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Martin Reiffin v. Beverly Hoey

January 1, 2012

MARTIN REIFFIN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BEVERLY HOEY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Howard R. Lloyd United States Magistrate Judge

** E-filed January 3, 2012 **

NOT FOR CITATION

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION AND DENYING ALL OTHER PENDING MOTIONS [Re: Docket Nos. 11, 24, 35, 41]

Martin Reiffin sues Beverly Hoey, alleging that she "misrepresented" United States Patent 17 Laws and "committed fraud on the court." Dkt. No. 16 ("First Amended Complaint" or "FAC"). In 18 June 2006, Reiffin, a patent attorney, retained Hoey, a trusts and estate-planning attorney, to prepare 19 a "trust agreement for plaintiff's family," and the parties agreed on a total fee of $4,500, half of 20 which Reiffin paid up front. FAC ¶ 7. Some time later, but before completing her work on the trust 21 agreement, Hoey learned that Reiffin had a patent infringement suit against Microsoft which- 22 apparently-had been or was about to be settled. Id. ¶ 11. Reiffin alleges that Hoey at that point 23 went beyond the scope of their original contract and included in the agreement unnecessary 24 provisions intended to shield the trust funds from any attempt by the IRS to collect taxes on that 25 settlement agreement before Microsoft tendered payment. Id. ¶ 10. For the additional work of 26 developing those provisions, Hoey allegedly charged plaintiff $32,389.80. 27

Plaintiff's first clam for relief, ineptly pleaded, is for fraud and/or for breach of contract. The 28 second claim, "fraud on the court," alleges that defendant, in her argument supporting her motion to dismiss the original complaint, "misrepresented" facts to this court. This court sees not even a 2 suggestion there of an actual claim for relief. 3

4 subject matter jurisdiction. Dkt. No. 6. She also moved for sanctions, claiming plaintiff made "false 5 and frivolous allegations" in his complaint in violation of FED. R. CIV. P. 11(b). Dkt. No. 11.

Shortly thereafter, plaintiff timely filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC"). Dkt. No. 16.

No. 29. Reiffin subsequently moved (1) for judgment under "FED. R. CIV. P. 8(b)," and (2) to convert Hoey's motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment. See Dkt. Nos. 35, 41. 10

parties have consented to the undersigned's jurisdiction. After consideration of the moving papers and responses and the parties' arguments at hearing, the court grants the motion to dismiss for lack 13 of subject-matter jurisdiction and denies all other pending motions.

DISCUSSION

I. DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

A party may raise a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction by motion prior to filing an answer to 17 a complaint. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(1). If the court determines that it does not have subject-matter 18 jurisdiction, it must dismiss the claim. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(h)(3). A lack of jurisdiction is presumed 19 unless the party asserting jurisdiction establishes that it exists. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. 20 of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The court assumes the allegations of the complaint (together with 21 documents attached to the complaint) to be true and draws all inferences in plaintiff's favor. See 22

Wolfe v. Strankman, 392 F.3d 358, 362 (9th Cir. 2004). Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the 23 court liberally construes his complaint. Id. 24

Federal courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions "arising under the Constitution, 25 laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. A claim "arises under" federal law if, 26 based on the "well-pleaded complaint rule," the plaintiff alleges a federal cause of action. Vaden v. Discovery Bank, 129 S. Ct. 1262, 1272 (2009). Defenses and counterclaims asserting a federal ...


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