In the first amended complaint, plaintiff names as defendants the United States of 24 America, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of 25 Health, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Communications Commission, and the 26 National Human Genome Research Institute, along with Doe defendants. (ECF No. 4.) 27 According to plaintiff, various federal actors (including employees and grant awardees) have 28 illegally consented to the use of plaintiff’s person and body for medical research and behavioral 1 1 science experiments, labeling plaintiff as a “U.S. government experimental subject.” (Id.) The 2 complaint is replete with allegations of artificial intelligence, electronic monitoring, biological 3 trade secrets, social engineering, and physical/psychological torture. (Id.) 4 No proof of service was filed in the record, and no defendant has yet appeared in the 5 action. As such, it seems quite likely that plaintiff never properly served defendants with process. 6 Additionally, plaintiff failed to file a status report prior to the status conference as ordered. (ECF 7 No. 3.) However, plaintiff appeared at the status conference and responded to the court’s 8 questioning. 9 If the only defects in plaintiff’s case had been his failure to complete service of process 10 and failure to file a status report prior to the status conference, the court would have been strongly 11 inclined, in light of plaintiff’s pro se status, to provide plaintiff with an opportunity to cure such 12 defects. Nevertheless, after carefully reviewing the allegations of plaintiff’s first amended 13 complaint, the court concludes that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the action under the 14 substantiality doctrine. 15 A federal court has an independent duty to assess whether federal subject matter 16 jurisdiction exists, whether or not the parties raise the issue. See United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. 17 Waddell & Reed Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th Cir. 2004) (stating that “the district court had a duty 18 to establish subject matter jurisdiction over the removed action sua sponte, whether the parties 19 raised the issue or not”); accord Rains v. Criterion Sys., Inc., 80 F.3d 339, 342 (9th Cir. 1996). 20 The court must sua sponte dismiss the case if, at any time, it determines that it lacks subject 21 matter jurisdiction. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3). 22 “Under the substantiality doctrine, the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction when 23 the question presented is too insubstantial to consider.” Cook v. Peter Kiewit Sons Co., 775 F.2d 24 1030, 1035 (9th Cir. 1985) (citing Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-39 (1974)). “The claim 25 must be ‘so insubstantial, implausible, foreclosed by prior decisions of this Court or otherwise 26 completely devoid of merit as not to involve a federal controversy within the jurisdiction of the 27 District Court, whatever may be the ultimate resolution of the federal issues on the merits.’” Id. 28 (quoting Oneida Indian Nation v. County of Oneida, 414 U.S. 661, 666 (1974)); see also Apple v. 2 1 Glenn, 183 F.3d 477, 479 (6th Cir. 1999) (“a district court may, at any time, sua sponte dismiss a 2 complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of 3 Civil Procedure when the allegations of a complaint are totally implausible, attenuated, 4 unsubstantial, frivolous, devoid of merit, or no longer open to discussion.”). 5 The court finds that the allegations of plaintiff’s first amended complaint, as outlined 6 above, are implausible, devoid of merit, and unsubstantial. At the hearing, the court, especially in 7 light of plaintiff’s pro se status, questioned plaintiff regarding the nature of his claims and 8 provided plaintiff with a further opportunity to better articulate them. However, plaintiff simply 9 made additional implausible allegations regarding being a computer science experimental subject 10 and the focus of a large conspiracy involving attorneys, pharmaceutical companies, and faculty 11 from various academic institutions in Humboldt County. Therefore, the court concludes that this 12 action should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the substantiality 13 doctrine.1 14 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that: 15 1. The action be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the 16 substantiality doctrine. 17 2. The Clerk of Court be directed to close this case. 18 These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District Judge 19 assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within fourteen (14) 20 days after being served with these findings and recommendations, any party may file written 21 objections with the court and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document should be captioned 22 “Objections to Magistrate Judge’s Findings and Recommendations.” Any reply to the objections 23 shall be served on all parties and filed with the court within fourteen (14) days after service of the 24 objections. The parties are advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may 25 waive the right to appeal the District Court’s order. Turner v. Duncan, 158 F.3d 449, 455 (9th 26 1 27 28 The court emphasizes that the foregoing observations are not intended insult or disparage plaintiff. The court has no doubt that plaintiff truly believes that he experiences the alleged actions or phenomena. However, the court concludes that plaintiff’s allegations do not plausibly invoke this court’s subject matter jurisdiction. 3 1 2 3 Cir. 1998); Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153, 1156-57 (9th Cir. 1991). IT IS SO RECOMMENDED. Dated: April 21, 2017 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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