Brief of Appellant Jonah Paul Anders

Case Citation

Jonah Paul Anders v. Mayla Anders
No. CT -004293-16 Gina C. Higgins, Judge
Appeal case from the Circuit Court for Shelby County
No. W2016-02561-COA – R3-CV

Facts

On May 2, 2016, Jonah Paul Anders, the plaintiff, filed a complaint against Mayla C. Anders, who also happened to be his wife. In the complaint, the plaintiff Jonah Paul Anders argued that the defendant Mayla C. Anders, who is also known as Mayla C. Casacop (Leagle n.d.), presented false statements to several United States’ agencies concerning the critical information on her previous marital status in the Philippines. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant provided false information to obtain citizenship (Leagle n.d.). This violated 18 U.S.C. Sections 1001 and 1015 (Anders v. Anders 2016). The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant used her marital status to commit a fraudulent activity that caused him $50, 000 worth of damage (Leagle n.d.; Anders v. Anders 2016).

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Issue

Did the complainant in the case provide a claim under which relief could be granted?

Decision

Jonah Paul Anders’ submissions on a claim under 18 U.S.C. Sections 1001 and 1015 were improper since none of those statutes allows a private right of action. In addition to that, the court does not have any subject matter jurisdiction over the complainant’s claim about the state law fraud. The plaintiff failed to state the facts that would consistently demonstrate a complete diversity between the defendant and the plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1332. In addition, the attachments filed at the court failed to start a direct objection to the magistrate’s report and recommendations. Since this was the case, the court decided to dismiss the plaintiff for failing to state or provide evidence against which a claim could be issued.

Reason

The court’s reasoning is categorized into three different sections. Each section directly contributed to the making of the overall decision concerning the case. These categories of reasoning include lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the failure to state a claim, and the standard of review upon which the case outcome is decided.

Lack of subject matter jurisdiction

Pursuant to Rule 3 of the Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedures as well as Rule 12 (h) (3) and (b) (1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures, the district court can dismiss a complainant sua sponte due to lack of subject jurisdiction. Based on the rulings in such prominent cases as Genesis of Ky., Inc. v. Creation Ministries Int’l, Ltd., 556 F. 3d 459, 465, the federal courts have the responsibility of reviewing the subject matter jurisdiction in relation to the cases before them and raising the issue of sua sponte if appropriate (Leagle n.d.). Therefore, before a court hears a claim presented, the plaintiff must convince and satisfy it by proving that the case claim falls into its jurisdiction.

Consequently, the court may decide to review the issue of lack of jurisdiction at any time within the course of action. For example, in cases such as Franzel v. Kerr Mfg. Co., 959 F.2d 628, 630 (1992), and Campanella v. Commerce Exchange Bank, 137 F.3d 885, 890 (1998), the claims were dismissed for lacking the required subject matter of jurisdiction during the course of action. In the same manner, the court concluded that Jonah Paul Anders’ case should be dismissed as it lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

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According to the case Kekkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co, 511 U.S. 375, 377, the courts only have the power and authority provided by the statute and constitution, and they are mostly not expounded by the judicial decree (Legal Information Institute n.d.a). This means that the federal courts are limited in their jurisdictions. The scope of the federal court’s jurisdiction is further explained in the case Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541, where the magistrate stated that federal courts only have the powers and authorities provided under Article III of the US Constitution (Legal Information Institute n.d.a). Therefore, the federal courts possess limited jurisdiction and they cannot be considered courts of general jurisdictions.

Based on Section 1331 of the Article 28 of the United States Constitution, the subject matter of jurisdiction of federal courts covers all civil actions that arise from the treaties, laws, and the Constitution of the United States. Concerning the Jonah Paul Anders v. Mayla Anders case, under the federal criminal statutes, Mr. Anders failed to state the claim. Instead of the Order filed on July 18, 2017, the court directed the plaintiff to obtain an entry order of final judgment within 10 days of the order entry (Leagle n.d.). If the plaintiff failed to obtain it within the provided period, the court obliged him to show the reasons why the appeal should not be dismissed for failing to object to the judgment within 15 days from the date of order entry. The order entry of July 18, 2017, also indicated that if the appellant failed to respond to the order within a specific time frame, the court could dismiss the appeal without further notice.

