Appeals from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Louisiana
OWEN, Chief Judge, and BARKSDALE and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges.
KYLE DUNCAN, Circuit Judge:
plaintiff, a lawyer who styles himself both a monarch and a
deity, brought claims on behalf of an Indian tribe alleging
that the defendants have, among other misdeeds, monopolized
"intergalactic foreign trade." The district court
dismissed the case based on sovereign immunity. We affirm on
the alternate basis that the plaintiff's claims are
frivolous and the district court therefore lacked
jurisdiction to entertain them. See Southpark Square Ltd.
v. City of Jackson, Miss., 565 F.2d 338, 344 (5th Cir.
action was originally brought as a habeas corpus proceeding
by Edward Moses, Jr., a lawyer who calls himself the trustee
of the "Atakapa Indian de Creole Nation." This
group is not a federally recognized Indian tribe, and its
precise nature is unclear. See Indian Entities
Recognized by and Eligible To Receive Services from the
United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, 84 Fed. Reg. 1200
(Feb. 1, 2019). The initial complaint alleged the Atakapa
"are being held as wards of the State through the
Louisiana Governor's Office of Indian Affairs" and
"in pupilage under the United States," and sought
formal recognition as "indigenous to Louisiana."
The claims were based on a gumbo of federal and state laws,
including eighteenth-century federal treaties with France and
Spain, as well as sources such as the "Pactum De
Singularis Caelum, [or] the Covenant of One Heaven." The
plaintiff subsequently filed something resembling an amended
complaint, which sought to reclassify the action as a
"libel suit" under maritime jurisdiction.
United States and Louisiana moved to dismiss, arguing the
district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The
magistrate judge recommended granting the motion. The
plaintiff objected and moved to file a second amended
complaint, alleging jurisdiction under federal antitrust laws
and Title VII. The district court dismissed the action for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. It also denied the
plaintiff's separate motions for new trial and
reconsideration, for leave to file a third amended complaint,
and for an emergency injunction. Finally, the court issued an
order finding the plaintiff's filings "constitute[d]
potential violations under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11
that would require an imposition of sanctions by this Court
on Plaintiff's counsel."
plaintiff appeals the dismissal of his claims as well as the
denial of various motions. The appeals have been
review de novo the district court's dismissal
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Rothe Dev., Inc.
v. U.S. Dep't of Def., 666 F.3d 336, 338 (5th Cir.
2011) (citation omitted).
district court dismissed on sovereign immunity grounds, but
we need not go that far to resolve this appeal. The
plaintiffs claims are entirely frivolous and the district
court therefore lacked power to entertain them.
claims are "so insubstantial, implausible, . . . or
otherwise completely devoid of merit as not to involve a
federal controversy." See Oneida Indian Nation of
N.Y. v. Oneida Cty., 414 U.S. 661, 666 (1974). Federal
courts lack power to entertain these "wholly
insubstantial and frivolous" claims. Southpark
Square, 565 F.2d at 343-44. Determining whether a claim
is "wholly insubstantial and frivolous" requires
asking whether it is "obviously without merit" or
whether the claim's "unsoundness so clearly results
from the previous decisions of (the Supreme Court) as to
foreclose the subject." Id. at 342.
we can find no Supreme Court precedent controlling or even
addressing the plaintiffs exotic claims. We must therefore
ask: are the claims ...