United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
CHRISTOPHER L. WIESMUELLER, Plaintiff,
CARY OLIVER, et al., Defendants.
William L. Campbell, Jr. Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ALISTAIR E. NEWBERN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
August 2015, Defendants Cary and Charlene Oliver offered to
help their daughter Defendant Corrine Wiesmueller and her
husband Plaintiff Christopher L. Wiesmueller buy a house if
they moved from their home in Wisconsin closer to the Olivers
in Tennessee. The Wiesmuellers took the Olivers up on their
offer and moved with their children (the Olivers'
grandchildren) to a home that the Olivers purchased in Burns,
Tennessee. The Wiesmuellers made monthly payments to the
Olivers, which the Olivers applied to the loan they received
to buy the house. Thereafter, the Wiesmuellers' marriage
deteriorated, and they began divorce proceedings. In the
resulting division of the Wiesmuellers' assets, the state
court found that the Wiesmuellers rented the house from the
Olivers and awarded use of the property to Mrs. Wiesmueller.
Wiesmueller now brings this action against Mrs. Wiesmueller
and the Olivers under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq. Mr.
Wiesmueller claims that he was falsely promised ownership of
the house and that the defendants committed wire fraud
through phone calls, emails, and text messages regarding its
purchase and the Wiesmuellers' move to Tennessee. He
seeks an order divesting the defendants of their ownership
interest in the house and $67, 500.00 in damages, which he
calculates to be three times the amount of his anticipated
marital share in the house's equity. Mr. Wiesmueller also
seeks to hold his wife and in-laws liable under state-law
theories of promissory estoppel and intentional infliction of
defendants have filed motions to dismiss arguing that Mr.
Wiesmueller fails to state a RICO claim against them and that
the Court should decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over his state-law claims. (Doc. Nos. 13, 15,
17.) There is, however, a more fundamental problem with Mr.
Wiesmueller's action: the RICO claims he asserts are so
transparently an effort to alter the outcome of his divorce
proceedings that this Court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate
them. The Magistrate Judge will therefore recommend that Mr.
Wiesmueller's RICO claims be dismissed without prejudice
for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction; that the Court
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Mr.
Wiesmueller's state-law claims; and that the
defendants' motions to dismiss be denied as moot.
Factual History 
August 2015, the Wiesmuellers hosted the Olivers for a visit
in the Wisconsin rental home where they lived with their
three children. (Doc. No. 1.) During the visit, the Olivers
offered to help the Wiesmuellers buy a house if they moved to
Tennessee. (Id.) The Wiesmuellers initially declined
but, about a year later, realized that they had
“neither the credit scores nor the savings to make
homeownership a reality” and asked the Olivers if their
offer was still open. (Id. at PageID# 2.) It was,
and, on August 14, 2016, the Olivers purchased a house
outside of Burns, Tennessee for the Wiesmueller family to
live in. (Doc. No. 1.) The Olivers made a $30, 000.00 cash
down payment and financed the remainder of the $192, 000.00
purchase price with a fifteen-year loan from Regions Bank
that they secured with their own house. (Id.)
August 15 and 22, 2016, the Wiesmuellers and the Olivers
communicated via phone, text message, and email regarding the
purchase of the house and upcoming move to Tennessee.
(Id.) The details of these communications are
relevant because Mr. Wiesmueller's RICO claims are
premised on the theory that some of these communications
amounted to wire fraud. On the morning of August 15, 2016,
Mrs. Wiesmueller forwarded Mr. Wiesmueller ten pictures of
the interior of the house sent by Mrs. Oliver and told him
that the Olivers were going to be calling to talk about
“a few things mortgage related.” (Id. at
PageID# 3.) Later that day, the Wiesmuellers and the Olivers
had a phone conversation in which they discussed the
fifteen-year mortgage and the monthly payment of $300.
(Id.) The next day, Mrs. Wiesmueller sent Mr.
Wiesmueller an email summarizing a conversation with Mr.
Oliver regarding the move to Tennessee: “Went well on
my end . . . you have to remember he was a banker by trade .
. . and he said family first, and financial stability is
critical ..... (regarding owning a home).”
(Id. (alterations in original).) On August 18, 2016,
Mrs. Oliver emailed Mrs. Wiesmueller the following message:
“Elizabeth from bank called to say we may be ahead of
schedule by almost 2 weeks. Dad said appraiser was at house
this morning taking pics. You could be in your new home by
September 15th. Now the jobs have to start flowing!!”
