United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Plaintiff’s Request for Expedited
Consideration of Complaint Sufficiency, ECF No. 5, and
Plaintiff’s Complaint, ECF No. 6. The Court has
reviewed both the Complaint and the Request and is fully
informed. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis; Defendants have not been served.
Plaintiff filed an application to proceed in forma
pauperis, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which was
reviewed for financial purposes by Magistrate Judge John T.
Rodgers. ECF No. 4. This Court is performing the second part
of the review process under 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
recorded with the Grant County Auditor a Certificate of
Acceptance and Declaration of Land Patent for a tract of land
that was assigned to him by quit claim deed on November 17,
2016. ECF No. 6 at 4. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
purchased the property at a tax sale without warranty of the
condition of the title. Id. at 5. Following
purchase, Plaintiff asserts Defendants repeatedly entered his
property without permission, damaged his property, placed
chemicals near his home, killed his dog, and generally
disturbed his life. Id.
brings this Complaint, which he claims arises under federal
question jurisdiction. ECF No. 6 at 3. Specifically,
Plaintiff alleges a right to the land through the United
States Constitution, Presidential Land Grant Number 235, and
the Railroad Act of 1864. Id. He claims that he has
been injured by chemicals placed near his property by
Defendants. Id. at 7. Plaintiff seeks to quiet
title, an issue that already has been remanded to state
court, as well as an injunctionpreventing
Defendants from entering the property and money damages for
injuries sustained. Id.
must dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis before it is
served on a defendant if it is frivolous or malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
are required to plead “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). A complaint need not
contain detailed factual allegations, but must allege facts
sufficient to state a claim that is plausible on its face.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547 (2007).
jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented
on the face of a plaintiff’s properly pleaded
complaint. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386,
392-93 (1987). Plaintiff alleges as bases for federal
question jurisdiction an unspecified right to property under
the United States Constitution and a statutory right to hold
granted land tracts “specified by presidential land
patent #235 & Railroad Act of 1864.” ECF No. 6 at
federal land patents and acts of Congress do not provide
bases for federal question jurisdiction. Shulthus v.
McDougal, 225 U.S. 561, 570 (1912) (“A controversy
in respect of lands has never been regarded as presenting a
federal question merely because one of the parties to it has
derived his title under an act of Congress.”);
Virgin v. Cty. Of San Luis Obispo, 201 F.3d 1141,
1143 (9th Cir. 2000); Barnett v. Kunkel, 264 U.S.
16, 20 (1924); Landi v. Phelps, 740 F.2d 710, 713-14
(9th Cir. 1984). After a patent is issued, ownership disputes
are “matters of local property law to be vindicated in
local courts.” Oneida Indian Nation v. Cty. Of
Oneida, 414 U.S. 661, 676-77 (1974). Thus,
Plaintiff’s assertion of a federal question is without
a pro se litigant must be given the opportunity to
amend his complaint to correct any deficiencies, unless it is
absolutely clear that amendment would be futile. Noll v.
Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987),
superseded by statute on other grounds, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2), as stated in Aktar v. Mesa, 698
F.3d 1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012). Leave should not be granted
if the court “determines that the pleading could not
possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.”
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000)
(quoting Doe v. United States, 58 F. 3d 494, 497
(9th Cir. 1995).
case, amendment would be futile because no facts can change
an untenable legal argument. Both United States Supreme Court
and Ninth Circuit law state that Plaintiff’s issues do
not give rise to federal question jurisdiction.
there is no basis for this Court to have subject matter
jurisdiction in this matter. Dismissal with prejudice is
Accordingly, IT ...