Owens v. Wong et al
ORDER granting Defendants' 8 , 16 Motions to Dismiss. Defendant Wong's motion for sanctions, doc 8 is denied. Plaintiff's claims are dismissed without prejudice. Signed by Judge Lisa G. Wood on 1/19/2023. (ca)
Case 2:22-cv-00082-LGW-BWC Document 26 Filed 01/19/23 Page 1 of 9
In the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Georgia
LARAEL K. OWENS,
LIBERTY WONG, in her official
capacity, and CHARLES P. ROSE,
JR., in his official capacity,
Before the Court are a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant
Charles Rose, Jr., dkt. no. 16, and a motion to dismiss and
request for sanctions filed by Defendant Liberty Wong, dkt. no.
Plaintiff Larael Owens has responded in opposition to both
motions, dkt. nos. 11, 19.
On October 29, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Divorce and Child
Custody case in the Superior Court of Long County, Civil Action
No. SUV2020000165, which was assigned to Defendant Judge Charles
P. Rose, Jr.
Dkt. No. 8-1.
Defendant Liberty Wong represented
hearing granting Plaintiff’s wife temporary physical custody of
the parties’ minor daughter and ordering Plaintiff to pay child
Case 2:22-cv-00082-LGW-BWC Document 26 Filed 01/19/23 Page 2 of 9
support during the pendency of the proceedings, Plaintiff filed
with the Superior Court of Long County an Affidavit alleging
that he is not a “U.S. person” and is a “foreign sovereign,”
Dkt. No. 8-2.
Dissatisfied as to how the
Guardian Ad Litem Report recommending that the mother continue
in the role of primary caregiver, see dkt. no. 1-1 at 1-17,
moving forward. See generally Dkt. No. 1.
The divorce action is
still pending, and Judge Rose has yet to file any final orders
regarding child support, child custody, or visitation.
16-1 at 3.
Here, Plaintiff asserts two claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
“The Social Security on File with Georgia DOR and the
Court is Fraudulent” (Count 1), dkt. no. 1 at 4, and “Violation
of [Plaintiff’s] Parent Fundamental Rights” (Count 2), id. at 9.
More specifically, Plaintiff claims that his federal rights will
be violated if Defendants enforce Judge Rose’s temporary order
subject to Social Security and forcing him to pay would be a
misuse of the Internal Revenue Code.
Id. at 4.
Plaintiff claims the temporary custody arrangement violates his
Id. at 9.
Case 2:22-cv-00082-LGW-BWC Document 26 Filed 01/19/23 Page 3 of 9
Defendants move to dismiss this action for, inter alia,
See Dkt. No. 16-1 at 2, 13-14.
Procedure, a defendant may move to dismiss a claim because the
court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter. Such a motion
may be made at any stage of the proceedings. Fed. R. Civ. P.
Facial attacks on a complaint “require the court
complaint are taken as true for the purposes of the
motion.” [ ] Factual attacks challenge “the existence
of subject matter jurisdiction in fact, irrespective
of the pleadings, and matters outside the pleadings,
such as testimony and affidavits, are considered.” [ ]
This circuit has explained that in a factual attack,
the presumption of truthfulness afforded a plaintiff
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) does
Case 2:22-cv-00082-LGW-BWC Document 26 Filed 01/19/23 Page 4 of 9
matters outside the pleadings in resolving this motion.
district court ha[s] subject matter jurisdiction to hear the
Digital Props., Inc. v. City of Plantation, 121 F.3d
586, 591 (11th Cir. 1997) (quoting Greenbriar, Ltd. v. City of
Alabaster, 881 F.2d 1570, 1573 n.7 (11th Cir. 1989)).
ripeness doctrine involves consideration of both jurisdictional
Sikes, 730 F.2d 644, 648 (11th Cir. 1984)).
“Article III of the
concreteness to evidence a ripeness for review.”
Fighters Local 2238 v. City of Hallandale, 922 F.2d 756, 759
(llth Cir. 1991)).
“‘Even when the constitutional minimum has
been met, however, prudential considerations may still counsel
Case 2:22-cv-00082-LGW-BWC Document 26 Filed 01/19/23 Page 5 of 9
Id. (quoting Action Alliance of Senior
Citizens v. Heckler, 789 F.2d 931, 940 n.12 (D.C. Cir. 1986))
(citing Johnson, 730 F.2d at 648).
engaging in speculation or wasting their resources through the
review of potential or abstract disputes.”
seeks to avoid entangling courts in the hazards of premature
Id. (quoting Felmeister v. Office of Attorney
Ethics, 856 F.2d 529, 535 (3d Cir. 1988)) (citing Abbott Lab. v.
requires a determination of (l) the fitness of the issues for
withholding court consideration.”
