United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE
Bruce Howard Bryant filed this civil rights action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds pro se and
in forma pauperis ("IFP"). The case is
before the Court for pre-service screening pursuant to the
IFP statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i-iii). The Court
must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it
contains claims that: (a) are frivolous or malicious; (b)
fail to state claims upon which relief may be granted; or,
(c) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff alleges he is a "pre-1933
private American national citizen of the United States"
residing in Kingman, Arizona. He has named as Defendants
Pacific Investment Management Company, LLC, John P. Hardaway,
Brent R. Harris, Robert D. Arnott, and Christopher J.
Brightman. Plaintiff does not allege the citizenship of any
of the named Defendants.
maintains the Court has jurisdiction over this case by virtue
of Article III, Section 2, Clause 1 of the United States
to the allegations of the Complaint, President Franklin D.
Roosevelt, in his capacity as Commander in Chief, declared a
national emergency on March 6, 1933, under a World War I
statute known as the Trading with the Enemy Act. On March 9,
1933, Congress passed an Emergency Banking Relief Act.
Plaintiff alleges that the Emergency Banking Relief Act
amended the Trading with the Enemy Act, making every person
in the United States, or subject to the jurisdiction thereof,
an enemy. Every "enemy" was subject to the military
jurisdiction of the United States and could be given
"military due process of law with flags that are in fact
military colors on display in every federal district court
and state court of the 'United States.'"
Id. at 4. Plaintiff further alleges that he is now a
"Beneficiary, the Defendant the Trustee of a[n] express
trust, under the great Grantor Trust of Protestant and
Baptist American liberty known as the 'Constitution for
the United States of America.'" Id. at 6.
He demands a "full accounting of all assets and property
regarding CUSIP#72200Q1821.. .TREASURY POST REGISTERED
ACCOUNT 700125102710 4728, Arkansas UCC Financing statement
#03-1259035411 and 5; 92 CR50020-ALL" Id. at 7.
He also contends that Pacific Investment Management Company
is trading his property "using CUSIP: 72200Q182."
Id. at 8. He asks that Pacific Investment Management
Company be ordered to appear in person and answer for the
breach of trust. Plaintiff does not mention the other named
Defendants in the body of the Complaint.
Court is obligated to screen a case prior to service of
process being issued. A claim is frivolous when it
"lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact."
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A
claim fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Court
bears in mind, however, that when "evaluating whether a
pro se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to
state a claim, we hold 'a pro se complaint,
however inartfully pleaded, ... to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'"
Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Erickson v. Partus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See, e.g.,
Godfrey v. Pulitzer Publ'g Co., 161 F.3d 1137, 1141
(8th Cir. 1998). Generally, the federal district courts may
only exercise jurisdiction over cases in which diversity of
citizenship exists and the requisite amount in controversy is
involved and those cases in which a federal question is
presented; that is, those cases involving violations of
federal constitutional or statutory law. See, e.g., Sw.
Bell Tel. Co. v. Connect Commc'ns Corp., 225 F.3d
942, 945 (8th Cir. 2000). "The requirement that
jurisdiction be established as a threshold matter
'spring[s] from the nature and limits of the judicial
power of the United States' and is 'inflexible and
without exception."' Steel Co. v. Citizens for a
Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83 (1998)(quoting
Mansfield, C.&L.M.R. Co. v. Swan, 111 U.S. 379,
382 (1884)) (alteration in original)). If it appears that
jurisdiction is lacking, the Court will raise the issue
sua sponte. Dieserv. Continental Cas. Co., 440 F.3d
920, 923 (8th Cir. 2006).
Plaintiff alleges that Article III, Section 2, Clause 1 of
the Constitution provides jurisdiction. Article III does not
vest jurisdiction in the inferior courts. As the Supreme
Court stated in Kline v. Burke Const Co., 260 U.S.
[t]he effect of these provisions is not to vest jurisdiction
in the inferior courts over the designated cases and
controversies but to delimit those in respect of which
Congress may confer jurisdiction upon such courts as it
creates. Only the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is
derived directly from the Constitution. Every other court
created by the general government derives its jurisdiction
wholly from the authority of Congress.
Id. at 233-34. Plaintiff must therefore point to
some statutory grant of jurisdiction over his case.
has not alleged the necessary requirements for diversity of
citizenship. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The parties must be of
diverse citizenship and the amount in controversy must exceed
the sum or value of $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
Plaintiff has not alleged the citizenship of any of the
must therefore point to some statutory grant of federal
question jurisdiction over his case. The federal district
courts are vested with jurisdiction over "all civil
actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. "The
presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is
governed by the 'well pleaded complaint rule, ' which
provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal
question is present on the face of the plaintiffs properly
pleaded complaint." Caterpillar, Inc. v.