United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
Glen E. Conrad Chief United States District Judge
Lambert Maines commenced this action by filing a pro se
complaint on October 7, 2016.[*] She .names as defendant the
Commonwealth of Virginia. Maines has not paid the filing fee,
but will be granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis for
the purpose of initial review of her complaint. For the
following reasons, the court concludes that the action must
be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and
Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
plaintiffs complaint, which is styled as a "habeas
corpus ad subjiciendum, " is difficult to follow. After
quoting from several Second Amendment decisions by the
Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of
Virginia, Maines states as follows:
The injured parties seek the Release of her Commercial
Instrument and PERSON from the effective 'custody' of
the Administrative Agencies and district courts of the
Commonwealth of Virginia and each of their Employees, their
Persons, and Expressly Rebuts any Presumption or Assumptions
that the Aggrieved is not a Natural Woman flesh and blood
flowing with Inherent Inalienable Rights from her Creator.
"I am" and they, do not consent to third party
Trustees usurping all lawful means of acquiring Remedy at Law
by the Supreme law of Virginia, all Treaties, Constitutions,
and any disclosed or undisclosed Private Contracts held or
made by or between third parties, as the only bona fide
Source and Secured Party in interest.
Compl. 13-14. Maines requests that the court issue a writ of
"mandamus" requiring the following state entities
to perform their "ministerial duties": the Virginia
Workers Compensation Commission, the Virginia Department of
Social Services, the Frederick County Court System, the
Rappahannock County General District Court, and the Virginia
State Police. Id. at 14-19.
accompanying civil cover sheet, Maines indicates that she is
invoking the court's diversity jurisdiction. Maines then
states that she is asserting causes of action under the
Constitution of the United States; the federal Administrative
Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 702; and the Constitution and
laws of Virginia.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), which governs in forma pauperis
proceedings, the court has a mandatory duty to screen initial
filings. Eriline Co. v. Johnson, 440 F.3d 648,
656-57 (4th Cir. 2006). The court must dismiss a case
"at any time" if the court determines that the
complaint "fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The
standards for reviewing a complaint for dismissal under
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) are the same as those which apply
when a defendant moves for dismissal under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). De'Lonta v. Angelone,
330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003). To survive dismissal, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations
"to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level" and "state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, the court "must dismiss" an action
"[i]f the court determines at any time that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
"[Q]uestions of subject-matter jurisdiction may be
raised at any point during the proceedings and may (or, more
precisely, must) be raised sua sponte by the court."
Brickwood Contractors, Inc. v. Datanet Eng'g,
Inc., 369 F.3d 385, 390 (4th Cir. 2004).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. "They possess
only that power authorized by Constitution and statute."
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). Generally, a case can be filed in a federal
district court if there is federal question jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 or diversity jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1332.
reviewed the complaint, the court is constrained to conclude
that it must be dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. To the extent Maines seeks to invoke the
court's diversity jurisdiction, she has failed to
demonstrate that complete diversity of citizenship exists
between the parties as required by § 1332. To the
contrary, the civil cover sheet indicates that the plaintiff