Furthermore, Section 1332 in Article 28 of the United States Constitution indicates that while the federal courts have limited jurisdiction, the district courts have original jurisdictions for all civil actions in cases where the subject matter exceeds a value of $75,000, not including the costs and interests, and when it occurs between the citizens of different countries. On the other hand, the federal courts can only have jurisdiction under Section 1332 if the case under review includes a complete diversity in terms of the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s citizenship (Leagle n.d.). State of diversity can only be proved if either the plaintiff or the defendant pleads for the citizenship of individual or corporate parties. Therefore, the plaintiff in Jonah Paul Anders v. Mayla Anders case had to prove the diversity of citizenship between the defendant and the plaintiff.

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However, the case of Jonah Paul Anders involved a fraudulent criminal activity that is potentially categorized as a state law fraud claim. Pursuant to Section 1332 of the United States Constitution, Article 28, neither the plaintiff nor the defendant claimed the citizenship of individual or corporate parties (Leagle n.d.). For instance, Jonah Paul Anders failed to claim Mayla Anders’ citizenship (Leagle n.d.). The plaintiff also failed to provide credible evidence that would establish the citizenship of the defendant. He further did not mention the existence of any possible diversity jurisdiction. According to Leagle (n.d.), the plaintiff provided the address in Memphis as the only applicable mailing address belonging to him as well as to the defendant. Although Hayes v. Cowans (2014) mentions that the physical address of a complainant or a defendant does not prove their citizenship, its application in Jonah Paul Anders v. Mayla Anders case indicates that no significant submission implied a potential existence of diversity jurisdiction. Therefore, even if Jonah Paul Anders’ claim can be viewed as a state law fraud claim, Jonah Paul Anders failed to prove the existence of complete diversity.

Moreover, in the absence of federal jurisdiction, the court is not in a position to apply a supplement jurisdiction to Jonah Paul Anders’ claim regarding a possible state law fraudulent criminal activity. Section 1367 of Article 28 of the United States Constitution indicates that two events might happen at the district court in such situations. Firstly, the court may decide to avoid applying a supplemental jurisdiction to a claim found in subsection (a) (Leagle n.d.). Secondly, if the district court has dismissed all the claims over which it has original jurisdiction, it may decide to avoid applying supplemental jurisdictions (Leagle n.d.). This is evident in such prominent cases as Carter v. Collins, 15-2011, 2015 WL 474359, and McGhee v. Lipscomb, 2:15-CV- 02023 –JPM- tmp, 2015 WL 4726992 (Leagle n.d.).

Failure to state a claim

Jonah Paul Anders’ claim applied to two federal statutes, both of which are found in Title 18, the Crimes and Criminal Procedures. The first statute is Section 1001, which involves the statements and entries in a judicial process (U.S. Government Information n.d., p. 281). It stipulates that unless stated otherwise in the section, a subject within the jurisdiction of the judicial, executive, and legislative branch of US government, wherever they willfully or knowingly provide a false statement or conceal a material fact by any form of scheme, trick, or device shall be imprisoned for no more than 5 years (U.S. Government Information n.d., p. 281). This also applies to individuals who make materially false, fraudulent, or fictitious statements and those who make or use a form of a false document or writing with the knowledge that it contains a materially fraudulent, false, or fictitious entry or statement.

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The second statute is Section 1015 that involves naturalization, citizenship, or an alien registry. This statute has six provisions. The first indicates that anyone who intentionally makes a false statement when under oath during judicial proceedings, in a matter under, related to, or by virtue of the United States Laws concerning naturalization, citizenship, or an alien registry shall be sentenced for no more than 5 years or fined under the title (Legal Information Institute n.d.b, par. 6). This also applies to scenarios in other five subsections. The second subsection involves the individuals who intentionally want to avoid the liability and duty that either comprise the lawful requirements or are imposed by the legal provisions has after having been admitted or naturalized as the citizens of the United States (Legal Information Institute n.d.b). The third provision involves those who use certificates of naturalization, citizenship, arrival, and other documentary evidence of citizenship or naturalization, as well as the declaration of intention, with the full knowledge that the documents are fraudulently obtained (Legal Information Institute n.d.b).

