Rosasen v. Kingdom of Nor., 2:21-cv-06811-JWH (SP)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
PartiesMARLON ABRAHAM ROSASEN, et al. v. KINGDOM OF NORWAY, et al.
Docket Number2:21-cv-06811-JWH (SP)
Decision Date10 February 2022

MARLON ABRAHAM ROSASEN, et al.
v.
KINGDOM OF NORWAY, et al.

No. 2:21-cv-06811-JWH (SP)

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 10, 2022


Present: The Honorable Sheri Pym, United States Magistrate Judge

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order to Show Cause Why the Case Should Not Be Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 20, 2021, plaintiff Marlon Abraham Rosasen filed a Motion for Default (docket no. 25), which the court considers in a separate order. In the process of determining whether plaintiff properly served defendants, however, the court identified several potential issues with jurisdiction. Accordingly, for the reasons explained below, the court orders plaintiff to show cause why the case should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

II. BACKGROUND

On August 24, 2021, plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging that the Kingdom of Norway and several of its departments and instrumentalities conspired to abduct his children and remove them to Norway. See generally Compl. Plaintiff alleges that defendants took his children even though he shares custody with their mother. See Id. ¶ 11. The following background is taken from plaintiff's Complaint, which is unclear at times.

Plaintiff's twin children, D.T.R. and L.A.R., were born in the United States in 2015, but it appears the family relocated to Norway at some point after their birth. Id. ¶¶ 41-43. In June of 2019, plaintiff found out that his former psychologist sent a “concern” to Norway's Child Protective Services (“NCPS”). Id. ¶ 44. A week later, plaintiff was deported from Norway due to his criminal record, and NCPS started an investigation into his wife's parental abilities. See Id. ¶¶ 35, 43, 45. In July of 2019, the family met in

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Denmark with the intention to return to the U.S. See Id. ¶¶ 46-49. The mother instead returned to Norway, leaving the children with plaintiff in Denmark. See Id. ¶¶ 50-53. Defendants enlisted the police to convince the mother to bring the children back to Norway in exchange for a favorable outcome to the NCPS investigation against her. See Id. ¶¶ 51-54. The mother alerted plaintiff, who took the children to the U.S. See Id. ¶ 54.

When NCPS learned the children were taken to the U.S., it contacted one of the other defendants to falsely accuse plaintiff of being homeless and a violent offender. See Id. ¶ 55. Meanwhile, plaintiff was attempting to locate his wife with the help of the U.S. Department of State. See Id. ¶¶ 57-59. He was able to find her, but she told him that NCPS demanded that she not travel to the U.S. due to the investigation into her parental abilities. See Id. ¶ 59. Plaintiff ultimately filed for separation and joint custody in Los Angeles Superior Court on September 23, 2019. See Id. ¶ 60.

In or around October and November of 2019, defendants retained a law firm and sought the children's return to Norway under the Hague Convention. See Id. ¶¶ 62-64. Plaintiff filed an emergency motion to prevent the children's removal from Los Angeles County. See Id. ¶ 65. Instead of appearing at the hearing on that motion, defendants filed their own sealed motion in federal court.[1] See Id. ¶¶ 66-68. Plaintiff's ex-wife arrived to the U.S. in December of 2019, at which time she was served with a temporary custody order and travel ban. See Id. ¶ 69.

Plaintiff accuses defendants of attempting to bypass U.S. law in their efforts to return the children to Norway. See Id. ¶ 70. On January 6, 2020, after plaintiff met with his ex-wife, defendants filed a request for an arrest warrant in state court, which was granted two days later. See Id. ¶ 71. It is unclear from the Complaint what happened with that warrant.

On January 10, 2020, the family court stayed plaintiff's case pending the outcome

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of the federal Hague Convention case filed by defendants. See Id. ¶ 74. Plaintiff claims that defendants abused the process in various ways. See Id. ¶¶ 78-88. As a result of one of defendants' misrepresentations, the federal court overseeing the Hague Convention case ordered the U.S. Marshals to seize the children. See Id. ¶ 88. On April 3, 2020, law enforcement found plaintiff in Iowa, detained him, and took the children. See Id. ¶ 89. The children were returned to Norway shortly after. See Id. ¶ 90. Once there, NCPS took legal custody of the children but allowed plaintiff's ex-wife to have physical custody only if she agreed to raise them in Norway without contact with plaintiff. See Id. ¶ 93.

Plaintiff sought relief from the Ninth Circuit. See Id. ¶ 96. On December 7, 2020, defendants offered to allow the children to visit the father in the U.S., but only if he withdrew his appeal. See Id. ¶ 103. It appears plaintiff refused to do so.

