United States District Court, E.D. New York
April 8, 2005.
GREGORY ACKERS, Plaintiff,
UNITED NATIONS; KOFI ANNAAN; KOJO ANNAAN; BENON SEVAN; COTECNA; FRANCE et al.; RUSSIA et al.; CHINA et al.; SADDAM HUSSEIN; IRAQUI BAATH PTY., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDERIC BLOCK, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff files the present action pro se on behalf of a
class of persons alleging that the United Nations's "Oil for
Food" program led to war and the reconstruction of Iraq which, to
date, "has cost U.S. taxpayers 200 billion [dollars]"; plaintiff
seeks 600 billion dollars in damages.*fn1 See Compl. at
3-4. The Court grants plaintiff's request to proceed in forma
pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, but dismisses the action
because the plaintiff lacks standing. DISCUSSION
In reviewing plaintiff's complaint, the Court is mindful that
because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, his submissions should
be held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers[,]" Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980);
McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197 (2d Cir. 2004); "the
obligation to read the pleadings of a pro se plaintiff
liberally and interpret them to raise the strongest arguments
that they suggest, extends to the question of standing. . . ."
Lerman v. Board of Elections in City of N.Y., 232 F.3d 135, 142
n. 8 (2d Cir. 2000) (internal citations and quotations omitted).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), however, a district court shall
dismiss an in forma pauperis action where it is satisfied that
the action is "(i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a
claim on which relief can be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief."
"In order to have standing under Article III, [the plaintiff]
must demonstrate that (1) [he] has suffered an injury in fact
that is concrete and particularized as well as actual or
imminent, rather than conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury
is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct; and (3) it is
likely, rather than merely speculative, that the injury will be
redressed by a favorable decision." Lerman, 232 F.3d at 142.
Although the Court recognizes that the plaintiff has concerns
about the implementation of the Oil for Food program and the war
and reconstruction in Iraq, he has not alleged that he has
suffered an injury in fact from the program; the only conceivable
injury that the plaintiff may have suffered stems from his role
as a United States taxpayer. Standing as a taxpayer, however, is permissible under very
The nexus demanded of federal taxpayers has two
aspects to it. First, the taxpayer must establish a
logical link between that status and the type of
legislative enactment attacked. Thus, a taxpayer will
be a proper party to allege the unconstitutionality
only of exercises of congressional power under the
taxing and spending clause of Art. I, s 8, of the
Constitution. It will not be sufficient to allege an
incidental expenditure of tax funds in the
administration of an essentially regulatory
statute. . . . Secondly, the taxpayer must establish a
nexus between that status and the precise nature of
the constitutional infringement alleged. Under this
requirement, the taxpayer must show that the
challenged enactment exceeds specific constitutional
limitations imposed upon the exercise of the
congressional taxing and spending power and not
simply that the enactment is generally beyond the
powers delegated to Congress by Art. I, s 8.
Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83
, 102-03 (1968) (internal citations
and quotations omitted); see also Board of Educ. of Mt. Sinai
Union Free School Dist. v. New York State Teachers Retirement
System, 60 F.3d 106, 110 (2d Cir. 1995). Plaintiff cannot
establish the first aspect of the nexus requirement because he
challenges actions by the United Nations not by Congress.
Since the Court finds that the plaintiff failed to allege a
basis for standing, it does not have subject matter jurisdiction
to hear this case. See In re United States Catholic Conference,
885 F.2d at 1023 ("when a plaintiff lacks standing to bring suit,
a court has no subject matter jurisdiction over the case").
Whereas, ordinarily, the Court would allow plaintiff an
opportunity to amend his complaint, see Cruz v. Gomez, 202 F.3d 593 (2d Cir.
2000), it need not afford that opportunity here where it is clear
from the face of the complaint that the Court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction. Accordingly, plaintiff's complaint is
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R. Civ.
P. 12(h)(3). For the purpose of an appeal, the Court certifies
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that any appeal from this
order would not be taken in good faith. See Coppedge v. United
States, 369 U.S. 438, 444-45 (1962).