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Downey v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

October 31, 2019

MARK DOWNEY, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Mark Downey, an individual with a mailing address in McLean Virginia, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action. Having reviewed plaintiff's financial information, the Court will grant the motion. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b).

         Standard on Initial Review

         Because plaintiff is declared indigent under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the Court is required to dismiss his claims if they are frivolous or otherwise do not state a legally cognizable cause of action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). To state a claim for relief, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 679. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679.

         When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff has filed this eighty-one page civil complaint against the “United States of America & et al.” At various points in his complaint he names as defendants William Barr, Jeffrey B. Jenson, and Timothy C. Wentworth (CEO, Express Scripts). This complaint was one of at least forty-one such complaints plaintiff filed against the United States in the district courts throughout the nation in June, July, and August 2019.[1]

         As best the Court can discern, plaintiff seeks to file a qui tam action under “the False Claims Act and the Dodd Frank Act to recover numerous massive cost-overruns, excessive spending, delinquent accounts, fraud and undiscovered revenue recovery with the goal to eliminate the mounting $21 Trillion Federal Budget Deficit for our Children's Children.” He states that he spent five years, working fifteen-hour days with no compensation to balance the federal budget. But, the United States “orchestrated a war” and the IRS “annulated his massive, unselfish, generous, extraordinary accomplishments which would have resulted in a Worldwide Economic Explosion.” He states that the federal government rejected his proposals and destroyed many of the documents he submitted. He lists three pages of civil and criminal statutes that he alleges the United States has violated, .

         For relief, plaintiff seeks more than $2, 000 billion in damages.


         The Court finds that plaintiff's allegations are frivolous, and will dismiss the complaint for this reason under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). First, plaintiff cannot bring a qui tam action without representation. A litigant may bring his own claims to federal court without counsel, but not the claims of others. See 28 U.S.C. § 1654; see also U.S. ex rel. Brooks v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 237 Fed.Appx. 802, 803 (4th Cir. 2007) (“A lay person may not bring a qui tam action under the False Claim Act. . . . [T]he United States is the real party in interest, and the need for adequate legal representation on behalf of the United States counsels against permitting pro se suits.”) (internal citations omitted); see also 7A Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 3d § 1769.1 (“class representatives cannot appear pro se.”).

         To the extent plaintiff attempts to state a claim under the Dodd-Frank Act, this statute permits suits by whistleblowers regarding “information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the [SEC], in a manner established, by rule or regulation, by the [SEC].” 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(a)(6). Plaintiff has alleged no basis for a claim under the Dodd-Frank Act.

         Additionally, the complaint does not comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Federal Rule 8(a)(2) requires a complaint include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” And Rule 10(b) requires a party to state its claims “in numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a statement of a single set of circumstances.” Plaintiff brings his complaint in forty-five counts, which span eighty-one pages. The complaint does not contain a short and plain statement showing that plaintiff is entitled to relief. The allegations are not simple, concise, or direct. And there are no numbered paragraphs. The complaint is subject to dismissal under Rule 41(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).

         Finally, plaintiff attempts to bring various claims against the United States under federal criminal statutes. To the extent that plaintiff is requesting this Court to initiate federal charges against itself or other defendants, the request is frivolous. Initiation of a federal criminal prosecution is a discretionary decision within the Executive Branch and is not subject to judicial ...

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