United States District Court, D. Montana
H. WHALEY SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are motions to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) filed by Defendants Steve
Bullock, Fred Simpson, Dana L. Christensen, Jeremiah C.
Lynch, Don Bell, Kimberly More, and J. Andrew Person. ECF
Nos. 4, 8, 10, 13, 22, 36. For the reasons discussed, the
Court grants the motions.
before the Court are Hartsoe's: (1) motion to vacate a
2011 state court order; (2) motion to call a federal grand
jury; (3) motion to declare defendants coconspirators; (4)
request for a criminal complaint to be filed against the
defendants; and (5) request for an evidentiary hearing
related to his allegations of violations of his rights during
his 2008 criminal and civil cases. ECF Nos. 24, 33, 35. For
the reasons discussed below, these motions and requests are
John Hartsoe, appearing pro se, commenced this action against
private individuals, state and local governmental employees,
and judicial officers for alleged violations of his rights
which purportedly occurred during the course of criminal
proceedings instituted against him in state court in 2008. He
also alleges Defendants are liable for violations of his
rights in relation to civil litigation stemming from marital
dissolution proceedings between he and Donna Heisel.
majority of Hartsoe's claims appear to allege specific
Defendants, while acting under color of state law, violated
his rights protected under the United States Constitution.
Thus, Hartsoe purports to advance federal claims which, if
viable, would invoke the Court's federal question
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. To the extent any
of Hartsoe's claims are asserted under the laws of the
State of Montana, the Court possesses supplemental
jurisdiction over those claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
civil action constitutes yet another installment in a
successive series of lawsuits Hartsoe has filed against many
others in state and federal courts for conduct related to the
same 2008 civil and criminal proceedings against Hartsoe.
Dana L. Christensen and Jeremiah C. Lynch move for dismissal
on the grounds of judicial immunity. Defendants Fred Simpson,
Kimberly More, and J. Andrew Person move for dismissal on the
grounds of lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Defendants
Fred Simpson, Don Bell, Kimberly More, Steve Bullock, Dana L.
Christensen and Jeremiah C. Lynch move for dismissal on the
grounds of failure to state a claim.
are "absolutely immune for judicial acts."
Simmons v. Sacramento County Superior Court, 318
F.3d 1156, 1161 (9th Cir. 2003). See also Mireles v.
Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991). The doctrine of judicial
immunity provides an immunity from suit, not just from an
assessment of damages. Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11.
are entitled to immunity "for their judicial acts, even
when such acts are in excess of their jurisdiction, and are
alleged to have been done maliciously or corruptly."
Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356 (1978) (quoting
Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 335, 351
(1871)). The necessary inquiry is whether the judge had
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action pending
before the judge. Sparkman, 435 U.S. at 356.
Judicial immunity is broadly construed, and a "judge
will not be deprived of immunity because the action he took
was in error, was done maliciously, or was in excess of his
authority; rather, he will be subject to liability only when
he has acted in the 'clear absence of all
jurisdiction.'" Sparkman, 435 U.S. at
356-57 (quoting Bradley, 80 U.S. at 351). Even
"grave procedural errors" do not deprive a judge of
immunity. Ashelman v. Page, 793 F.2d 1072, 1077 (9th
Cir. 1986) (citing Sparkman, 435 U.S. at 359)).
exceptions to judicial immunity are recognized only in two
limited situations: (1) where the judge's actions were
not taken in the judge's judicial capacity
(Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11 ("nonjudicial
actions")), and (2) where the judge has acted "in
the 'clear absence of all jurisdiction[.]'"
Sadoski v. Mosley, 435 F.3d 1076, 1079 (9th Cir.
2006) (quoting Sparkman, 435 U.S. at 356-57 and
Bradley, 80 U.S. at 351). "A clear absence of
all jurisdiction means a clear lack of all subject matter
jurisdiction[, ]" as distinguished from acts committed
merely in excess of jurisdiction. Miller v. Davis,
521 F.3d 1142, 1147 (9th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted).
Where "jurisdiction over the subject-matter is invested
by law in the judge, or in the court which he holds, the
manner and extent in which the jurisdiction shall be
exercised are generally as much questions for his
determination as any other questions involved in the
case[.]" Sparkman, 435 U.S. at 356 n.6 (quoting
Bradley, 80 U.S. at 351-52).
Jurisdiction - Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)
motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), is the
procedural rule for challenging the existence of a
court's jurisdiction. A defendant may pursue a Rule
12(b)(1) motion either as a facial challenge to the
jurisdictional allegations of a pleading, or as a substantive
challenge to the facts underlying those allegations.
Savage v. Glendale Union High School, Dist. No. 205,
Maricopa County, 343 F.3d 1036, 1039 n.2 (9th Cir.
2003). A facial challenge is one which contends the
allegations "are insufficient on their face to invoke
federal jurisdiction." Safe Air for Everyone v.
Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004).
success of a facial challenge to jurisdiction depends on the
allegations in the complaint, and does not involve the
resolution of a factual dispute. Wolfe v. Strankman,
392 F.3d 358, 362 (9th Cir. 2004). Therefore, in addressing a
facial challenge the court must assume the allegations in the
complaint are true, and it "must draw all reasonable
inferences in [plaintiffs] favor." Id. See also
Whisnant v. United States, 400 F.3d 1177, 1179 (9th Cir.
plaintiff bears the burden of proving the existence of
jurisdiction in response to a challenge under Rule 12(b)(1).
Kingman Reef Atoll Investments, L.L.C. v. United
States, 541 F.3d 1189, 1197 (9th Cir. 2008).
Failure to State a Claim - ...