Phan v. US. District Court of Massachusetts
Judge Indira Talwani: ORDER entered. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. This action is DISMISSED FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION.(PSSA, 3)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
DISTRICT COURT MASS,
Civil Action No. 17-cv-10827-IT
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
November 6, 2017
Plaintiff Khanh Phan has filed a pro se Complaint [#1] against the “District Court Mass.”
For the reasons set forth below, this action is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction.
Phan asserts that the action concerns violations of unspecified federal statutes by the
“District Court Mass.” He alleges without elaboration the following misconduct and injuries:
pain and suffering; being held in violation of his rights; discrimination; being deprived of equal
rights; and, suffering from health issues, panic attacks, an emotional breakdown, and loss of
dignity. Phan seeks $10 million in damages. He did not pay the $400 filing fee or seek leave to
proceed in forma pauperis.
A court has an obligation to inquire sua sponte into its own jurisdiction. See United
States v. Univ. of Mass., Worcester, 812 F.3d 35, 44 (1st Cir. 2016). “Federal courts are courts of
limited jurisdiction” and “[t]hey cannot act in the absence of subject matter jurisdiction.” Id.
“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).
Here, the court lacks jurisdiction over this action. The court understands Phan’s suit to be
against the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, a court within the
judicial branch of the United States. The United States (including its various branches,
departments, and agencies) enjoys immunity from suit except in those instances in which it has
expressly consented to be sued. See FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994). A waiver of
sovereign immunity must be expressly stated and cannot be implied. See Lane v. Pena, 518 U.S.
187, 192 (1996). Sovereign immunity is jurisdictional. See FDIC, 510 U.S. at 475.
Whatever the factual bases of his claims may be, Phan’s claims for violations of his
federal rights are not ones where immunity has been waived. See, e.g., Gregory v. U.S./U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for Dist. of Colorado, 942 F.2d 1498, 1499-500 (10th Cir. 1991) (affirming
dismissal of claims against federal courts based on sovereign immunity); Atchison v. U.S.
District Courts, 190 F. Supp. 3d 78, 89 (D.D.C. 2016) (dismissing claims against federal courts
based on sovereign immunity); Smith v. Krieger, 643 F. Supp. 2d 1274, 1290-93 (D. Colo. 2009)
(same), aff’d, 389 Fed. Appx. 789, 795 (10th Cir. 2010); Daley v. U.S. Dist. Ct. Dist. of
Delaware, 629 F. Supp. 2d 357, 359 (D. Del. 2009) (same); cf. McCloskey v. Mueller, 446 F.3d
262, 272 (1st Cir. 2006) (stating that the availability of claims against federal officials in their
individual capacities “does not override bedrock principles of sovereign immunity so as to
permit suits against the United States, its agencies, or federal officers sued in their official
To the extent that Phan intended to assert a claim against the judge who presided in the
court proceedings at issue, it is well settled that judges have absolute immunity from a claim for
damages arising out of their judicial actions. Mireless v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 12 (1991).
For the foregoing reasons, this action is DISMISSED FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Indira Talwani
United States District Judge
November 6, 2017
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