The opinion of the court was delivered by: BIUNNO
McConahy has submitted to the court a pro se complaint, a sworn application for leave to proceed without prepayment of costs (in forma pauperis), and instructions to the U.S. Marshal for the service of process.
The application also asserts that the nature of McConahy's claim, briefly stated, is "recovery of losses caused by seizure of business property." The expansion of the claim in the complaint is that the City of London Corporation, acting through Walter Isaacs and Peter Harwood, said to be agents in some unidentified capacity, unlawfully seized the company charters, share certificates and related memoranda concerning 3 named Panamanian corporations, claimed to be McConahy's sole property. The seizure is said to have occurred in June and July of 1970. The 3 Panamanian companies are alleged to have been formed by McConahy in conjunction with his business as a management consultant for delivery to clients, presumably before the start of his 4 year period of imprisonment. Compensatory damages are claimed in the amount of $355,955.71 (plus interest and costs), as well as punitive damages of $500,000.
The complaint, sworn affidavit and instructions to the U.S. Marshal, while defective in certain respects to be mentioned, carry the marks of skilled preparation and typing. The court notices judicially that the address given by McConhay is at a location on the east bank of the Passaic River where there are no residences, and is the same as the office address of a local attorney who completed the jurat on McConahy's oath.
The complaint does not identify the "City of London Corporation," other than to say that it is "an alien, a corporation formed under the laws of the United Kingdom [sic]." The instructions to the U.S. Marshal call for service by the Clerk, by registered airmail, return receipt requested, in accordance with F.R.Civ.P. 4(i)(1)(D), addressed to "City of London Corporation, Guildhall, London E.C. 4, England."
From all that appears, then, McConahy seeks to bring before this court the ancient City of London, a governmental subdivision of England, a sovereign nation, from which this nation declared its independence after the unpleasantness with George III. The court will take judicial notice of certain basic facts that have been long and well known, and which are recorded in considerable detail in reference sources of substantially undisputed accuracy. These facts are:
. . . the City of London encompasses an area of some 673 acres on the north bank of the river Thames in England;
. . . the City is one of 29 municipal divisions comprising the County of London;
. . . the origins of the City are ancient, and its position as a government is unique among the cities of the Western World;
. . . the ancient rights of the City of London are assured to it by Article 13 of the Magna Charta, done at Runnymede, June 15, 1215 A.D.;
. . . in 1683, Charles II caused a writ of quo warranto to issue against the Corporation, and this writ resulted in a declaration by the King's Bench forfeiting the charter, but this was later set aside by the House as illegal and as a grievance;
. . . among the ancient rights and privileges of the City is that which authorizes the lord mayor of London to close ...