United States District Court, D. Colorado
LAURENCE R. GOODMAN, Plaintiff,
JOHN HICKENLOOPER, and CYNTHIA COFFMAN, Defendants.
RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
KRISTEN L. MIX UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss [#36] (the “Motion”). Plaintiff
filed a Response [#46] in opposition to the Motion [#36].
Defendants did not file a Reply. Plaintiff proceeds in this
matter as a pro se individual. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1) and D.C.COLO.LCivR 72.1(c), the Motion [#36] has
been referred to the undersigned for recommendation.
See [#37]. The Court has reviewed the Motion,
Response, the entire case file, and the applicable law, and
is sufficiently advised in the premises. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court respectfully
RECOMMENDS that the Motion [#36] be
Summary of the Case
April 6, 2017, Plaintiff was arrested and incarcerated.
Am. Compl. [#17] at 6. Plaintiff suffered a
respiratory infection and hearing loss after his arrest.
Id. Plaintiff remains under house arrest with an
ankle bracelet. Id.
claims that “there are no public officers currently
elected or appointed anywhere within the State of Colorado
who have filed evidence for public scrutiny [of] a mandated
fiduciary bond or recognizance” [sic]. Id. at
1. Consequently, Plaintiff argues that “those persons
posing as state and county public officers defy the will of
the People of Colorado.” Id. Plaintiff further
avers that “there are no lawful or valid criminal or
civil cases in the State of Colorado Court system and all the
courts in the State of Colorado are vacant from the Supreme
Court on down . . .; imposters now hold positions in those
courts.” Id. at 2. In total, Plaintiff claims
there are 574 imposters holding public office within
Colorado. Id. at 3. The two named Defendants,
Governor John Hickenlooper (“Hickenlooper”) and
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman
(“Coffman”), are among those claimed to be
imposters. Id. at 1.
Amended Complaint [#17] contains an unenlightening screed
which purports to set forth the legal basis for
Plaintiff's claims and includes references to the
Colorado Constitution, United States Constitution, 18 U.S.C.
§ 241, 18 U.S.C. § 242, and 18 U.S.C. § 1513.
Am. Compl. [#17] at 5-7. For relief, Plaintiff is
seeking: (1) that the Court issue an order declaring all
public offices in Colorado to be vacant; (2) that the Court
“[r]equire that each and every Colorado State
Legislature [sic] verify and the Court to be assured that
those persons holding a state public office are
constitutionally and statutorily holding those offices prior
to appropriating public funds for any purpose;” (3)
that the Court appoint a “Master” to collect the
paychecks of the illegitimate office holders; (4) damages for
“personal damage, property loss and damage to
reputation, ” plus damages in the amount of “$10,
000 for every day of incarceration, at least $1, 000 per day
for every day under the continuing house arrest, and rent and
damages from said imposters squatting on [P]laintiff's
house;” (5) that the Court declare all contracts
between Plaintiff and the “imposters” void; and
(6) that the Court order Defendants to “put up an
appellate bond . . . equal to their portion of public
appropriations.” Am. Compl. [#17] at 7-8.
have filed the present Motion [#36] seeking to dismiss the
Amended Complaint [#17] pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and
Standard of Review
matter jurisdiction may be challenged by a party or raised
sua sponte by the court at any point in the proceeding.
Am. Fire & Cas. Co. v. Finn, 341 U.S. 6, 16-19,
(1951); Harris v. Illinois-California Express, Inc.,
687 F.2d 1361, 1366 (10th Cir. 1982); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) may take two
forms: a facial attack or a factual attack. When reviewing a
facial attack on a complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), the
Court accepts the allegations of the complaint as true.
Holt v. United States, 46 F.2d 1000, 1002 (10th Cir.
1995). When reviewing a factual attack on a complaint
supported by affidavits or other documents, the Court makes
its own factual findings and need not convert the motion to
one brought pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Id. at 1003.
12(b)(1) concerns whether the Court has jurisdiction to
properly hear the case before it. Dismissal of a federal
claim for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction “is
proper only when the claim is ‘so insubstantial,
implausible, foreclosed by prior decisions of this Court, or
otherwise completely devoid of merit as not to involve a
federal controversy.” Steel Co. v. Citizens for a
Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 89 (1998) (quoting
Oneida Indian Nation v. Cty. of Oneida, 414 U.S.