Plaintiff also filed a request for the children's return in a Norwegian court pursuant to the Hague Convention. See Id. ¶ 101. He claims that the Oslo District Court did not give him a proper opportunity to be heard. See Id. ¶ 104. On December 23, 2020, the court ruled against plaintiff. See Id. ¶ 105. He alleges the decision violated international law and treaties. See Id. The decision was affirmed by both an intermediate appeals court and the Supreme Court of Norway. See Id. ¶¶ 107, 111. Plaintiff apparently has not heard from his children since November 2020. See Id. ¶ 110.

Although not entirely clear, it appears plaintiff seeks to raise the following legal claims: (1) interference with personal relationship and kidnaping under color of law; (2) conspiracy to violate the Hague Convention and United Nations regulations; (3) equal protection; (4) right to familial association; (5) warrantless seizure; (6) judicial deception; (7) state law kidnaping; (8) state law abduction; (9) violation of Family Law Code § 3405(c); and (10) racketeering. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, declaratory relief, and an injunction allowing him to have phone conversations and visits with his children.

III. DISCUSSION

“[A] federal court may dismiss sua sponte if jurisdiction is lacking.” Fiedler v. Clark, 714 F.2d 77, 78-79 (9th Cir. 1983) (citations omitted). Courts frequently consider jurisdiction sua sponte in cases involving foreign governments and individuals. See Rizvi v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 828 Fed.Appx. 818, 820-21 (3d Cir. 2020) (trial court permitted to

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consider sua sponte problems with jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act); Randolph v. Budget Rent-A-Car, 97 F.3d 319, 323 (9th Cir. 1996) (courts must raise sua sponte issues concerning subject matter jurisdiction).

A. Identification of Defendants

To begin, it is unclear who the defendants in this case are. In the caption of the Complaint, plaintiff names a list of foreign departments and individuals he alleges are associated with each of those departments, e.g., Ministry of Health and Care Services for Oslo University Hospital and Thale Bostad. But in the body of the Complaint, plaintiff appears to indicate that the only “named defendants” are the individuals. See, e.g., Compl. ¶ 19 (indicating that the “named Defendant” is Bostad).

The court orders plaintiff to clearly identify each of the defendants he intends to name in this action. This is particularly important in this case because it will affect the court's analysis of jurisdiction and the adequacy of service of process. For now, the court will assume that plaintiff intended to name each of the departments and individuals listed on the caption of his Complaint, namely:

1. The Kingdom of Norway (hereinafter “Norway”)

2. The County Governor of Oslo and Viken (hereinafter “the governor”)

3. Valgerd Svarstad Haugland

4. Suzanne Rusten

5. Norway's Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Department of Civil Affairs (hereinafter “MJPS”)

6. Hanna Kristiane Rummelhoff

7. Hege Skaanes Nyhus

8. Linn Krosveen

9. Norway's Ministry of Children and Families for the Directorate for Children, Youth, and Family Affairs (hereinafter “MCF”)

10. Mari Trommald

11. St. Hanshaugen, Oslo Child Protective Services and Measure Section (hereinafter “OCPS”)

12. Per Helge Nesse Rise

13. Maria Knudsen

14. Silje Erake Gudmestad

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15. Annette Sophie Lorck-Falk

16. Norway's Ministry of Health and Care Services for Oslo University Hospital (hereinafter “MHCS”)

17. Thale Bostad

B. Jurisdiction Over Foreign States and Their Political Subdivisions, Agencies, and Instrumentalities

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”) is the “sole basis for obtaining jurisdiction over a foreign state in a civil action.” Broidy Cap. Mgmt., LLC v. State of Qatar, 982 F.3d 582, 589 (9th Cir. 2020) (quoting Republic of Argentina v. Weltover, Inc., 504 U.S. 607, 611, 112 S.Ct. 2160, 119 L.Ed.2d 394 (1992)). A “foreign state, ” except as that term is used in § 1608, includes its political subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities. 28 U.S.C. § 1603(a). An agency or instrumentality of a foreign state refers to any entity:

(1) which is a separate legal person, corporate or otherwise, and
(2) which is an organ of a foreign state or political subdivision thereof, or a majority of whose shares or other ownership interest is owned by a foreign state or political subdivision thereof, and
(3) which is neither a citizen of a State of the United States as defined in section 1332(c) and (e) of this title, nor created under the laws of any third country.

28 U.S.C. § 1603(b). Federal courts have automatic personal jurisdiction over a foreign state if one of the FSIA's enumerated exceptions to immunity applies (see 28 U.S.C. §§ 1604, 1605, 1607) and service of process has been accomplished pursuant to § 1608 of the FSIA. See Samantar v. Yousuf, 560 U.S. 305, 324 n.20, 130 S.Ct. 2278, 176 L.Ed.2d 1047 (2010) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1330(b)).

Here, Norway, the governor, [2] MJPS, MCF, OCPS, and MHCS (the “entity defendants”) appear to...

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