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Johnson v. United States

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

December 19, 2019

JEFFREY L.G. JOHNSON, et al., Plaintiffs,
UNITED STATES, et al., Defendants.



         This fee-paid case filed by self-represented plaintiffs Jeffrey L.G. Johnson and Joseph Johnson (“Plaintiffs”) is before the Court on the following motions: Defendant United States' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Defendant City of St. Louis, Missouri's Motion to Dismiss, Defendant Rajesh Subramaniam's Motion to Dismiss, and Defendant Andrew Berg's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction. Plaintiffs oppose the motions to dismiss and have filed numerous motions for default judgment against various defendants, a motion for sanctions against the Clerk of the Court, and motions for discovery. For the following reasons, the Court dismisses this action with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and denies Plaintiffs' motions as moot.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This is the fifth action filed with respect to the same subject matter by Plaintiffs together, separately, or with other plaintiffs. In the four prior suits Plaintiffs were self-represented and sought leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Each prior case was dismissed by the Court on one of the grounds specified in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Johnson, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 4:19-CV-1694 ERW (E.D. Mo. July 8, 2019) (filed by both Plaintiffs; finding Plaintiffs' allegations “clearly baseless” and dismissing case as “factually frivolous” pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)); Johnson, et al. v. United States, et al., No: 4:12-CV-2155 AGF (E.D. Mo. Dec. 12, 2012) (filed by Plaintiff Joseph Johnson and others; finding complaint “incoherent” and its allegations as “wholly delusional” and dismissing case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)); Johnson, et al. v. United States, et al., 4:12-CV-896 JAR (E.D. Mo. May 23, 2012) (filed by both Plaintiffs; finding the complaint “nothing more than a tirade of nonsensical accusations concerning Plaintiffs' dissatisfaction with the outcome of their previous cases”[1] and finding the “main purpose of the instant lawsuit is not to rectify any cognizable harm, but only to harass and disparage the judges and lawyers who had anything to do with plaintiffs' previous litigation, and others who had nothing to do with the litigation;” dismissing case with prejudice under § 1915(e) as malicious); Johnson v. Obama, et al, No. 4:10-CV-2303 RWS (E.D. Mo. Dec. 14, 2010) (filed by plaintiff Jeffrey L.G. Johnson; finding complaint described “fantastic or delusional scenarios” or contained “fanciful factual allegations;” dismissing case under § 1915(e)(2)).

         This Court described the complaint in the first case Plaintiffs filed concerning the relevant subject matter, Johnson v. Obama, et al., No. 4:10-CV-2303 RWS, as follows:

Plaintiff, a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, purports to be an “executor.” He sues several categories of high-level government officials, including the current and former presidents of the United States, justices of the Supreme Court, speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives, attorneys general, directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and various others. Plaintiff summarizes his lengthy complaint as “charg[ing] the Defendants [with] knowingly and recklessly participating in a conspiracy with state actors of the State of Missouri in a scheme stemming from the initial defrauding of an estate, to executing a domestic surveillance and intercept program by the Defendant, (U.S.), under a shroud of secrecy by the federal Courts, the office of the Chief Executive of the President(s), the U.S. Congress and State actors of the State of Missouri from 1988-present.”

Johnson v. Obama, et al., No. 4:10-CV-2303, Mem. and Order of Dec. 14, 2010, Doc. 6 at 1-2.

         The instant case, and the other prior cases listed above, contain similar allegations. Here, the Complaint is 84 pages long and names 200 defendants as well as “Unknown Does.” Plaintiffs caption their Complaint “In re: Estate of P.D. & Vandelia W. Johnson, ” describe themselves as Jeffrey L.G. Johnson, “Executor, ” and Joseph Johnson, “Estate's Legal Proxy” and assert in a footnote that additional plaintiffs are P.D. Johnson, Vandelia Johnson, and six other named persons “in re Estate No. 3-87-0974-P-D.” Complaint at 11, n.1. The Complaint asserts that both federal question and diversity of citizenship jurisdiction exist and references numerous federal civil statutes and criminal statutes, the Missouri Constitution, and various Missouri criminal and civil statutes.

         The first paragraph of the Complaint states that Plaintiffs including estate members “petition joinder and remedy those similar circumstanced under Title III surveillance seek relief under the 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 1866 Civil Rights Act, 14 Stat. Sec. 27-30, Title VII 1964 Civil Rights Act §§ 2000e et seq. 42, Federal Tort Claims Act, (“FTCA”), and 28 S (sic) 1981[.]” Complaint at 12. A later paragraph in the Complaint titled “Background” states:

*State of Missouri probate proceeding No. 3-87-0974-P-D morphs into Title III surveillance, eavesdropping, and interception program by the United States and State of Missouri, with mitigating criminal violations of human rights under international law, and murder of a U.S. citizen by an employee of a Foreign City, State [Vatican] whose sovereign immunity waived 28 U.S.C.A. 1601 et seq.

