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Anthony Victor Guancione, Iii v. John G. Stumpf

September 16, 2011



On May 6, 2010, plaintiff presented a voluminous document for filing in this court. Plaintiff's 107-page document was liberally construed as a complaint, and this civil case was opened. Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, paid the required filing fee. The Clerk issued new case documents and issued summons. The case has been referred to the undersigned pursuant to Local Rule 302(c)(21) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).


The court turns first to the issue of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is a threshold inquiry that must precede the adjudication of any case before the district court. Morongo Band of Mission Indians v. Cal. State Bd. of Equalization, 858 F.2d 1376, 1380 (9th Cir. 1988). The district court "ha[s] an independent obligation to address sua sponte whether [it] has subject-matter jurisdiction," Dittman v. California, 191 F.3d 1020, 1025 (9th Cir. 1999), and it is the obligation of the district court "to be alert to jurisdictional requirements," Grupo Dataflux v. Atlas Global Group, L.P., 541 U.S. 567, 593 (2004). Without jurisdiction, the district court cannot decide the merits of a case or order any relief. See Morongo, 858 F.2d at 1380.

"Federal courts are presumed to lack jurisdiction, 'unless the contrary appears affirmatively from the record.'" Casey v. Lewis, 4 F.3d 1516, 1519 (9th Cir. 1993) (quoting Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 546 (1986)). The presumed lack of jurisdiction is necessary because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and may adjudicate only those cases authorized by federal law. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); Willy v. Coastal Corp., 503 U.S. 131, 136-37 (1992). The burden of establishing the court's jurisdiction rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction. Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377. Lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised by the court at any time. Attorneys Trust v. Videotape Computer Prods., Inc., 93 F.3d 593, 594-95 (9th Cir. 1996).

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which "govern the procedure in all civil actions and proceedings in the United States district courts," provide that "[a] civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court." Fed. R. Civ. P. 1 & 3. The minimum requirements for a civil complaint filed in a federal district court are set forth in Rule 8:

A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction . . . ;

(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and

(3) a demand for the relief sought . . . .

Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). To state a claim for relief, the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

The basic federal jurisdiction statutes are 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332, which confer "federal question" and "diversity" jurisdiction, respectively. Federal jurisdiction may also be conferred by federal statutes regulating specific subject matter. Unless the complaint presents a plausible assertion of a substantial federal right, the federal court will not have federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 682 (1945).

Here, the 107-page document filed as a complaint on May 7, 2010 does not meet any of the requirements of Rule 8(a). It is evident from the size of the document that it is not "short," and scrutiny of the document reveals that it is not plain. The document is comprised of materials that resemble legal documents but bear eccentric titles, odd party descriptions, and incomprehensible contents. For example, page 36 is the first page of a document that purports to be a "Petition for Agreement and Harmony within the admiralty in the Nature of a Notice of International Commercial Claim in Admiralty Administrative Remedy First Notice of Demand and Settlement for the Closing of the Escrow." (Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 36*fn1 (emphasis omitted).) There, plaintiff describes himself variously as secured party, "libellant," and creditor secured party. His address is a post office box number "c/o R.A. Guancione, Notary Acceptor." He lists as "libellees" various banks and bank personnel, and the page ends with the assertion that "Libellee is additionally subject to postal statutes and the jurisdiction of the Universal Postal Union."

Plaintiff's materials bear no apparent relationship to the nature of suit -- "Securities/Commodities/Exchange" -- or the causes of action -- "Title 18 USC Sec. 472, 473, 474, RICO, Const. and Amendments, Civil Rights, RESPA, TILA, REG Z -- identified on the Civil Cover Sheet appended to plaintiff's 107-page pleading. The complaint contains no short and plain statement of the grounds for this court's jurisdiction, no short and plain statement of claims showing that plaintiff is entitled to relief in a federal district court, and no proper demand for relief.*fn2

The court finds, however, that plaintiff did not intend to comply with the requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The first page of plaintiff's filing is a letter addressed "To Whom It May Concern." In this letter plaintiff describes himself as "Ambassador HI&RH Anthony Victor Guancione III c/o G.A. Rinella, Notary Acceptor" and states that "[t]he following attached documents are to be filed into a Miscellaneous Case for Registration of a Foreign Judgment." (Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 1.) In a letter subsequently filed with the court by plaintiff on June 7, 2010, plaintiff complains that he sent the court "a Final Judgment by a STATE OF CALIFORNIA commissioned Notary Public and a finding of fact by a 3 judge Tribunal . . . to certify and submit these foreign judgments into a Miscellaneous file in US District ...

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