CONERLY v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ENTRY - This action is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. All pending motions, dkt 8 , 9 , 12 , 16 , 20 , 21 , and 26 , are denied as moot. Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 10/27/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Western District of Washington Recommendation, # 2 Southern District of Illinois Entry) (Copy mailed to Plaintiffs) (MEJ)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
DETRICK CURTIS CONERLY,
MICHAEL AARON BONNER,
JOHN MENO CRUZ,
MS. KATHLEEN KANE,
Entry Dismissing Miscellaneous Case and Directing Entry of Final Judgment
For the reasons explained below, this miscellaneous action to register a foreign judgment
is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. In the absence of jurisdiction there is nothing to do but
announce this fact and close the case. Accordingly all pending motions are denied as moot.
Plaintiffs Detrick Curtis Conerly, Michael Aaron Bonner, and John Meno Cruz
(collectively “Plaintiffs”) are Idaho state prisoners. They seek to register a foreign judgment
purportedly issued by the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, against
Defendants Tom Wolf, Ms. Kathleen Kane and Paran LLP. Plaintiffs seek to obtain “full faith and
credit” for the Westmoreland County Judgment in this Court. Plaintiffs state that “[t]he reason for
the registration is because there is an absence of assets in the rendering county court. It is believed
that Paran LLP may have some assets in the Southern District of Indiana.” (Dkt. 1 at page 2.)
This Court has not been able to identify a certified copy of the judgment in the blizzard of
papers the plaintiffs have submitted. The plaintiffs have submitted a document captioned for the
Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania which reads:
See Dkt. 1-5 at p 12. In addition, the Plaintiffs have submitted a subsequent Order of Court which
reflects that on October 31, 2016, the Plaintiffs decided that they only wished to pursue this action
against Paran LLP and that there was no objection to dismissing Tom Wolf and Kathleen Kane
from the state case as defendants. However, no amended judgment issued by the state court was
If these documents are pieced together, it appears that the plaintiffs have filed this action
in the hopes of enforcing a judgment against Paran LLP in the amount of $138.00. Defendant Paran
LLP allegedly has its headquarters at 2127 S. Helen Street Boise, Idaho, 83705. Dkt. 6-1 at p. 8. It
also has a last known address of Paran LLP, 536 Franklin St. 1F, Reading PA, 19602. Dkt. 12 at
The plaintiffs’ intentions, however, go beyond a $138.00 debt. Instead they state that the
judgment also includes a statement that they are “sovereign,” such that “no one can obtain subject
matter jurisdiction over John Meno Cru[z], Michael Aaron Bonner, and Detrick Curtis Conerly
without their expressed consent. Anyone who restricts his liberty will be charged twenty five
thousand dollars U.S. (lawful money) for every twenty three minutes of restriction of liberty in
any form.” See dkt. 6 at p. 2. No such language in a state court issued judgment was identified. In
addition, the theory that the plaintiffs’ custodians could be liable for the plaintiffs continued
incarceration based on a Pennsylvania state court judgment against Paran LLP is unclear.
In any event, the Entry of September 11, 2017, instructed Plaintiffs that “to obtain the
registration of a foreign judgment sought by the plaintiffs, they must show that the underlying
claim is one over which a federal court would have jurisdiction.” GE Betz, Inc. v. Zee Co., 718
F.3d 615, 624-25 (7th Cir. 2013). The Plaintiffs were given a period of time in which to identify
the basis on which this federal court would have jurisdiction over the cause of action asserted in
their complaint brought in Bonner, et al., v. PARAN LLP, et al., No. 4329 JU 2016 in the Court of
Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. What followed was more than 600 pages
of documentation that included various assertions of fact or law. Those papers reflect that the
underlying state court action was frivolous and include the following assertions.
The papers reflect an attempt to change the defendant from PARAN LLP to the
State of Idaho and its counties. See e.g., Dkt. 13.
There is a motion to join Michael Griffith because he “has a similar judgment
from the Court of Common Pleas Westmoreland County PA that states that he is sovereign and
not a person” and “his liberty is also being restricted by the Defendant(s).” Dkt. 8 at 2.
There is a request for emergency hearing based on the fact that the statutes the
plaintiffs were convicted under use the term “person.” Dkt. 9 at 3.
The plaintiffs suggest that jurisdiction is proper because criminal judgments have
been issued against them. Dkt. 12 at 2. As noted earlier, in their words:
Dkt. 12 at p. 3.
The Plaintiffs argue that the Pennsylvania state court judgment can be enforced
against a nonparty such as the State of Idaho. See 12 at 10.
6. The Plaintiffs state that they are seeking to register the state judgment under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1738 and not 28 U.S.C. § 1963. They argue this is important because § 1738 does not have
jurisdictional requirements. The Plaintiffs state that they are using this foreign judgment to prove
that the underlying criminal cases they were convicted of are void and that their civil rights have
been violated under the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Dkt. 28 at p. 2.
7. The money damages at issue are described. The Plaintiffs argue:
Dkt. 12 at 10.