Id. (citing Abbott, 387 U.S.
at 149; Cheffer v. Reno, 55 F.3d 1517, 1524 (11th Cir. 1995)).
‘finality, definiteness, and the extent to which resolution of
Mulhall v. UNITE HERE Local 355, 618
F.3d 1279, 1291 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Harrell v. Fla. Bar,
608 F.3d 1241, 1258 (11th Cir. 2010)). “The hardship prong asks
until conditions for deciding the controversy are ideal.”
“Courts must resolve ‘whether there is sufficient injury to
meet Article III's requirement of a case or controversy and, if
Case 2:22-cv-00082-LGW-BWC Document 26 Filed 01/19/23 Page 6 of 9
so, whether the claim is sufficiently mature, and the issues
decisionmaking by the court.’”
Digital Props. 121 F.3d at 589
(quoting Cheffer, 55 F.3d at 1524).
After considering the circumstances surrounding the pending
state court divorce action, the Court finds Plaintiff’s claims
are not ripe for judicial review in this Court.
attempting to appeal a state court’s temporary order.
fitness prong of the ripeness inquiry, a temporary order does
not signal finality or definiteness.
Mulhall, 618 F.3d at 1291.
The resolution of Plaintiff’s challenge to the temporary child
For the Court to analyze the merits of Plaintiff’s
claims, it would have to speculate as to any final order imposed
by the state court.
Doing so would “entangle[ the] court in
the hazards of premature adjudication.”
Digital Props., 121
F.3d at 589.
Further, under the hardship prong of the ripeness inquiry,
the Court finds the cost to Plaintiff of delaying review of his
The state court’s temporary order allows Plaintiff
visitation with his minor child from Thursdays at 5 p.m. to
Mondays at 8 a.m. every other week.
It also requires Plaintiff
Case 2:22-cv-00082-LGW-BWC Document 26 Filed 01/19/23 Page 7 of 9
to pay only three hundred dollars per month in child support.
Such temporarily imposed conditions are commonplace in a divorce
Having found both the fitness and hardship prongs of the
ripeness inquiry weigh in favor of this Court not deciding the
merits of Plaintiff’s claims, the Court concludes Plaintiff’s
claims are not ripe for judicial review, and this Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction to decide them.
Digital Props., 121
Plaintiff’s complaint, dkt. nos. 8, 16, are GRANTED.
Request for Sanctions
complaint, Defendant Wong moves the Court to impose sanctions
against Plaintiff for filing this lawsuit.
Wong argues that
Plaintiff’s claims are based on a sovereign citizen theory, a
theory which courts have rejected and recognized as frivolous
and a waste of judicial resources.
Dkt. No. 8 at 5.
“Courts have the inherent power to police those appearing
Purchasing Power, LLC v. Bluestem Brands, Inc.,
851 F.3d 1218, 1223 (11th Cir. 2017) (citing Chambers v. NASCO,
Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 46 (1991)).
“This power ‘must be exercised
Id. (quoting Chambers, 501 U.S. at 44–45).
Case 2:22-cv-00082-LGW-BWC Document 26 Filed 01/19/23 Page 8 of 9
may exercise this power ‘to sanction the willful disobedience of
a court order, and to sanction a party who has acted in bad
faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or for oppressive reasons.’”
(quoting Marx v. Gen. Revenue Corp., 568 U.S. 371, 382 (2013)
(citing Chambers, 501 U.S. at 45–46)).
“The dual purpose of
this power is to vindicate judicial authority without resorting
to a contempt of court sanction and to make the prevailing party
Id. (citing Chambers, 501 U.S. at 46).
“The key to
unlocking a court's inherent power is a finding of bad faith.”
1205, 1212 (11th Cir. 2015)).
of proving bad faith.
The moving party bears the burden
See Wandner v. Am. Airlines, 79 F. Supp.
3d 1285, 1289 (S.D. Fla. 2015).
evidence of bad faith on the part of Plaintiff in filing this
Accordingly, Defendant Wong’s motion for sanctions,
dkt. no. 8, is DENIED.
Defendants’ motions to dismiss, dkt. nos. 8, 16, are GRANTED,
However, Defendant Wong’s motion for sanctions, dkt. no. 8, is
The Clerk is DIRECTED to close this case.
Case 2:22-cv-00082-LGW-BWC Document 26 Filed 01/19/23 Page 9 of 9
SO ORDERED, this 19th day of January, 2023.
HON. LISA GODBEY WOOD, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
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