Complaint at 42.

         Plaintiffs later filed a Court-provided civil complaint form (Doc. 4) that refers back to the original complaint for all of its legal and factual allegations except for the following at Section III, Statement of Claim: “Inter alia defendants acting ‘collectively' inter alia continues to violate plaintiffs' civil rights Fourth Amendment (see complaint filed 8/9/2019).” Doc. 4 at 5. Although Document 4 was docketed by the Clerk of the Court as an Amended Complaint, the Court will liberally construe it as a supplement to the original Complaint. Plaintiffs also filed a “Petition for Relief and Statement of Defendants' Capacity” (Doc. 5) that the Court will consider as a supplement to the original Complaint.

         Defendants include many high-level government officials, including the current and former presidents of the United States, current and former justices of the Supreme Court, U.S. House and Senate leaders, the U.S. Department of Justice and certain of its officials, various federal agencies and certain of their directors and employees, including the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, and others; current and former Eighth Circuit, Federal Circuit and District of Columbia Circuit judges, District of Columbia federal judges, other federal courts and judges, and most of the judges of this Court; the Social Security Administration, its commissioner and some of its judges and administrators; the State of Missouri, its current and one former governor, the Missouri Attorney General's Office and personnel, the Missouri General Assembly, Missouri Supreme Court and certain judges thereof; St. Louis County, Missouri, and some county officials, the Circuit Court of St. Louis County; the City of St. Louis, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office, the St. Louis City Medical Examiner's Office, the St. Louis City Circuit Court/Probate Division and certain judges and former judges thereof; the Vatican; and the presidents and/or CEOs of Federal Express Corporation, AT&T Communications, Verizon Communications, Charter Communication, Angelica Corporation. Some of the named Defendants are deceased, including Ronald Reagan and Thurgood Marshall.

         II. STANDARD

         “To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the complaint must show the plaintiff ‘is entitled to relief,' Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), by alleging ‘sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” In re Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litig., 860 F.3d 1059, 1063 (8th Cir. 2017) (en banc) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         In reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true all factual allegations in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. The complaint “must allege more than ‘[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements[;]'” and instead must “allege sufficient facts that, taken as true, ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” K.T. v. Culver-Stockton Coll., 865 F.3d 1054, 1057 (8th Cir. 2017) (first alteration in original) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court need not accept as true a plaintiff's conclusory allegations or legal conclusions drawn from the facts. Waters v. Madson, 921 F.3d 725, 734 (8th Cir. 2019).

         Pleadings filed by self-represented persons are to be liberally construed and are held to less stringent standards than those drafted by an attorney. Smith v. St. Bernards Reg'l Med. Ctr., 19 F.3d 1254, 1255 (8th Cir. 1994). Nonetheless, such pleadings must not be conclusory and must state sufficient facts which, when taken as true, support the claims advanced. Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004). The Court “will not supply additional facts, nor will [it] construct a legal theory for plaintiff that assumes facts that have not been pleaded.” Id. (quoted case omitted).


         A. City of St. Louis, Missouri's Motion to Dismiss

         The City of St. Louis, Missouri (“City”) moves to dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 12(b)(6) on three grounds. The City argues that the Complaint: (1) is barred by the principal of res judicata based on this Court's dismissal of plaintiffs' prior similar case, Johnson, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 4:19-CV-1964 ERW (E.D. Mo.); (2) fails to comply with Rule 8 of the FRCP because it does not contain a short and plain statement of the claim and instead contains “various incomprehensible allegations;” and (3) fails to state a claim against the City upon which relief may be granted because it is devoid of any factual allegations sufficient to state a claim against the City on any viable legal theory.

         In the interests of judicial economy, the Court will address the City's third argument, that the Complaint fails to state a claim against the City upon which relief may be granted.[2] The Complaint is lengthy and contains many statements of general legal principles, quotations from cases, references to statutes, and recitations of legal jargon and conclusions. The Complaint refers repeatedly to unfavorable outcomes with respect to a probate court case filed in 1988 and subsequent civil actions filed by Plaintiffs, and allegations that judges and courts treated them unfairly and/or illegally. The Complaint contains many references to “Title III surveillance” and “Title III spying” that Plaintiffs allege the various Defendants conspired to promote and/or conceal from Plaintiffs.

         The only facts, as opposed to legal conclusions, alleged in the complaint as to the City are that in 1988, Plaintiffs met with the City's former Medical Examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, and informed him that St. Louis University Hospital conducted an autopsy on Vandelia W. Johnson in violation of state law. Plaintiffs allege Dr. Graham stated, “that is not unusual, ” which was false because Graham knew or should have know that all suspicious deaths occurring at medical facilities within the City fell under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner's Office for investigation. Plaintiffs also informed Dr. Graham that a second autopsy report was generated without the hospital being in possession of the body, the report disclosed “the theft of human remains by the hospital, ” and Graham did not investigate the suspicious death at the hospital. Plaintiffs ...

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