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Ou-Young v. Roberts

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 20, 2013

KUANG-BAO P. OU-YOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN G. ROBERTS, JR., et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING UNITED STATES' MOTION TO DISMISS AND DECLARING PLAINTIFF A VEXATIOUS LITIGANT (Docket Nos. 24, 28, 38)

EDWARD M. CHEN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kuang-Bao P. Ou-Young ("Plaintiff") filed the current action against various federal judicial officers, federal prosecutors, and federal court personnel ("Defendants") alleging violations of federal criminal statutes, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b), 18 U.S.C. § 1512 (c), and 18 U.S.C. § 371, and the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), codified at 28 U.S.C. § 2671 et seq., seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, declaratory, and other miscellaneous relief. Now pending before this Court are two motions brought by the United States, who is specially appearing on behalf of Defendants: (1) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint ("FAC") (Docket No. 24); and (2) Motion to Declare Plaintiff a Vexatious Litigant (Docket No. 28).

Having considered the parties' moving and response papers, the Court hereby GRANTS both motions. Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7-1(b), the Court concludes that these motions are appropriate for determination without oral argument.[1]

I. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Over the course of a few years, Plaintiff has filed five lawsuits, and initiated transactionally-related misconduct proceedings, which are summarized as follows:

(1) Ou-Young v. Potter , No. C10-0464 RS (N.D. Cal. Feb. 2, 2010) (" Ou-Young I "). Plaintiff sued the United States Postal Service (the "USPS"), alleging employment discrimination. See Docket No. 28-1 (Declaration of Claire T. Cormier, or "Cormier Decl., " Ex. 1) (Compl.).[2] The Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint, with prejudice, as to some but not all of Plaintiff's claims. Cormier Decl., Ex. 1 (Docket No. 29). Subsequently, the Court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and entered judgment in favor of defendants. Id. (Docket Nos. 42, 51, 53-54). Plaintiff appealed and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Id. (Docket Nos. 55, 63). Plaintiff's petition for rehearing en banc was denied, see id. (Docket No. 64), as was his petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, see id. (Docket Nos. 66-68).
(2) Misconduct proceedings arising out of Ou-Young I. On July 17, 2011, Plaintiff filed a misconduct complaint against Judge Seeborg based on his summary judgment ruling. Cormier Decl., Ex. 9 (Complaint in Ou-Young IV, at ¶ 16). The Ninth Circuit dismissed the judicial misconduct complaint. Id. at ¶ 17. Plaintiff then petitioned the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council for review of the dismissal of the misconduct complaint. Id. at ¶ 18. The Ninth Circuit Judicial Council denied this petition unanimously. Id. at ¶ 19. Based on these denials, Plaintiff filed a misconduct complaint against the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council and Judge Seeborg. Id. at ¶ 20. This misconduct complaint was dismissed by Judge Pregerson. Id. at ¶ 24. Following this denial, Plaintiff petitioned the United States Judicial Conference for review of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council's denial of his petition for review. Id. at ¶ 25. Plaintiff requested that the United States Judicial Conference suspend relevant rules due to the unanimity of the denial of his petition for review. Id. Plaintiff then filed a misconduct complaint against the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council and Judges Pregerson and Seeborg based on Judge Pregerson's dismissal of the misconduct complaint. Id. at ¶ 26. The Office of the General Counsel of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts notified Plaintiff of its refusal to forward his petition for review to the United States Judicial Conference. Id. at ¶ 32. Judge Reinhardt dismissed the misconduct complaint against the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council and Judges Pregerson and Seeborg. Id. at ¶ 37.
