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Supplee v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

May 31, 2017

UNITED STATES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [Resolving ECF Nos. 4, 15, 16, 17, 18]

          Benita Y. Pearson United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court are pro se Plaintiff's Motion to Stay the garnishment of his pension (ECF No. 4); Defendant United States' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 15) and Defendant Ohio Carpenters' Pension Fund's (“the Fund”) Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 16). Plaintiff then filed Motions to strike the Motions to Dismiss. ECF Nos. 17, 18. Interpreting Defendant's Motion to Strike (ECF No. 17) as a response, the Fund filed a Reply. ECF No. 19. Plaintiff subsequently filed a “Memorandum Contra Defendant Carpenters' Motion to Dismiss, ” ECF No. 20. The Government has not responded or replied to Plaintiff's Motion to Strike (ECF No. 18), and the time to do so has passed. For the following reasons, the Court denies Plaintiff's Motions to Stay and to Strike, and grants Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.

         I. Background

         Pro se Plaintiff Charles C. Supplee filed a Complaint against the United States and Ohio Carpenters' Pension Fund, arguing that he is not subject to federal income tax; the United States' Notice of Levy is illegal; and the United States has collected more money from Plaintiff's pension than a February 11, 2011 Notice of Levy demands. Id. at PageID #: 1-2, ¶¶ 1-3, 6-11. Plaintiff also alleges that the United States violated the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution; Defendants violated his “God-given rights of privacy, ”; and Defendants violated his “rights to be secure in his house, papers and effects.” Id. at PageID #: 1-2, 3, ¶ 1-5, 21, 22. Plaintiff also argues that Defendants violated RICO and the Hobbs Acts. Id. at PageID #: 2, ¶¶ 16-20. Plaintiff seeks treble damages “in excess of $431, 065.65, ” punitive damages of $1, 000, 000.00, and an order that the United States release any and all liens and levies against Plaintiff. Id. at PageID #: 4, ¶¶ 27-30. Plaintiff also filed a Motion to Stay the levying of taxes from Plaintiff's pension pending adjudication of this matter. ECF No. 4.

         II. Standard of Review

         Although pro se pleadings are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), “the lenient treatment generally accorded to pro se litigants has limits.” Pilgrim v. Littlefield, 92 F.3d 413, 416 (6th Cir. 1996). “Although the standard of review is liberal, it requires more than bare assertions of legal conclusions.” Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 438 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing Lillard v. Shelby Cty. Bd. of Educ., 76 F.3d 716, 726-27 (6th Cir. 1996)). A complaint must “give the defendants ‘fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Id. (quoting Lillard, 76 F.3d at 726).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) allows dismissal for “lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter” of claims asserted in the complaint. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). A motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction may involve either facial attacks or factual attacks upon a court's jurisdiction. United States v. Ritchie, 15 F.3d 592, 598 (6th Cir. 1994). “A facial attack on the subject-matter jurisdiction alleged in the complaint questions merely the sufficiency of the pleading.” Gentek Bldg. Prods., Inc. v. Sherwin-Williams Co., 491 F.3d 320, 330 (6th Cir. 2007). When resolving a facial attack, the reviewing court assumes the allegations within the complaint are true. Id. When reviewing a factual attack, no presumptive truthfulness applies, and the court must weigh the conflicting evidence to determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists. Howard v. Whitbeck, 382 F.3d 633, 636 (6th Cir. 2004). A district court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction when the allegations of a complaint are “totally implausible, attenuated, unsubstantial, frivolous, devoid of merit, or no longer open to discussion.” Apple v. Glenn, 183 F.3d 477, 479 (6th Cir. 1999) (citing Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-37 (1974)). Plaintiffs bear the burden of establishing that jurisdiction exists. Madison-Hughes v. Shalala, 80 F.3d 1121, 1130 (6th Cir. 1996). Lack of subject-matter jurisdiction is a non-waivable, fatal defect. Von Dunser v. Aronoff, 915 F.2d 1071, 1074 (6th Cir. 1990).

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff's complaint must allege enough facts to “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Ass'n of Cleveland Fire Fighters v. City of Cleveland, Ohio, 502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only that a pleading contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” However, “a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). When a claim lacks “plausibility in th[e] complaint, ” that cause of action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Twombly, U.S. 550 at 564. A court may dismiss a claim if the court finds on the face of the pleading that “there is an insurmountable bar to relief indicating that the plaintiff does not have a claim[.]” Ashiegbu v. Purviance, 76 F.Supp.2d 824, 828 (S.D. Ohio 1998), aff'd 194 F.3d 1311 (6th Cir. 1999), cert. denied, 529 U.S. 1001 (2000).

         III. Discussion

         For the following reasons, the Court denies Plaintiff's Motions to Stay and to Strike and grants Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.

         A. Plaintiff's Motions to Strike

         Plaintiff moves to strike Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. ECF Nos. 17, 18. Plaintiff argues that these proceedings are “a simulated legal process under color of law, violating my civil liberties protected by the Constitution for the [U]nited State of America-Bill of Rights, for which I demand relief.” ECF Nos. 17, 18. Plaintiff contends that Defendants and their attorneys have no legal standing in Ohio; the attorneys representing Defendants are “us[ing] a pseudonym to conceal their full legal name, which was licensed to practice law in Ohio, [and] are engaging in official misconduct and are in contempt of the [S]upreme [C]ourt”; Plaintiff is “a legal fiction; not a real party in interest to any real or personal property”; the IRS does not have authority to tax; and“[t]he ‘National Color' flying in the courtroom is a symbol of a military court, not a court created under the ‘United States Constitution' to adjudicate domestic law.” ECF Nos. 17, 18.

         In his “Memorandum Contra Defendant Carpenters' Motion to Dismiss, ” Plaintiff elaborates on his Motions to Strike, stating that “Plaintiff brought this action in an Article III court and it appears that Plaintiff's action has been moved to an Article I court without Plaintiff's approval.” ECF No. 20 at PageID #: 103. In support, Plaintiff highlights that “[t]he Caption of [his Motion to Strike] clearly states ‘district court of the United States, ' and the caption of [the Fund Defendant's Motion to Dismiss] clearly states “UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.” Id. Plaintiff explains that Title 28 distinguishes between these titles, and that a “district court of the United States” is an Article III court, and a “UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT” is an Article I court.

         Plaintiff misreads Title 28 of the United States Code. Although there are Article I courts and Article III courts, this case is in, and has always been in, an Article III court. Both the “district court of the United States” and “UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT” refer to this Article III court. Accordingly, the Court has authority over the action and all parties, and Plaintiff's arguments ...

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