8. Portions of the Plaintiffs’ criminal records are included. See dkt. 12.
“Courts . . . have an independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter
jurisdiction exists, even in the absence of a challenge from any party.” Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp.,
546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006). “When a federal court concludes that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction,
the court must dismiss the complaint in its entirety.” Id. at 514. The Supreme Court has explained:
The basic statutory grants of federal-court subject-matter jurisdiction are
contained in 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332. Section 1331 provides for “[f]ederalquestion” jurisdiction, § 1332 for “[d]iversity of citizenship” jurisdiction. A
plaintiff properly invokes § 1331 jurisdiction when she pleads a colorable claim
“arising under” the Constitution or laws of the United States. See Bell v. Hood, 327
U.S. 678, 681–685, 66 S.Ct. 773, 90 L.Ed. 939 (1946). She invokes § 1332
jurisdiction when she presents a claim between parties of diverse citizenship that
exceeds the required jurisdictional amount, currently $75,000. See § 1332(a).
Id. at 513 (internal footnote omitted).
Further, the Court of Appeals has repeatedly held that “the party invoking federal
jurisdiction bears the burden of demonstrating its existence.” See Hart v. FedEx Ground Pkg. Sys.
Inc., 457 F.3d 675, 679 (7th Cir. 2006). The plaintiffs’ argument that the matter can be heard under
28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1367 is rejected. Dkt 9 at p. 1.
Here, there is no allegation of conduct which could support the existence of federal
question jurisdiction. See Williams v. Aztar Ind. Gaming Corp., 351 F.3d 294, 298 (7th Cir. 2003)
(explaining federal courts may exercise federal-question jurisdiction when a plaintiff’s right to
relief is created by or depends on a federal statute or constitutional provision. Even assuming that
the plaintiffs are attempting to enforce the state court judgment pursuant to the Full Faith and
Credit Clause of the United States Constitution or its codified brethren, 28 U.S.C. § 1738, neither
supplies a basis for federal question jurisdiction. See Adar v. Smith, 639 F.3d 146, 157 (5th Cir.
2011) (noting that suing under the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not confer federal question
jurisdiction); Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. Kraus-Anderson Constr. Co., 607 F.3d 1268,
1276 (11th Cir. 2010) (“[I]t is long established that § 1738 does not, standing alone, confer
jurisdiction on a federal district court to domesticate a judgment rendered by a court of another
jurisdiction.”). Second, even if the plaintiffs are suing under 28 U.S.C. § 1963—a statute that the
Seventh Circuit has interpreted as allowing a federal court to register a state court judgment,
thereby effectively adopting it as its own order—it requires an independent basis for jurisdiction,
which is not present here. See GE Betz, Inc. v. Zee Co., Inc., 718 F.3d 615, 625 (7th Cir. 2013)
(holding that § 1963 allows a federal court to “register” a state court judgment but noting that the
case must still satisfy the diversity requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1332).
In the absence of subject matter jurisdiction, the Plaintiffs may not rely on the court’s
supplemental jurisdiction to entertain additional claims. See 42 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3); Hagans v.
Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-37 (1974); In re African-Am. Slave Descendants Litig., 471 F.3d
754,757-58 (7th Cir. 2006).
In addition, this Court does not have diversity jurisdiction. See Denlinger v. Brennan, 87
F.3d 214, 217 (7th Cir. 1996) (holding that failure to include allegations of citizenship requires
dismissal of complaint based on diversity jurisdiction). This is because a district court cannot
exercise diversity jurisdiction if the plaintiff shares the same state citizenship as any one of the
defendants. Whalen v. Carter, 954 F.2d 1087, 1094 (5th Cir. 1992) (citing Strawbridge v. Curtiss,
3 Cranch 267, 7 U.S. 267, 2 L.Ed. 435 (1806)); see also Hart v. FedEx Ground Package Sys. Inc.,
457 F.3d 675, 676 (7th Cir. 2006). The Plaintiffs in this action are prisoners in Idaho. The
Defendant Paran LLP is reportedly headquartered in Idaho. Not only is complete diversity missing,
the amount in controversy is $138.00, which is well below the $75,000 threshold. Although
Plaintiffs argue that their nonparty custodians owe them much more than $75,000, these nonparties
cannot be joined in this miscellaneous case which was filed in an attempt to register a foreign
In any event, none of the parties appear to have a connection to Indiana, therefore venue is
This action is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. This is the same conclusion reached by
the Southern District of Illinois (4:16-mc-0004-JPG) and is consistent with the Magistrate Judge’s
Report and Recommendation in the Western District of Washington (3:17-cv-5708-BHS-JRC)
where the Plaintiffs filed similar claims. See Opinions attached to this Entry.
If the Plaintiffs wanted to file a civil rights action or a petition for writ of habeas corpus
against their custodians, they could have done so (although the Southern District of Indiana would
not have been the appropriate venue for such claims). Instead, they filed a miscellaneous case to
register a foreign judgment in a court which lacks jurisdiction.
This action is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. All pending motions, dkt , , ,
, , , and , are denied as moot.
Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DETRICK CURTIS CONERLY
P.O. BOX 70010
BOISE, ID 83707
MICHAEL AARON BONNER
SOUTH IDAHO CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION NORTH DORM
P.O. BOX 8509
BOISE, ID 83707
JOHN MENO CRUZ
IDAHO STATE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTE UNIT 15
P.O. BOX 14
BOISE, ID 83707
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