(3) Ou-Young v. Vasquez , No. C12-02789 LHK (N.D. Cal. May 31, 2012) (" Ou-Young II "). Plaintiff sued his co-workers and supervisors based on the same factual allegations of Ou-Young I. Cormier Decl., Ex. 3 (Docket No. 1, at ¶¶ 9-12). Plaintiff also filed an administrative motion to disqualify Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd as the referral judge. Id. (Docket No. 16). The defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Id. (Docket No. 20). Plaintiff responded by filing a motion for sanctions, opposing the motion to dismiss, and moving for summary judgment. Id. (Docket Nos. 23-24). Jude Koh denied Plaintiff's motions to disqualify Magistrate Judge Lloyd, his motion for sanctions, and his motion for summary judgment and granted the defendants' motion to dismiss. Cormier Decl., Ex. 4. Plaintiff filed administrative motions to disqualify Judge Koh and Judge Lloyd; both motions were denied by Judge Koh. Cormier Decl., Ex. 3 (Docket Nos. 30, 31, 32). Plaintiff moved for summary judgment again on December 5, 2012, and moved to vacate the order granting the defendants' motion to dismiss, moved for sanctions, and moved again to disqualify Judge Koh and Magistrate Judge Lloyd. Id. (Docket Nos. 33-39). Plaintiff's motions were denied. Id. (Docket No. 48).
(4) Ou-Young v. Rea , No. C13-03118 PSG (N.D. Cal. July 5, 2013) (" Ou-Young III "). Plaintiff filed his third case in this District on July 5, 2013. Cormier Decl., Ex. 6 (Docket No. 1, at ¶¶ 1-2). There, Plaintiff sued employees of the United States Patent and Trademark Office because they rejected his patent application for "High Volume Dripping Hoses." The defendants moved to dismiss. Cormier Decl., Ex. 6 (Docket No. 7). Plaintiff also moved for summary judgment. Id. (Docket No. 12). Though he had previously consented to the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge, on October 10, 2013, Plaintiff moved to disqualify Magistrate Judge Grewal. Cormier Decl., Ex. 6 (Docket Nos. 4, 20). The court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss with prejudice and denied Plaintiff's motions to disqualify Magistrate Judge Grewal and for summary judgment. Id. (Docket No. 22).
(5) Ou-Young v. Roberts , No. C13-03676 SI (N.D. Cal. Aug. 7, 2013) (" Ou-Young IV "). On August 7, 2013 Plaintiff filed his fourth case in this District. Cormier Decl., Ex. 9. There, Plaintiff sued Chief Justice Roberts, Attorney General Holder, Solicitor General Verrilli, Supreme Court Clerk Suter, and two other Supreme Court employees based on their involvement in the appeal of Ou-Young I. Id. (Compl., at ¶¶ 7-12). The defendants moved to dismiss. Cormier Decl. Ex. 8 (Docket Nos. 11-12). Plaintiff moved for summary judgment. Id. (Docket No. 16). Judge Illston granted Defendants' motion to dismiss and denied as moot Plaintiff's summary judgment motion. Id. (Docket No. 26).
(6) Ou-Young v. Roberts , No. C13-4442 EMC (N.D. Cal. Sept. 25, 2013) (" Ou-Young V "). On September 25, 2013, Plaintiff brought the current action, asserting 80 claims (and has since amended to add three additional claims), against various defendants, including Chief Justice Roberts of the United States Supreme Court, for his "responsibility for supervising the lower courts, " see FAC ¶ 126; Chief Judge Claudia Wilken for the Northern District of California, for her responsibility stemming from claims asserted against defendant Martha P. Brown, courtroom deputy to Judge Koh, and defendant Tiffany Salinas-Harwell, docketing clerk to Judge Seeborg, all of whom are also defendants, see FAC ¶ 124; the United States Attorney General Eric Holder, for claims against the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, Melinda Haag, and one of her Assistant United States Attorneys, James Scharf, both of whom represented the USPS in Ou-Young I, see FAC ¶ 125.

On October 10, 2013, the current action was assigned to undersigned judge. The United States moved to relate the current action ( Ou-Young V ) with Ou-Young IV. However, the cases were not related. Docket No. 21.

