Unpublished Disposition, 852 F.2d 572 (9th Cir. 1988)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 852 F.2d 572 (9th Cir. 1988)

Fredric R. NICKEL, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.Larry REED, John Lowe, Harold Merrill, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 86-4189.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted May 23, 1988.Decided June 30, 1988.* 

Before BARNES, KILKENNY and GOODWIN, Circuit Judges.


Fredric R. Nickel appeals the dismissal of his civil rights action. Nickel sued some 40 police officers, county officials, and judges for their roles in arresting, prosecuting, and convicting him of numerous violations of Oregon traffic laws.

The complaint did not contain a short and plain statement of the plaintiff's claims. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) and (e). The district court dismissed for the failure to comply with Rule 8, but we need not decide whether it abused its discretion. See Nevijel v. North Coast Life Ins. Co., 651 F.2d 671, 673-74 (9th Cir. 1981).

Although Nickel's pro se complaint is verbose, ambiguous and conclusory, the district court also could have granted summary judgment against Nickel because the court had no subject matter jurisdiction.

This court may affirm the district court's judgment on any ground supported by the record. Vernon v. Heckler, 811 F.2d 1274, 1277 (9th Cir. 1987). We affirm because the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

Nickel's claims are predicated on his contention that the State of Oregon may not regulate his operation of a motor vehicle or prosecute him for traffic offenses because he is a "natural person" who has voluntarily rescinded all contractual relations with the state. It is well established that a state may pass and enforce laws regulating the operation of motor vehicles. See Hendrick v. Maryland, 235 U.S. 610, 622 (1915). Nickel's claims are wholly insubstantial and frivolous. See Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528, 536-37 (1974). Federal courts have no jurisdiction to enjoin the enforcement of state traffic laws, in the absence of explicit congressional authorization, or to preserve federal jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. § 2283 (1982), and a complaint for damages must state a claim, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b) (6). The complaint in this case stated no claim.

The judgment is affirmed with double costs to the appellees for a frivolous appeal.


This panel unanimously agrees that this case is appropriate for submission without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a) and Ninth Circuit Rule 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3