Cicco v. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The
COMPLAINT with trial location of Wichita (Filing fee $400, Internet Payment Receipt Number AKSDC-4501195), filed by Laura Murray Cicco. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Photograph, # 2 Exhibit 2 - Photograph of Note, # 3 Exhibit 3 - Testing Report)(McHugh, Christopher)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
LAURA MURRAY CICCO,
The NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND
Jurisdiction and Venue
This is an action pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201,
brought to settle ownership of and title to a vial containing dust from the surface of the
2. Federal courts have long found subject matter jurisdiction “in sustaining
suits in equity to quiet title or to remove a cloud on title to personal property.” Right to
quiet title or remove cloud on title to personal property by suit in equity or under
declaratory judgment act, 105 A.L.R. 291 (1936) (citing cases). See also Stone Street
Asset Trust v. Blue, 821 F. Supp. 2d 672, 675 (D. Del. 2011) (“The right to quiet title or
remove cloud upon personal property arises under the DJA”).
3. The United States Code assumes subject matter jurisdiction over actions to
quiet title to personal property, stating:
In an action in a district court to enforce any lien upon or claim to, or to
remove any incumbrance or lien or cloud upon the title to, real or personal property within the district, where any defendant cannot be served
within the State, or does not voluntarily appear, the court may order the
absent defendant to appear or plead by a day certain.
28 U.S.C. § 1655 (emphasis added).
4. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(1)(B) which states:
A civil action in which a defendant is an officer or employee of the United
States or any agency thereof acting in his official capacity or under color of
legal authority, or an agency of the United States, or the United States,
may, except as otherwise provided by law, be brought in any judicial
district which … a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to
the claim occurred, or a substantial part of the property that is the subject
of the action is situated.
The vial and its contents that are the subject of this action are situated within
the District of Kansas and will remain in the district while this action is pending.
6. Neil Armstrong was an American astronaut and commander of the Apollo 11
mission to the moon.
On July 21, 1969, Armstrong became the first person to step on the moon,
stating as he did so, “That’s one small step for man ... One giant leap for mankind.”
8. Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Congressional
Space Medal of Honor, and Congressional Gold Medal.
9. Before he was an astronaut, Armstrong served as a naval aviator in the
Korean War aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex.
10. After leaving the space program, Armstrong taught in the Department of
Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
11. Armstrong was friends with Tom Murray.
12. Murray was a top pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII. He trained
pilots for the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
13. In 1962, Murray and his wife had a daughter, Laura Ann Murray.
14. In 1969 or 1970, the Murray family moved to Cincinnati.
15. When Laura was about ten-years old, her mother gave her a glass vial with a
rubber stopper full of light grey dust, and one of her father’s business cards. A photo of
the vial is attached as Exhibit 1.
16. On the back of the business card was a note from Armstrong that said, “To
Laura Ann Murray – Best of Luck – Neil Armstrong Apollo 11.” A photo of the note is
attached as Exhibit 2.
17. Laura’s mother told her the vial contained dust from the moon.
18. The signature of Armstrong on the card has been authenticated by an expert.
19. XRD and XRF testing show the glass vial contains lunar material. A copy of
the testing report is attached as Exhibit 3.
20. Testing also shows the vial contains some terrestrial material as well.
21. One possible explanation is the contents of the vial were vacuumed or otherwise collected from the space suit of an astronaut who operated on the moon.
Count 1 – Declaratory Judgment
(Incorporating ¶¶ 1 through 21)
22. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA has taken the
position that all lunalogic material is the property of NASA. See Davis v. United States,
case no. 13-0483, 2014 WL 12696368 *3 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 19, 2014) (recognizing NASA’s
position “that private persons cannot own lunar material”).
23. There is no law against private persons owning lunar material. Lunar material is not contraband. It is not illegal to own or possess.
24. Astronaut Neil Armstrong gifted the vial of lunar dust at issue to Laura Ann
Murray, now Laura Murray Cicco, when she was a child, and she is the rightful and legal
owner of the vial and its contents.
Therefore, she requests judgment declaring her the rightful and legal owner of
the vial and its contents, and vesting title in her name.
Plaintiff demands a jury of 12 members on all issues triable to a jury.
SEIGFREID BINGHAM, PC
/s/ Christopher M. McHugh (19889)
2323 Grand Boulevard, 10th Floor
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
T: (816) 265-4148
F: (816) 474-3447
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?