United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
KENDALL J. NEWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Steven Caruso, proceeding without counsel, initially
commenced this action on December 9, 2016, and paid the
filing fee. (ECF No. 1.) Thereafter, on December 27, 2016,
plaintiff filed the operative first amended complaint. (ECF
No. 4.) The court's record shows that a summons based on
the first amended complaint was issued and served on
plaintiff by mail on December 28, 2016. (ECF No. 5.) There
have been no subsequent filings in the case.
first amended complaint, plaintiff names as defendants the
United States of America, the United States Department of
Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Health,
the National Science Foundation, the Federal Communications
Commission, and the National Human Genome Research Institute,
along with Doe defendants. (ECF No. 4.) According to
plaintiff, various federal actors (including employees and
grant awardees) have illegally consented to the use of
plaintiff's person and body for medical research and
behavioral science experiments, labeling plaintiff as a
“U.S. government experimental subject.”
(Id.) The complaint is replete with allegations of
artificial intelligence, electronic monitoring, biological
trade secrets, social engineering, and physical/psychological
proof of service was filed in the record, and no defendant
has yet appeared in the action. As such, it seems quite
likely that plaintiff never properly served defendants with
process. Additionally, plaintiff failed to file a status
report prior to the status conference as ordered. (ECF No.
3.) However, plaintiff appeared at the status conference and
responded to the court's questioning.
only defects in plaintiff's case had been his failure to
complete service of process and failure to file a status
report prior to the status conference, the court would have
been strongly inclined, in light of plaintiff's pro
se status, to provide plaintiff with an opportunity to
cure such defects. Nevertheless, after carefully reviewing
the allegations of plaintiff's first amended complaint,
the court concludes that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction
over the action under the substantiality doctrine.
federal court has an independent duty to assess whether
federal subject matter jurisdiction exists, whether or not
the parties raise the issue. See United Investors Life
Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967
(9th Cir. 2004) (stating that “the district court had a
duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over the
removed action sua sponte, whether the parties
raised the issue or not”); accord Rains v.
Criterion Sys., Inc., 80 F.3d 339, 342 (9th Cir. 1996).
The court must sua sponte dismiss the case if, at
any time, it determines that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
the substantiality doctrine, the district court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction when the question presented is too
insubstantial to consider.” Cook v. Peter Kiewit
Sons Co., 775 F.2d 1030, 1035 (9th Cir. 1985) (citing
Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-39 (1974)).
“The claim must be ‘so insubstantial,
implausible, foreclosed by prior decisions of this Court or
otherwise completely devoid of merit as not to involve a
federal controversy within the jurisdiction of the District
Court, whatever may be the ultimate resolution of the federal
issues on the merits.'” Id. (quoting
Oneida Indian Nation v. County of Oneida, 414 U.S.
661, 666 (1974)); see also Apple v. Glenn, 183 F.3d
477, 479 (6th Cir. 1999) (“a district court may, at any
time, sua sponte dismiss a complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when the allegations of a
complaint are totally implausible, attenuated, unsubstantial,
frivolous, devoid of merit, or no longer open to
court finds that the allegations of plaintiff's first
amended complaint, as outlined above, are implausible, devoid
of merit, and unsubstantial. At the hearing, the court,
especially in light of plaintiff's pro se
status, questioned plaintiff regarding the nature of his
claims and provided plaintiff with a further opportunity to
better articulate them. However, plaintiff simply made
additional implausible allegations regarding being a computer
science experimental subject and the focus of a large
conspiracy involving attorneys, pharmaceutical companies, and
faculty from various academic institutions in Humboldt
County. Therefore, the court concludes that this action
should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to the substantiality doctrine.
IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that:
1. The action be dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction pursuant to the substantiality doctrine.
2. The Clerk of Court be directed to close this case.
findings and recommendations are submitted to the United
States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Within fourteen
(14) days after being served with these findings and
recommendations, any party may file written objections with
the court and serve a copy on all parties. Such a document
should be captioned “Objections to Magistrate
Judge's Findings and Recommendations.” Any reply to
the objections shall be served on all parties and filed with
the court within fourteen (14) days after service of the
objections. The parties are advised that failure to file
objections within the specified time may waive the right to
appeal the District Court's order. Turner v.
Duncan, 158 F.3d 449, 455 (9th Cir. 1998); Martinez
v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153, 1156-57 (9th Cir. 1991).