Hack v. Commonwealth of Kentucky et al
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION by Chief Judge Thomas B. Russell on 5/4/2011: an appropriate order shall issuecc:counsel (KJA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:11CV-P61-R
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY et al.
Petitioner Jonathan Hack, pro se, initiated this action by filing a petition for writ of
mandamus, in which he requests the Court to order Respondents Commonwealth of Kentucky,
Elliott Circuit Court, and the Kentucky Supreme Court to act upon an appeal he filed in the
Kentucky Supreme Court. Hack states that he filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment which
was denied by the Elliott Circuit Court. He appealed the ruling to the Kentucky Supreme Court,
but the Kentucky Supreme Court had not ruled on his appeal.1
It is axiomatic that federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. “As courts of
limited jurisdiction, federal courts may exercise only those powers authorized by the
Constitution and statute.” Fisher v. Peters, 249 F.3d 433, 444 (6th Cir. 2001). “If the court
determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
action.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).
Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(b), the writ of mandamus has been abolished. “Relief
previously available through [writs of mandamus] may be obtained by appropriate action or
motion under these rules.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(b). “[U]nder 28 U.S.C. § 1651 (All Writs Statute)
federal courts may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions,
The Court notes that it received notice from the Clerk of the Kentucky Supreme Court
that the Kentucky Supreme Court entered an order denying discretionary review in Hack’s
appeal on April 13, 2011.
including writs in the nature of mandamus.” See Haggard v. State of Tennessee, 421 F.2d 1384,
1385 (6th Cir. 1970). However, “[i]t is settled that a federal court has no general jurisdiction to
issue writs of mandamus where that is the only relief sought.” Id. at 1386. Such is the case here.
Plaintiff seeks only mandamus relief. “In the absence of special statutory authority[, a federal
court] can issue writs of mandamus only as ancillary to and in aid of jurisdiction otherwise
vested in it.” Id. While 28 U.S.C. § 1361 gives the district courts “original jurisdiction of any
action in the nature of mandamus to compel an officer or employee of the United States or any
agency thereof to perform a duty owed to the plaintiff” (emphasis added), Plaintiff asks this
Court to compel the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Elliott Circuit Court, and the Kentucky
Supreme Court to perform an act. These are Kentucky state entities and not officers, employees,
or agencies of the United States.
As Petitioner failed to demonstrate this Court’s subject-matter jurisdiction, the instant
action will be dismissed by separate Order.
May 4, 2011
Petitioner, pro se
Attorney General, Commonwealth of Kentucky
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