Disciples Road, The v. Hiivala et al
ORDER granting 12 Motion to Dismiss; granting 14 Motion to Dismiss (Written Opinion) Signed by Senior Judge David S. Doty on 11/17/2017. (DLO) cc: Disciples Road, The, c/o Terry Halonen. Modified on 11/17/2017 (lmb).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Civil No. 17-4114(DSD/DTS)
The Disciples Road,
Robert Hiivala, Wright County Auditor,
Mark Dayton, Governor, State of
Minnesota, Joe Haggerty, Wright
Terry Halonen, 14263 85th Street Southwest, Cokato, Minnesota,
55321, plaintiff pro se.
Greg T. Kryzer, Wright County Attorney’s Office, Wright County
Government Center, 10 2nd Street NW, Room 400, Buffalo, MN
55313 and Eric V. Brown, Minnesota Attorney General’s Office,
Suite 1100, 445 Minnesota St, St. Paul, MN 55101, counsel for
This matter is before the court upon the motions to dismiss by
defendants Robert Hiivala, Wright County Auditor; Joe Haggerty,
Wright County Sheriff; and Mark Dayton, Governor of the State of
Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings
herein, and for the following reasons, the motions are granted.
Plaintiff The Disciples Road claims that defendants have
trespassed on its land in Wright County, Minnesota.
The land in
question appears to have been forfeited following the non-payment
Compl. ¶¶ 10-11.
On September 1, 2017, plaintiff filed
this suit under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 2201 seeking a declaration
that it owns the property at issue free of any encumbrance.
Defendants promptly moved to dismiss arguing, among other things,
that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case
because plaintiff has failed to allege any violations of the
Constitution or federal law.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (“The district
courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
The court agrees that dismissal is proper under the
As an initial matter, plaintiff is not represented by counsel.
Plaintiff is a religious ministry purportedly represented by nonlawyer Terry Halonen. But Halonen is without authority to speak on
behalf of another person or entity in this court.2
See Jones ex
rel. Jones v. Corr. Med. Servs., Inc., 401 F.3d 950, 952 (8th Cir.
2005) (“[A] ... non-attorney may not engage in the practice of law
on behalf of others.”); Knoefler v. United Bank of Bismarck, 20
F.3d 347, 348 (8th Cir. 1994) (“A nonlawyer ... has no right to
represent another entity ... in a court of the United States.”);
see also 28 U.S.C. § 1654 (“In all courts of the United States the
parties may plead and conduct their own cases personally or by
In response to the motions, plaintiff initially moved to
voluntarily withdraw the action so that it may proceed in state
ECF No. 21.
Plaintiff has now withdrawn that motion,
asserting that the court has jurisdiction under the Declaratory
Judgment Act. ECF No. 22.
Halonen is not a named plaintiff in this matter and has not
asserted any claims on his own behalf. See Compl.
permitted to manage and conduct causes therein.”). For this reason
alone, the court must dismiss the complaint.
In addition, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The
complaint predicates jurisdiction on the Declaratory Judgment Act
provide an independent basis for federal jurisdiction.”
Nelson, 601 F.3d 842, 850 (8th Cir. 2010) (citation and quotation
marks omitted); see also Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 70
n.19 (2009) (“[T]he Declaratory Judgment Act does not enlarge the
jurisdiction of the federal courts; it is procedural only.”)
(citation and quotation marks omitted); Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co.
v. Acute Care Chiropractic Clinic P.A., 88 F. Supp. 3d 985, 1015
Declaratory Judgment Act is a procedural, not a jurisdictional,
Plaintiff must do more than simply cite to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331; the complaint must actually present a federal question in
order to invoke the court’s jurisdiction. See Stanturf v. Sipes,
335 F.2d 224, 229 (8th Cir. 1964) (citation and quotation marks
omitted) (“[T]he mere assertion of a constitutional right does not
confer federal jurisdiction; ... a federal question must exist not
in mere form but in substance, and not in mere assertion, but in
essence and effect.”).
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
The motions to dismiss [ECF No. 12, 14] are granted; and
The case is dismissed without prejudice.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
Dated: November 17, 2017
s/David S. Doty
David S. Doty, Judge
United States District Court
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