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PIECZENIK v. CAMBRIDGE ANTIBODY TECHNOLOGY GROUP

United States District Court, S.D. New York


June 16, 2004.

GEORGE PIECZENIK, Plaintiff,
v.
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.) (same).

  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 *7.

  SO ORDERED.

20040616

© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.



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