United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
KENDALL J. NEWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
April 28, 2017, plaintiff Ted Darnell Daniels, who proceeds
without counsel and is incarcerated, filed a complaint along
with a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF
Nos. 1, 3.)
complaint is subject to screening in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 1915. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the
court is directed to dismiss the case at any time if it
determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue, or if
the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
against an immune defendant.
federal court also 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). Because the question of
standing is a threshold jurisdictional issue, federal courts
have a duty to examine it. D'Lil v. Best Western
Encina Lodge & Suites, 538 F.3d 1031, 1035 (9th Cir.
case, plaintiff alleges that, in the early 1800s, his
ancestors, who were members of the Kissi tribe in Africa,
were taken hostage, transported to Cuba where they were
purportedly given false Cuban documents, and ultimately
transported to the United States to work as slaves. According
to plaintiff, his ancestors suffered great cruelty, torture,
and even death. Plaintiff brings this action on behalf of his
ancestors in his capacity as executor of their estates, their
legal representative, their next to kin, their next to
friend, and a third party in interest on behalf of an absent
third party. Plaintiff asserts numerous claims under 28
U.S.C. § 1350, seeking inter alia $500, 000,
000.00 in compensatory damages and $500, 000, 000.00 in
punitive damages. Plaintiff names the following defendants:
the United States of America, the United States Department of
State, the United States Attorney General, United States
Ambassador Nicholas Phillip Trist, the Republic of Cuba, the
Republic of Cuba Governor General Ezepleta, the Republic of
Portugal, the Republic of Portugal Consul Fernandez, and the
Republic of Portugal Acting Consul Nicholas P. Trist.
(See generally ECF No. 1.)
plainly lacks standing to bring this action. 28 U.S.C. §
1350 provides that “[t]he district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a
tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a
treaty of the United States.” Here, plaintiff himself
is not an alien who has suffered a requisite violation.
Moreover, even assuming that plaintiff can properly trace his
ancestry to members of the Kissi tribe who were enslaved in
the 1800s, such ancestry does not confer standing on
plaintiff. Plaintiff's allegations that he is the
executor of his ancestors' estates and/or their legal
representative are clearly frivolous, because it is
implausible that a present-day court would have appointed
plaintiff as the executor or legal representative of the
estates of his ancestors who lived in the 1800s. To be sure,
countless numbers of individuals, possibly including
plaintiff's ancestors, suffered terribly and unjustly
under the institution of slavery in this country's
history. Nevertheless, plaintiff's alleged ancestry does
not confer him with standing to prosecute claims on behalf of
his distant ancestors.
this action is subject to dismissal for lack of standing.
Ordinarily, the court liberally grants parties, especially
pro se litigants, leave to amend if it appears
possible that pleading defects could be cured. However, in
light of the nature of the allegations and claims at issue
here, the court concludes that granting leave to amend would
be futile. See Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80
F.3d 336, 339 (9th Cir. 1996).
IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that:
action be DISMISSED for lack of standing.
motion to proceed in forma pauperis in this court
(ECF No. 3) be DENIED AS MOOT.
Clerk of Court be directed to close this case.
light of those recommendations, IT IS ALSO HEREBY ORDERED
that all pleading, discovery, and motion practice in this
action are STAYED pending resolution of the findings and
recommendations. With the exception of objections to the
findings and recommendations and non-frivolous motions for
emergency relief, the court will not entertain or respond to
any motions or filings until the findings and recommendations
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 ...