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Melvin C. Lewis v. the United States of America

February 24, 2012



Plaintiff Melvin C. Lewis, proceeding pro se, has filed a 32-page (with an additional 168 pages of attachments) rambling, largely incomprehensible, and palpably frivolous Complaint, which purports to assert claims against the United States of America, the Internal Revenue Service, the State of New York, and the State of Florida (Doc. 1). As the Court can best ascertain, it appears that the Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages against these Defendants under the Suits in Admiralty Act, the Admiralty Extensions Act, the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, and the Public Vessels Act for attempting to collect accrued and unpaid federal income taxes. The Plaintiff appears to be arguing that he is a sovereign entity, and as such, any IRS liens or attempts to collect taxes against him are illegal due to his sovereignty. He also claims a "Tort Claim Consensual commercial lien" against the United States in the amount of $10,530,000,000, and a second lien against the State of New York in the amount of $6,450,000.000.

Each of the Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint under both Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim for relief (Docs. 9, 12, 14). Rather than respond to the merits of the motions, the Plaintiff sought to have each motion stricken (Docs. 11,

15). Each motion to strike reiterated many of the same nonsensical allegations contained in the Plaintiff's Complaint, and was devoid of any relevant legal analysis. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge denied both of the Plaintiff's motions (Doc. 22).

The Plaintiff also filed several motions to recuse the Magistrate Judge (Docs. 10, 25, 27), and a "Petition for Summary Ruling; Rule 60 and 12(b)(6)" (Doc. 18) which the Court will address as a motion for summary judgment. The summary judgment motion is a compilation of the incomprehensible arguments stated in his previously denied motions to strike, and the allegations listed in his Complaint. In short, the motion for summary judgment is utterly without merit, fails to satisfy even the most rudimentary requirements of Fed. R Civ. P. 56, and is due to be denied without further discussion.

The Court further finds, for the reasons set forth below, that the Defendants' motions to dismiss are all due to be granted, and that this case is due to be dismissed with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Standard of Review

The Defendants each seek dismissal of the Plaintiff's Complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis that they are each entitled to immunity.

A defendant can move to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(1) by either a facial or factual challenge. McElmurray v. Consol. Gov't of Augusta-Richmond County, 501 F.3d 1244, 1251 (11th Cir. 2007) (citing Williamson v. Tucker, 645 F.2d 404, 412 (5th Cir. 1981)).*fn1 A "facial attack" on the complaint "require[s] the court merely to look and see if [the] plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a basis of subject matter jurisdiction, and the allegations in his complaint are taken as true for the purposes of the motion." Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d 1525, 1529 (11th Cir. 1990) (quoting Menchaca v. Chrysler Credit Corp., 613 F.2d 507, 511 (5th Cir. 1980)). On the other hand, factual attacks challenge "the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in fact, irrespective of the pleadings, and matters outside the pleadings, such as testimony and affidavits are considered." Id. (quoting Menchaca, 613 F.2d at 511).

It is clear that the Defendants have limited their motions to facial attacks on the Complaint, therefore the Court will not look beyond the four corners of the Complaint and its attachments.


I. Eleventh Amendment Immunity

The State of Florida and the State of New York both assert that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because they are protected by Eleventh Amendment immunity. The Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from exercising subject matter jurisdiction in suits brought against a state by a citizen of that state, citizens of another state, or citizens of any foreign state. See U.S. Const. Amend. XI.; Welch v. State Dept. of Highways and Public Transportation, 483 U.S. 468, 472, 107 S.Ct. 2941, 2945 (1985); Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1, 10 S.Ct. 504 (1890),

The only exceptions to Eleventh Amendment immunity are where Congress abrogated the state's immunity through proper legislation under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, or where the state itself has waived sovereign immunity. Pennhurst State School & Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100, 104 S.Ct. 900, 907-09 (1984); Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 98 S.Ct. 3057 (1978). The Court is not aware of any Congressional abrogation of the States' immunity which would apply to this case,*fn2 and neither Florida nor New York has waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in federal court. Schopler v. Bliss, 903 F.2d 1373, 1379 (11th Cir. 1990); Hamm v. Powell, 874 F.2d 766, 770 n. 3 (11th Cir. 1989); Fla Stat. § 768.28(18) (2010); Feingold v. New York, 366 F.3d 138, 149 (2d Cir. 2004); Dube v. State University of New York, 900 F.2d 587, 594-95 (2d Cir. 1990).

Accordingly, the Court will grant the State of Florida's and State of New York's motions to dismiss on the grounds that they are protected by Eleventh Amendment immunity, ...

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