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Ketchmark v. Brown-Williamson Tobacco Corp.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

August 16, 2018

TRUMAN LEE KETCHMARK, Plaintiff,
v.
BROWN-WILLIAMSON TOBACCO CORPORATION Defendant.

          ORDER DECLINING TO FILE PROPOSED AMENDED COMPLAINT SUBJECT TO PREFILING REVIEW ORDER

          Alan C. Kay, Sr. United States District Judge.

         On February 2, 2018, Plaintiff Truman Lee Ketchmark (“Ketchmark”) filed a complaint in Hawaii state court. Compl., ECF No. 1-2. Defendant Brown-Williamson Tobacco Corporation (“Defendant” or “BWTC”)[1] removed the original complaint on March 1, 2018. Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1. The original complaint attempted to state claims against BWTC “and all other tobacco companies responsible et al. and et cetra” for injuries suffered by (and in some cases, the deaths of) Ketchmark and his “heirs and assigns.” Compl., ECF No. 1-2 at p. 1.

         On March 8, 2018, BWTC moved to dismiss the original complaint. Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 5. On July 17, 2018, the Court held a hearing on BWTC's Motion to Dismiss and entered an Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Truman Lee Ketchmark's Complaint Filed on March 1, 2018 (“July 17, 2018 Order”). ECF No. 21. The July 17, 2018 Order required that Ketchmark file any amended complaint “within thirty days of the entry of this Order or judgment will be entered against him. . . . Additionally, any amended complaint Plaintiff files pro se in this Court will be subject to the Pre-Filing Review Order, ECF No. 14, entered in Ketchmark v. Obama, Civ. No. 10-00725 DAE-LEK (D. Haw. Feb. 24, 2011).” July 17, 2018 Order at p. 19.

         On June 10, 2018, Ketchmark, pro se, filed a document entitled: “A More Definite Statement and Motion For: [sic] Removal of this Case to Arbitration.” (“Amended Complaint”). ECF No. 23. The Court construes this document as a proposed Amended Complaint subject to the Pre-Filing Review Order.

         After careful review, the Court finds that the factual allegations in the proposed Amended Complaint fail to state a viable claim. Pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007), the factual allegations in a complaint, assuming them to be true, must possess enough “heft” to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“[T]he pleading standard Rule announces does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully- harmed-me accusation”). A complaint is required to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677.

         Here, the proposed Amended Complaint wholly lacks a cognizable legal theory and sufficient factual allegations to support a cognizable legal theory. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). The proposed Amended Complaint includes a host of seemingly disconnected “allegations, ” making it “difficult to discern what relief [Ketchmark's] Complaint seeks from whom.” Ketchmark v. Williamson Tobacco Company et al., Civ. No. 17-00260 SOM-KSC (D. Haw. June 8, 2017), ECF No. 5-6, at pp. 3-4. For example, the proposed Amended Complaint contains the following allegations, among others:[2]

[1.] The priests' military security guards, & body guards captured Jesus, and handed him to King Herod, said to be a Saudi Arabian, his security guards, and police, who handed him- to Governor Pontius Pilot's police, and military, & body guards as an example. I would like to send more than shoe boxes to our disaster areas such as Kalapana Gardens and now Leilani Estates. . . .
[2.] I have been arrested 5 or more times to have my blood tested or stolen against my will or religion in the state of Washington and Medicare did not pay all my expenses. They keep me a week to 10 days in the hospital for a cool down period so I do not kill my wife, Donna, for calling the Health Department - who calls the police with handcuffs to kidnap me and hold me hostage, and steal my blood. All blood tests were exactly correct - my wife had nothing to worry about, except for how to alienate me and destroy our partnership by way of a dissolution. . . .
[3.] I find it a horror story to have to go through x-ray machines. I tell my dentist the same thing. When I worked for Clarke County Savings and Loan in Camas Washington, I had a Chairman of the Board of Directors who was a retire dentist. He had no thumbs. He used to hold the plates in his patients mouth with his thumbs. Each side.. He obtained cancer of the thumbs and had them amputated.

ECF No. 23 at pp. 2, 9, 10. Because the proposed Amended Complaint plainly fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, the court declines to file it pursuant to the Pre-Filing Review Order, ECF No. 14, entered in Ketchmark v. Obama, Civ. No. 10-00725 DAE-LEK (D. Haw. Feb. 24, 2011).

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

---------

Notes:

[1] R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company is the successor-in-interest to Defendant Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company's United States tobacco business. Def.'s Mem., ECF No. 5-1, at p. 1. Effective July 30, 2004, Reynolds American, Inc. acquired the stock of Brown & Williamson USA, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, which owned the assets of Brown & Williamson's United States tobacco business. Id. at p. 1 n.1. Thereafter, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company merged into Brown & Williamson USA, Inc., which was then renamed R.J. Reynolds Tobacco ...


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