EL v. RICHARDS et al
ORDER Dismissing Miscellaneous Case Without Prejudice. Signed by District Judge Sean F. Cox. (JMcC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Misc. Case No. 14-50661
William J. Richards, et al.,
Sean F. Cox
United States District Court Judge
ORDER DISMISSING THIS
MISCELLANEOUS CASE WITHOUT PREJUDICE
This miscellaneous case has an unusual history. On May 28, 2014, the United States
District Court for the District of Columbia issued a “Transfer Order” (Docket Entry No. 2) that
transferred to this Court a “Letter Rogatory” filed by Melkiyah El in that court.
This miscellaneous case was then opened and assigned to the Honorable Lawrence P.
Zatkoff on May 28, 2014. For reasons unknown, no action was taken on the matter for some
time. Judge Zatkoff then passed away in January of 2015.
One of the listed respondents recently inquired about the status of this matter. Thereafter,
because I succeeded Judge Zatkoff, this miscellaneous action was reassigned to me.
Given this history, I have given this matter expedited consideration.
Notably, Melkiyah El’s submission is signed only by Melkiyah El and acknowledges that
Melkiyah El is not an attorney. Nevertheless, Melkiyah El purports to file the “Letter Rogatory”
on behalf of others who did not sign the submission, Michelle Renee Hart and/or Michelle Renee
Thornton. The “Letter Rogatory” asks the Court to order the Oakland County Sheriff and others
to produce certain documents relating to the foreclosure of a home owned by Michelle Renee
Hart and/or Michelle Renee Thornton.
This is not the first time that Melkiyah El has purported to file a “Letter Rogatory” on
behalf of others. See Bey v. Youngblood, 2014 WL 4965956 (E.D. Mich. 2014). As explained in
“‘[A] letter rogatory is the request by a domestic court to a foreign court to take
evidence from a certain witness.’” Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.,
542 U.S. 241, 248 n.1, 124 S.Ct. 3466, 159 L.Ed.2d 355 (2004) (quoting Jones,
International Judicial Assistance: Procedural Chaos and a Program for Reform,
62 Yale L.J. 515, 519 (1953)). For the first time in 1855, Congress provided
federal courts with the power to assist foreign tribunals in gathering evidence,
with the request for federal-court aid taking the form of “letters rogatory
forwarded through diplomatic channels.” Id. In 1948, Congress passed
legislation, now codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1782, that “substantially broadened the
scope of assistance federal courts could provide for foreign proceedings.” Id. at
Section 1782 does not permit this Court to compel the Wayne County Register of
Deeds or the Wayne County Clerk to produce the documents that Melkiyah El
seeks. There are a number of requirements that must be satisfied for a court to
compel the production of evidence under § 1782. Dispositive here is that the
testimony or documents be “for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international
tribunal, including criminal investigations conducted before formal accusation.”
28 U.S.C. § 1782 . . . Melkiyah El has not identified any “foreign or international
tribunal” in which the information he seeks from Youngblood and Garrett will be
used. (See generally Dkt. 1.). Accordingly, this Court cannot grant Melkiyah El
the relief he seeks and will grant Youngblood and Garrett’s motion to quash
Melkiyah El’s letter rogatory.
Id. at * 1. In addition, the district court noted that dismissal was also proper because Melkiyah
El is not an attorney but was nevertheless seeking to act on behalf of others. Id. at *2.
As in that case, Melkiyah El has not identified any foreign or international tribunal in
which the information he seeks from respondents in this miscellaneous case will be used. In
addition, Melkiyah El is improperly seeking to represent others in federal court although he is
not an attorney.
Accordingly, the Court hereby DISMISSES this miscellaneous case without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: August 1, 2017
s/Sean F. Cox
Sean F. Cox
U. S. District Judge
I hereby certify that on August 1, 2017, the foregoing document was served on counsel of record
via electronic means and upon Melkyah El via First Class mail at the address below:
c/o 27685 Sutherland
Southfield, MI 48076-9998
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