(Id.) Mrs. Wiesmueller forwarded that message to Mr.
Wiesmueller with the caption: “OMG. Eek!”
(Id. at PageID# 4.) On August 22, 2016, Mrs.
Wiesmueller forwarded Mr. Wiesmueller three emails from Mrs.
Oliver, each containing a picture of the exterior of the
Wiesmuellers arrived in Tennessee on September 1, 2016, lived
with the Olivers for a month, and moved into the Burns house
on October 1, 2016. (Doc. No. 1.) For the next ten months,
Mr. Wiesmueller stayed home with the children and Mrs.
Wiesmueller began a job at which she earned $8, 000.00 more
annually than she had made in Wisconsin. (Id.)
During that time, the Olivers did not transfer ownership of
the Burns house to the Wiesmuellers, nor did they provide a
“rent to own” agreement as Mr. Wiesmueller states
he had expected. (Id. at PageID# 5.) Each month,
through Regions Bank, the Wiesmuellers made payments to the
Olivers, who then paid down the mortgage. (Id.) On
October 13, 2017, Mrs. Oliver sent two emails to the
Wiesmuellers and Mr. Oliver with insurance invoices for the
house, which was consistent with the understanding that the
Wiesmuellers were “to be responsible for the property
taxes and insurance.” (Id.)
moving into the house, Mrs. Wiesmueller repeatedly rebuffed
Mr. Wiesmueller's requests that she obtain a written
agreement regarding ownership of the house from her parents,
assuring Mr. Wiesmueller that they could “trust
family.” (Id. at PageID# 6.) Mr. Oliver also
frequently told Mr. Wiesmueller that, if the Wiesmuellers
refinanced the house or paid off the note, they could have
the existing equity. (Id.) Relying on those
representations and text messages from Mrs. Wiesmueller on
April 24, 2017, May 4, 2017, and February 20, 2018, in which
she referred to the monthly payment that the Wiesmuellers
made through Regions Bank as a “mortgage, ” Mr.
Wiesmueller assumed that any increased value in the Burns
house would be “marital property” and made
“certain improvements to [it] from marital funds,
including items ordered online or bought in stores . . .
.” (Id. at PageID# 5, 6.)
January 2018, the Wiesmuellers' marriage began to
collapse, and Mr. Wiesmueller moved in with the Olivers, who
“welcomed [him] into their home[ ] as family[.]”
(Id. at PageID# 7.) On January 31, 2018, after a
week with the Olivers, Mr. Wiesmueller expressed to Mrs.
Wiesmueller that he wanted to return to the house.
(Id.) After Mrs. Wiesmueller responded that she was
not ready for that, the situation escalated, with Mr.
Wiesmueller yelling at his wife that she could not stop him
from going home. (Id.) Mrs. Oliver intervened,
cursing at Mr. Wiesmueller and saying “It's not
your house, it's our house, we own it. You can go to the
homeless shelter.” (Id.) The altercation
caused Mr. Wiesmueller immediate emotional distress. (Doc.
Wiesmuellers began divorce proceedings in Tennessee state
court in which the house has been “deemed a mere
‘rental home,' . . . with Mrs. Wiesmueller
retaining use and possession[, ]” Mr. Wiesmueller
states is evidence of his wife and her parents' intent to
defraud him. (Id. at PageID# 9.) The state court has
also limited Mr. Wiesmueller to supervised visitation with
his children. (Doc. No. 35, PageID# 148.) The night before
Mr. Wiesmueller filed this lawsuit, he sent Mrs. Wiesmueller
an email in which he threatened to sue her and her parents
unless she agreed to grant him every other weekend with their
children and primary custody. (Doc. No. 35-2, PageID# 161.)
Mr. Wiesmueller warned her that this was her “[l]ast
chance to conce[de, ]” and threatened to “legally
take back EVERYTHING [she] took from [him]” through
“shock and awe[ ]” legal tactics. (Id.)
On November 9, 2018, three days after Mr. Wiesmueller filed
this action, he wrote Mrs. Wiesmueller an email stating:
By the way, I offered to settle for my share of the equity in
the marital home in summer. I was being kind. That time has
long since past [sic]. I will be clear: no blackmail. There
will be no settlement. I will ...