The fourth subsection involves an individual who knowingly presents false statements, acknowledgments, and certificates when taking an oath, affirming, executing, or signing something pertaining to the declaration, application, deposition, petition, affidavit, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, and any other document required by law to facilitate the processes involved in naturalization, immigration, registry of aliens, and citizenship (Legal Information Institute n.d.b). The other subsection concerns individuals who intentionally make false claims or statements in which they portray themselves as the US citizens to enroll in the local, state, and federal elections as a voter. This also includes the intention to use the registration card obtained in other national activities such as a referendum, national or local initiatives, and recall (Legal Information Institute n.d.b). In this case, another important consideration is subsection (e). As Legal Information Institute (n.d.b, par. 5) indicates, those who willingly make false statements or claims that portray them as a citizen of the US with the intention of acquiring the benefits enjoyed by the US citizens through the federal or state service are sentenced to no more than 5 years or fined based on the same title.

Unfortunately, the two statutes summarized above do not address criminal offenses in which a private right of action is provided. Considering the judgments on the previous cases, Milam v. Southaven Police Dep’t, 15-CV-022029-SHL –DKV, 2015 WL 1637937, and Saro v. Brown, 11 F. App’x 387, 388, should be mentioned (Gamble v. Kentucky 2014, par. 3). In these two cases, the judge indicated that the absence of a private right of action prevents the plaintiff from recovering the civilly violated criminal statute.

Furthermore, in Saro v. Brown, 11 F. App’x 387, 388, the judge concluded that the violation of wire or mail fraud according to the federal criminal code does not result in a private or independent cause of action. This is further explained in the decision made in the case of Marshall v. Howard, 3:06 – CV- 354-H, 2007 WL 952076 (2007, par. 2). In this situation, the judge clarified that even when the federal criminal code results in independent and private actions, the violation of federal or state statutes does not result in a private cause of action. Therefore, it is the state or federal prosecutor who has the power and authority to start a criminal claim (Marshall v. Howard 2007, par. 4). In addition, in the case of Hayes v. Cowan, 14 – 2366-2366-STA-dkv, 2014 WL 2972298, the judge clarified that an individual does not have the power and authority to initiate or file a criminal charge (Hayes v. Cowans 2014, par. 4). Thus, Jonah Paul Anders did not submit a claim over which the magistrate could grant a relief based on the provisions of the federal criminal statutes.

Standard of review

In the cases where the plaintiff fails to state a claim that may revoke the need to grant a relief, where the plaintiff seeks the monetary relief against a defendant considered to be immune to that kind of relief, and when the subject matter is malicious or frivolous, the court is legally required to screen and act upon the in forma pauperis claims. Where necessary, it should dismiss the claim on the above grounds. Based on the manner in which the provisions of Rule 12 (b) (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures were applied in such cases as Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,678-79 (2009), they could also be applied in Jonah Paul Anders v. Mayla Anders case. This fact could allow assessing whether Jonah Paul Anders’ claim should provoke the granting of relief (Anders v. Anders 2016). In the case of Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 464, 470-71, the magistrate explained that a court often considers the factual allegations in the claim and regards well-pleaded allegations as true if the complainant plausibly argues for an entitlement to relief.

Similarly, in the case of Williams v. Curtin, 631 F3d 380, 383, the magistrate indicated how the pleadings that are not conclusive are never assumed to be the truth. Therefore, though a legal conclusion may at some point provide an ideal framework for a claim, it is the duty of the complainant to support the conclusions with significant factual allegations (Leagle n.d.). In addition, Rule 8 (a) (2) also requires that the entitlement of relief be shown instead of an individual offering a general or blanket assertion (Leagle n.d.). Trying to see or understand how a complainant could use the admissible resources to show and satisfy the requirements of the ‘fair notice’ as well as the grounds on which the claim is based may be complex and almost impossible.