The United States moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint. Docket No. 24. Though not a named party, the United States is appearing specially appearing on behalf of the "Federal Defendants" - i.e., "all defendants affiliated with the federal government, including Chief Justice Roberts, Attorney General Holder, Chief District Judge Wilken, District Judge Koh, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lloyd, Deputy Clerks of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Brown and Salinas-Harwell, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Haag, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scharf." Upon the United States's motion, this Court extended time for Defendants' response to Plaintiff's complaint and vacated the initial case management conference. Docket No. 26. The United States also moved to declare Plaintiff a vexatious litigant (Docket No. 28).

The United States requests amicus curiae status to specially appear on behalf of Defendants, federal judicial officers, prosecutors, and court personnel. Plaintiff opposes and contends that as an unnamed third party, the United States lacks standing to appear or make any motions. The Court finds that the United States may specially appear in this action as an amicus curiae. Woodfin Suite Hotels, LLC v. City of Emeryville, No. C06-1254 SBA, 2007 WL 81911, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 9, 2007) (explaining that, in general, courts have "exercised great liberality" in deciding whether to grant amicus curiae status, quoting In re Roxford Foods Litigation, 790 F.Supp. 987, 997 (E.D. Cal.1991). Additionally, the United States may appear on statutory grounds. See 28 U.S.C. § 517. See e.g., Hollander v. Ranbaxy Laboratories Inc., 804 F.Supp.2d 344, 352 (E.D. Pa. 2011) ("United States has a right to appear in any action in which it has an interest"). In short, Plaintiff's action threatens the United States' interest in the orderly administration of justice by hailing into court federal prosecutors, judges, and court personnel for alleged acts or omissions arising out of the execution of their official duties. Courts in this circuit have also entertained motions to dismiss brought by amicus curiae. See e.g., League of Women Voters of California v. F.C.C., 489 F.Supp. 517, 518 (C.D. Cal. 1980) (rejecting plaintiff's "motion to disallow filing of motion to dismiss" and ruling on United States Senate's motion to dismiss, where that party appeared as amicus curiae); Boustred v. Gov't and Cnty. of Santa Cruz, No. C-08-00546 RMW, 2008 WL 3842592, *1 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 14, 2008) (granting motion to dismiss filed by United States brought on behalf of itself, and, as amicus curiae, on behalf of "Federal Defendants"). In any event, the Court finds the issue of standing moot, as the grounds for dismissal in this action may be raised by the Court sua sponte. See e.g., See Diaz-Covarrubias v. Mukasey, 551 F.3d 1114, 1117 (9th Cir. 2009) (federal courts have the authority and duty to decide whether jurisdiction is proper); Omar v. Sea-Land Service, Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991 (9th Cir. 1987) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of employer's counterclaim under Jones Act against employee where facts demonstrate the plaintiff "cannot possibly win relief.").

Currently before this Court are two of United States' motions: (1) Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 24); and (2) Motion to Declare Plaintiff a Vexatious Litigant (Docket No. 28). While these motions were pending, Plaintiff moved to disqualify the undersigned judge for the Court's ruling on the motion to relate cases. Docket No. 30. The Court denied this request. Docket No. 33. Plaintiff renewed this motion, see Docket No. 35, which this Court again denied, see Docket No. 37.[3]

II. DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Dismiss

In this action, Plaintiff sues federal judges, federal prosecutors, and federal court personnel under (1) federal criminal statutes (claims 1-80), and (2) the FTCA (claims 81-83). The United States moves to dismiss all claims on behalf of Defendants pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6).[4]

1. Legal Standard

Under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party may raise the defense by motion that the court lacks "jurisdiction over the subject matter" of a claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). In such a motion, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the court's subject matter jurisdiction. "A federal court is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears." Stock West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). "Sovereign immunity is jurisdictional in nature." F.D.I.C. v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994). The United States, as a sovereign, is immune from suit, unless it consents. U.S. v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535, 538 (1980). Accordingly, "[a]bsent a waiver, sovereign immunity shields the Federal Government and its agencies from suit." Id. at 475.

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss based on the failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). While "a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations... it must plead enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Cousins v. Lockyer, 568 F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th Cir. 2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); see also Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007). "The ...


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