United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a document filed by the Plaintiff in this action
on November 28, 2017, titled “Reopen.” (Doc. No.
11.) The Court construes the document as a motion to reopen
the case following a Rule 41 voluntary dismissal. As set
forth herein, the motion to reopen is DENIED
on the basis of futility, as the Court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims.
case was dismissed and judgment was entered on June 26, 2017
(Doc. Nos. 9, 10), as a result of the Plaintiff's having
filed a Motion to Withdraw Case (Doc. No. 8), which the Court
construes as motion for voluntary dismissal under Rule 41 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Because the opposing
party-the President of the United States-had not yet entered
an appearance, Plaintiff did not need to seek leave of Court
to voluntarily dismiss. Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1)A)(i).
January 23, 2018, almost seven months after entry of judgment
and two months after filing his motion to reopen, the
Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal-along with the $505.00
appellate filing fee- giving notice of his intent to appeal
the June 26, 2017 dismissal of his case. (Doc. No. 12.) The
district court typically loses jurisdiction of a case once a
notice of appeal is filed. See Griggs v. Provident
Consumer Disc. Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982) (“The
filing of a notice of appeal is an event of jurisdictional
significance-it confers jurisdiction on the court of appeals
and divests the district court of its control over those
aspects of the case involved in the appeal.”); FHC
Equities, L.L.C. v. MBL Life Assur. Corp., 188 F.3d 678,
683 (6th Cir. 1999). However, the district court retains
jurisdiction when the notice of appeal is untimely, because
the appellate court lacks the jurisdiction to rule on the
merits of the appeal. FHC Equities, 188 F.3d at 683.
In this case, the Notice of Appeal, having been filed well
past sixty days after entry of judgment, is clearly untimely.
Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(B). The Court therefore retains
jurisdiction for purposes of considering the motion to
Court has the inherent power and, indeed, obligation to
dismiss a matter if it “determines at any time that it
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(h)(3). It follows logically that, if the Court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction over an action, then granting a
motion to reopen it would be futile.
Complaint in this action seeks judgment against the President
of the United States based on official actions taken and
policy decisions made while in office, including
“depriving liberty to women, to minorities, and to
Islam, ” “continu[ing] to own large holdings . .
. during Presidency, ” “firing/removing former
FBI Director James Comey, ” and “publically
asking Russia to ~attack~ the United States'
internet.” (Doc. No. 1, at 2.) Rather than damages,
Plaintiff seeks equitable relief in the form of giving the
President “the opportunity to admit to treason and/or
crimes against humanity in open court” and the
institution of formal impeachment proceedings, among other
similar relief. (Doc. No. 1, at 3.)
other words, Plaintiff is essentially attempting to bring
criminal charges against the President and to institute
impeachment proceedings against him, neither of which he has
standing to do. A private citizen lacks standing to initiate
criminal proceedings or to compel the state to pursue a
criminal action. Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S.
614, 619 (1973); Associated Builders & Contractors v.
Perry, 16 F.3d 688, 692-93 (6th Cir. 1994). And it is
well established that, because the United States Constitution
confers upon the House of Representatives and the Senate,
respectively, the power to impeach and the power to try all
impeachments, “a federal court cannot exercise judicial
authority to order impeachment of the President of the United
States or to conduct an impeachment proceeding.”
Hyland v. Clinton, 208 F.3d 213 (Table), 2000 WL
125876, at *1 (6th Cir. 2000) (citing U.S. Const. Art. I,
§ 2, cl. 5 and Art. I, § 3, cl. 6).
the Complaint largely encompasses general political
grievances without alleging that Plaintiff personally
suffered a concrete injury as a result of the President's
actions. To bring a lawsuit over which this Court may
exercise jurisdiction under Article III of the Constitution,
Plaintiff must have standing to sue. See Spokeo, Inc. v.
Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016) (“Standing to
sue is a doctrine rooted in the traditional understanding of
a case or controversy.”). To establish Article III
standing, Plaintiff must have “(1) suffered an injury
in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged
conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be
redressed by a favorable judicial decision.”
Id. (citing Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife,
504 U.S. 555, 559-60 (1992)).
here does not allege that he has suffered a direct and
immediate violation of his own constitutional or other
federal rights. Rather, he disagrees with the President's
political positions and conduct while in office and contends
that those actions have “damaged the Earth by scaling
back environmental protections.” (Doc. No. 1, at 2.)
The Supreme Court, however, has made it clear that “a
plaintiff claiming only a generally available grievance about
government-claiming only harm to his and every citizen's
interest in proper application of the Constitution and laws,
and seeking relief that no more directly and tangibly
benefits him than it does the public at large-does not state
an Article III case or controversy.” Lujan,
504 U.S. at 573-74.
Plaintiff lacks standing, the Court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction over this action. Further, it is apparent that
amending the Complaint could not cure the deficiencies
identified. Where a plaintiffs claim is “totally
implausible” and the Court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the district court is not required to afford
the plaintiff the opportunity to amend his complaint.
Apple v. Glenn, 183 F.3d 477, 479-80 (6th Cir.
1999). Reopening the case would be futile.
motion to reopen the case is therefore
DENIED. The Clerk is directed to send a copy
of this Order to the United States ...