The pro se plaintiff is required to be liberally construed because unlike the formal pleadings submitted by the lawyers, their claims are often handled less stringently. However, the pro se plaintiff is not often exempted from the provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. From the judgments in the Brown v. Matauszak case, 415 F. App’x 608, 613, and Payne v. Sec’y of Treas., 73 F. App’x 836, 837, it is clear that the courts do not create a claim that a plaintiff has not indicated in their submissions (Anders v. Anders 2016, par 4). In particular, the magistrate responded to Payne v. Sec’y of Treas., 73 F. App’x 836, 837, by indicating that both the federal and the district courts were not required to create the plaintiff’s claims (Leagle n.d.). Instead, it was the duty of the plaintiff, namely, Payne in this particular case, to create a claim and submit it for review.

Similarly, in the case of Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004), it is clear that the federal and the district magistrates have no responsibility to execute the duties of a lawyer or perform the actions of a paralegal to a pro se litigant. Taking the roles of paralegals and the council neutralizes the perception that the courts are neutral bases for arbitrations, meaning that they transform into a particular party’s advocate instead. In addition, acting as a council or a paralegal is evidently tiresome if the magistrate is also responsible for leading the judicial process (Leagle n.d.). Since the courts are legally expected to protect the rights of everybody who seeks their services, accepting the role of a council would mean that the legal mandate of courts is overlooked. Therefore, the responsibility of the district courts or the federal courts does not involve advising the plaintiff on the most promising legal theory.

According to the provisions of Article 28 of the U.S. Constitution, Section 636 subsections (b) (1) (B), a magistrate has the power and authority to submit a judgment that contains recommendations and a proposed finding that might help dismiss the claim based on the plaintiff’s failure to make a statement that might provoke a guarantee of relief (Anders v. Anders 2016, par. 3). From the case of Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985), it is the responsibility of a judge to select some sections of a report or use some particular findings as well as recommendations in the context of a de novo determination approach (Leagle n.d.). As stated earlier, the district or the federal courts do not have the responsibilities of the councils. Instead, they only hear the objections and claims that directly indicate and describe the errors that a magistrate has committed.

While expounding on the issue of hearing the objections, the magistrate in the case of Zimmerman v. Cason, 354 F. App’x 228, 230, stated that submitting a general and vague objection means failing to meet the requirements of a particular complaint, which affects the possibility of proving one’s failure to object (Leagle n.d.). However, if the court does not obtain an objection based on the magistrate’s legal conclusion or the factual findings from both the complainant and the defendant, then the federal or the district court is not legally required to review the legal conclusion of factual findings under the de novo approach (Anders v. Anders 2016, par. 3). Instead, the legal conclusions and the factual findings become the final judgment of the court to which both the defendant and the complainant admit.

On the 17th of May, 2016, the case of Anders v. Anders (2016, par. 5) indicated that Jonah Paul Anders submitted an objection to the magistrate’s recommendation and report. Jonah Paul Anders included three attachments into his objection. The first attachment was the certificate of Mayla Anders’ marital status from the Philippines government. The second attachment was a complaint for divorce or annulment that Jonah Paul Anders presented against Mayla Anders in the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Tennessee, in 2014. The final attachment involved a motion of leave that intended to amend the complaint submitted to the same court.

Considering the files that Jonah Paul Anders submitted to the court, he failed to present a specific claim or objection that would directly reveal and describe the errors committed by the magistrate. Therefore, as much as Jonah Paul Anders might have disagreed with the factual findings or the legal conclusion made by the magistrate, the court could not consider his applications as being valid objections to the magistrate’s recommendations and judgment report.

In accordance with the above reasons, the court recommended that Jonah Paul Anders’ claim be dismissed on sua sponte based on the provisions of Article 28 of the United States Constitution, Section 1915, subsections (e) (2)(b)(ii). The court also concluded that the claim should be dismissed on the grounds of the lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Furthermore, the documents that Jonah Paul Anders submitted to the court failed to start a claim or an objection against the magistrate’s report as well as recommendations on the judgment. Most importantly, the documents submitted to the court did not address the issues outlined in Jonah Paul Anders’ complaint. Instead, the issue regarding the lack of private right of action as a requirement of Article 18 under Sections 1001 and 1015 persisted. Moreover, the documents did not show the existence of diverse citizenship as required by the Article 28 of the US Constitution under Section 1332.