661, 666 (1974)). Because “federal courts are courts of
limited jurisdiction, ” the Court must have a statutory
basis to exercise its jurisdiction. Montoya v. Chao,
296 F.3d 952, 955 (10th Cir. 2002); see Fed. R. Civ.
P. 12(b)(1). Statutes conferring subject-matter jurisdiction
on federal courts are to be strictly construed. F. &
S. Const. Co. v. Jensen, 337 F.2d 160, 161 (10th Cir.
1964). “The burden of establishing subject-matter
jurisdiction is on the party asserting jurisdiction.”
Id. (citing Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)).
refers to alleged violations of the Colorado Constitution,
United States Constitution, 18 U.S.C. § 241, 18 U.S.C.
§242, and 18 U.S.C. § 1513. Am. Compl.
[#17] at 5-7. The criminal statutes referenced by Plaintiff
are not enforceable by him in this lawsuit, as no private
right of action exists under those statutes. See Diamond
v. Charles, 476 U.S. 54, 64-65 (1986). Hence, the
authority on which Plaintiff purports to base his legal
claims remains unclear. Moreover, it is likewise unclear
whether Plaintiff is suing Defendants in their official
capacities or their individual capacities. See Id.
at 1. The Amended Complaint [#17] lists Defendants without
their official titles. However, in the Motion to Dismiss
[#36], Defendants list themselves as acting in their official
capacities. In the Response, Plaintiff argues that
“[t]he altered caption on [the Motion [#36]] . . . is
an unsupported assertion by [D]efendants who are not lawfully
holding office.” [#46] ¶ 1. For purposes of this
analysis, the Court assumes that Plaintiff is suing
Defendants in both their official capacities and individual
argue, among other things, that although Plaintiff's
“ultimate goal is not entirely clear from the [Amended
Complaint [#17]] itself, . . . this case is an attempt to
prevent his state criminal prosecution from going
forward.” Motion [#36] at 3. Defendants
further contend that Plaintiff lacks standing to assert his
claims. Motion [#36] at 6. “[The]
standing doctrine addresses whether, at the inception of
litigation, the plaintiff had suffered a concrete injury that
could be redressed by action of the court.” Utah
Animal Rights Coal. v. Salt Lake City Corp., 371 F.3d
1248, 1263 (10th Cir. 2004). “To establish Article III
standing, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating the
following three elements: (1) an injury in fact; (2) a causal
connection between the injury and the challenged action; and
(3) a likelihood that a favorable decision will redress the
injury.” Jordan v. Sosa, 654 F.3d 1012, 1019
(10th Cir. 2011).
an abundance of caution, the Court addresses both
Plaintiff's request for relief on behalf of citizens of
Colorado and the alleged individual harm he claims to have
suffered. First, in order to determine whether Plaintiff
lacks standing, the Court must consider whether Plaintiff has
suffered an injury in fact. Plaintiff alleges that persons
are posing as state and county officers and that those
persons are defying “the will of the People of Colorado
and deny the need for their trust.” Am. Compl.
[#17] at 1. Plaintiff asserts that if the
“imposters” are allowed to continue serving in
their positions there will be “a massive loss to the
entire republic.” Id. at 7. This claim is
grand in scale; however, “standing to sue may not be
predicated upon an interest . . . which is held in common by
all members of the public, because of the necessarily
abstract nature of the injury all citizens share.”
Baker v. State, No. 13-cv-01334-PAB-KLM, 2014 WL
624342, at *2 (D. Colo. Feb. 18, 2014) (quoting Chrisman
v. C.I.R., 82 F.3d 371, 373 (10th Cir. 1996)). Plaintiff
claims that the people of Colorado have been denied a
republican form of government, which Plaintiff claims is
“a massive loss to the entire republic.” Am.
Compl. [#17] at 7. A loss that affects the entire
republic necessarily entails an injury that applies equally
to all citizens of Colorado, and is therefore generalized.
See Baker, ...