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Jackson v. County of Maricopa

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 17, 2014

Anthony Dean Jackson, Plaintiff,
v.
County of Maricopa, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

EILEEN S. WILLETT, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the Court are various motions filed by Plaintiff Anthony Jackson and one motion filed by Defendant Maricopa County. No further briefing is pending or necessitated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. After careful consideration of all information presented, the Court has ruled on the following motions: (i) Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 6); (ii) Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 11); (iii) Defendant Maricopa County's Motion to Dismiss for Failure ot [sic] State a Claim (Doc. 12); (iv) Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (The Sequel) (Doc. 14); and (v) Plaintiff's Motion for Discovery (Doc. 17). Consents to the exercise of jurisdiction by a U.S. Magistrate Judge have been filed by all appearing parties (Docs. 5, 9, and 10).

BACKGROUND

On June 9, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Petition for an Injunction (Doc. 1) seeking an injunction against Maricopa County and Maricopa County Superior Court for alleged harassment and defamation arising from Plaintiff's criminal conviction and sentence entered in 1996 in Maricopa County Superior Court Case No. CR1995-008205. Plaintiff has served his full sentence. However, Plaintiff argues that he should not have been convicted of the crimes for which the jury found him guilty. Plaintiff alleges that the existence of his conviction constitutes harassment and defamation for which Defendants should be liable.

On August 18, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 6) requesting that his criminal convictions be dismissed or reversed and remanded for a new criminal trial and that he be reimbursed court costs of $7, 000.00 because Defendants have not filed an Answer. Defendant Maricopa County filed a Notice of Appearance and Notice Regarding Failure to Properly Serve Complaint on August 25, 2014 (Doc. 7). A Waiver of Service of Summons (Doc. 3) was filed unsigned on June 10, 2014.

In response to Defendant Maricopa County's Notice Regarding Failure to Properly Serve Complaint (Doc. 7), Plaintiff filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 11) on September 8, 2014. Plaintiff asserts that since Defendant received the Waiver (Doc. 3), Defendant has a duty to waive service. Plaintiff indicates that Plaintiff "has no intentions of spending $75 or sending the clerk a summons for its signature or the Court's seal." Instead, Plaintiff requests that the Court find Defendant Maricopa County in contempt of Court, order the County Attorney to serve seven days in jail, and grant Plaintiff's Petition for an Injunction (Doc. 11 at p. 5).

Defendant Maricopa County responded to Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 11) in its Response to Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 13) filed September 12, 2014. Plaintiff's reply is contained in his Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (The Sequel) (Doc. 14) filed September 22, 2014. The Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 6) and Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 11) are deemed submitted.

Defendant Maricopa County filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure ot [sic] State a Claim (Doc. 12) on September 12, 2014. Plaintiff responded to the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 12) in his Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (The Sequel) (Doc. 14) filed on September 22, 2014. Defendant Maricopa County filed a Reply in Support of Defendant Maricopa County's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 15) on September 30, 2014. The Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 12) is deemed submitted.

DISCUSSION

I. Defendant Maricopa County's Motion to Dismiss is Granted

A. Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

In its Motion to Dismiss for Failure ot [sic] State a Claim (Doc. 12), Defendant Maricopa County moves for dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court will first consider this motion because a finding that the court lacks jurisdiction would render all other objections and defenses moot, including the defense of sovereign immunity. 5B C. Wright and A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, ยง 1350 (3d ed. 2014); Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 523 U.S. 83, 84 (1998) (it is improper to decide the merits of a case before finding jurisdiction, even if the merits question is more readily resolved and the prevailing party on the merits would be the same as the prevailing party were jurisdiction denied).

Because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, a case presumably lies outside the jurisdiction of the federal courts unless proven otherwise. Kekkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time by either party or by the court. Augustine v. United States, 704 F.2d 1074, 1077 (9th Cir. 1983) (the defense of lack of subject matter may be raised at any time, and the court is under a continuing duty to examine its jurisdiction).

On a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof that jurisdiction exists. See, e.g., Sopcak v. Northern Mountain Helicopter Serv., 52 F.3d 817, 818 (9th Cir. 1995); Thornhill Pub. Co. v. General Tel. & Electronics Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir. 1979). Presuming its factual allegations to be true, the complaint must ...


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