Jackson v. Owens Corning, Asbestos Settlement Trust
WRITTEN Opinion entered by the Honorable George M. Marovich on 8/28/2012:The Court sua sponte dismisses plaintiff's amended complaint for want of jurisdiction. (For further details see written opinion). Mailed notice(smm)
Order Form (01/2005)
United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Name of Assigned Judge
or Magistrate Judge
George M. Marovich
12 C 4525
Sitting Judge if Other
than Assigned Judge
Jackson v. Owens Corning Asbestos Settlement Trust
DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:
The Court sua sponte dismisses plaintiff’s amended complaint for want of jurisdiction.
O[ For further details see text below.]
Docketing to mail notices.
The Court previously denied plaintiff William Jackson’s (“Jackson”) petition to proceed in forma
pauperis and dismissed his complaint for want of jurisdiction. Jackson has now paid the filing fee and filed
an amended complaint. The amended complaint fails to allege a valid basis for jurisdiction, so the Court
dismisses the amended complaint for want of jurisdiction.
A federal court must always assure itself that it has jurisdiction over a claim before it. Weaver v.
Hollywood Casino-Aurora, Inc., 255 F.3d 379, 381 (7th Cir. 2001). “The party invoking jurisdiction bears
the burden of establishing [jurisdiction] . . . with the manner and degree of evidence required at the
successive stages of the litigation.” Lujan v. Defenders of Life, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). One point of
Jackson’s amended complaint seems to be to challenge an arbitrator’s decision to grant him $0 in damages
against defendant. The Federal Arbitration Act, however, does not confer jurisdiction. Vaden v. Discover
Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 59 (2009). Instead, Jackson needs to allege a separate basis for jurisdiction. Id.
In his complaint, Jackson asserts that this Court has federal question jurisdiction. Specifically,
Jackson alleges that jurisdiction is conferred under the Social Security Act. Jackson, however, makes no
claim under the Social Security Act. He is not, for example, challenging a final decision of the Social
Security Administration to deny him benefits. To the contrary, Jackson alleges that the Social Security
Administration has granted him disability benefits. The two causes of action that Jackson actually asserts in
his amended complaint are negligence and breach of duty. These are not causes of action which arise under
federal law, so the Court does not have federal question jurisdiction over this case.
The only possible basis for this Court’s jurisdiction is diversity jurisdiction, the elements of which
Jackson has not adequately alleged. This Court has jurisdiction over civil actions where the matter in
controversy is greater than $75,000 and is between citizens of different states. 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
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Furthermore, “in federal law citizenship means domicile, not residence.” America’s Best Inns, Inc. v. Best
Inns of Abilene, L.P., 980 F.2d 1072, 1074 (7th Cir. 1992) (“We have been told by authority we are
powerless to question that when the parties allege residence but not citizenship, the only proper step is to
dismiss the litigation for want of jurisdiction.”). Here, the plaintiff states his state of residence (Illinois), but
he fails to allege that he is a citizen of Illinois. In addition, the defendant is a trust. For purposes of the
diversity statute, the citizenship of a trust is the same as the citizenship of its trustee(s). May Dep’t Stores
Co. v. Federal Ins. Co., 305 F.3d 597, 599 (7th Cir. 2002). Because Jackson has failed to allege jurisdiction
adequately, the Court must dismiss his amended complaint for want of jurisdiction.
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