United States District Court, S.D. New York
June 16, 2004.
GEORGE PIECZENIK, Plaintiff,
CAMBRIDGE ANTIBODY TECHNOLOGY GROUP, DOMANTIS, MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL-LABORATORY OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, THE COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS AND TRADEMARKS OF THE UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE, AN AGENCY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, and THE COMMISSIONER OF FOOD AND DRUGS, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
In a lawsuit that was dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction on sovereign immunity grounds, pro se plaintiff
George Pieczenik sued the Commissioners of the United States
Patent and Trademark Office and the Food and Drug Administration.
See Pieczenik v. Cambridge Antibody Tech. Group, No. 03 Civ.
6336, 2004 WL 1118500 (S.D.N.Y. May 14, 2004) (the "May 14
decision"). Pieczenik now moves for a "petition of right," "a
proceeding in chancery by which a subject claims that a debt is owed by the
Crown or that the Crown has broken a contract or wrongfully
detained the subject's property." Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed.
2004). However, "[t]he English remedies of petition of right,
monstrans de droit, and traverse of office, were never introduced
into this country as part of our common law." United States v.
Lee, 106 U.S. 196, 238-39 (1882) (Gray, J., dissenting); see
also Ruggiero v. Compania Peruana de Vapores Inca Capac
Yupanqui, 629 F.2d 872, 880 n. 10 (2d Cir. 1981) (Friendly, J.)
Nonetheless, the doctrine of sovereign immunity emerged
directly from the petition of right, see generally Lee, 106
U.S. at 205-06 (discussing petition of right and its link to
Congress' limited authorization of suit against United States);
see also John J. Gibbons, The Eleventh Amendment and State
Sovereign Immunity: A Reinterpretation, 83 Colum. L. Rev. 1889
(1983) (tracing the history of state sovereign immunity to the
petition of right), which as is the case with sovereign
immunity required the crown's consent to be sued. See Chisholm
v. Georgia, 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 419, 444 (1793) (Iredell, J.,
dissenting) ("[I]n all cases of petition of right, of whatever
nature is the demand, I think it is clear beyond all doubt, that
there must be some indorsement or order of the King himself to
warrant any further proceedings. The remedy, in the language of Blackstone, being a matter of grace, and not on compulsion.").
Pieczenik's request for a petition of right therefore raises the
same concerns, and requires the same resolution, as the May 14
decision. Because the United States has not waived its sovereign
immunity, Pieczenik's motion for a petition of right is DENIED.
Accordingly, the Clerk of the Court is direct to close this
motion [number 96 on the docket sheet], and Pieczenik is reminded
that this case is closed. See Pieczenik, 2004 WL 1118500, at
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