United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division
MICHAEL D. WILTFONG Plaintiff,
CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF ACCOUNTANCY, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING CAUSE
MARTINEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
day, the Court considered pro se Plaintiff Michael D.
Wiltfong's [hereinafter "Plaintiff] revised
"Complaint" (ECF No. 13) [hereinafter "Revised
Complaint"], filed on January 16, 2018, in the
above-captioned cause. For the foregoing reasons, the Court
will dismiss Plaintiffs Complaint for failure to allege
plausible facts and sufficient jurisdictional information.
November 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed a "Motion to Proceed
in Forma Pauperis" (ECF No. 1). The Court denied this
motion on November 29, 2017. On December 7, 2017, Plaintiff
paid the civil filing fee in order to file his initial
complaint. However, upon reviewing Plaintiffs first attempted
complaint, the Court noted concerns and ordered Plaintiff to
file a more definite complaint. Order, Dec. 8, 2017, ECF No.
5. Specifically, the Court questioned its jurisdiction to
hear the case and was concerned that Plaintiff failed to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
Id. Before the District Clerk issued summonses, the
Court stayed this cause pending the filing of a more definite
instead of bolstering his initial complaint, Plaintiff
attempted to file a sealed "Answer" that provided
further details regarding his claims. Mot. for Leave, Dec.
18, 2017, ECF No. 10. The Court denied that motion and again
ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint. Order, Jan.
4, 2018, ECF No. 11. In that Order, the Court included
guidance to Plaintiff regarding stating a claim in federal
court, pleading with specificity, and alleging a plausible
set of facts. Id. at 4-7. Further, the Court
directed Plaintiff to detail specifically how each one of the
127 defendants he named in the complaint "are
responsible for each of the described harms."
Id. at 6.
response, on January 16, 2018, Plaintiff filed the Revised
Complaint presently before the Court. The Complaint includes
numerous photographs and internet screen-captures, and a
spreadsheet of the names and addresses of the roughly 120
defendants Plaintiff is attempting to sue. The thrust of the
Complaint, as conveyed through a lengthy biographical
narrative, is that the defendants are engaged in an unlawful
cartel whose purpose is to manipulate the accounting market.
Plaintiff claims the cartel has unlawfully prevented him from
obtaining an accounting license, which he claims was
improperly revoked by a state licensing agency. Beyond that,
Plaintiff lists numerous grievances against the accounting
industry including the lack of effective oversight of major
accounting firms, conflicts of interest in the leadership of
the industry, lack of due process in the state licensing
process, and failure to enforce all of its rules and
regulations in an evenhanded manner.
jurisdiction, Plaintiff asserts a federal question by
alleging that the cartel has violated federal laws including
the Sherman Act and the RICO Act. In addition, Plaintiff
claims the cartel has deprived him of "due process,
" "free[dom] to contract, " and "free
speech, " and has engaged in "discrimination"
on the basis of "race and age." Compl. 33. For the
reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss Plaintiffs
Complaint for failure to state claim and failure to
demonstrate that federal-question jurisdiction exists in this
FAILURE TO STATE
CLAIM A. Legal Standard
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court may
dismiss an action for "failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted." In determining whether a
plaintiff states a valid claim, a court "accept[s] all
well-pleaded facts as true and view[s] those facts in the
light most favorable to the plaintiffs." Gonzalez v.
Kay, 577 F.3d 600, 603 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Dorsey v. Portfolio Equities, Inc., 540 F.3d 333,
338 (5th Cir. 2008)).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'"
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). "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. A pleading
that offers mere "labels and conclusions'. . . will
not do, " especially when it simply tenders
"'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further
factual enhancement.'" Id. (second
alteration in original) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555, 557).
Court will accept all well-pleaded facts in the Revised
Complaint as true, and liberally construe the Revised
Complaint in accordance with standard practice for pro se
litigants. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). However, even after doing so, the Court concludes
that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim on which the Court
can grant relief.
when asserting an antitrust claim, a plaintiff "cannot
assemble some collection of defendants and then make vague,
non-specific allegations against all of them as a
group." SD3, LLC v. Black & Decker (U.S.)
Inc.,801 F.3d 412, 422 (4th Cir. 2015), as amended on
reh'g in part (Oct. 29, 2015), cert, denied, 136 S.Ct.
2485 (2016). Instead, a "complaint must 'specify how
these defendants [were] involved in the alleged conspiracy,
' without relying on 'indeterminate assertions'
against all 'defendants.'" Id. (citing
In re Travel Agent Comm'n Antitrust Litig, 583
F.3d 896, 905 (6th Cir. 2009)); see also In re Elevator
Antitrust Litig,502 F.3d 47, 50 (2d Cir. 2007)
(expressing a similar rule where the plaintiffs complaint was
pleaded "in entirely general terms without any