Davis v. Talley (JOINT ASSIGN)(MAG+)
ORDERED as follows: 1) Plf Sadaka Davis's 8 objection is OVERRULED; 2) The 7 Recommendation is ADOPTED; 3) Sadaka Davis's complaint is DISMISSED for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 9/15/2015. (wcl, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
) CASE NO. 2:15-CV-168-WKW
On August 3, 2015, the Magistrate Judge filed a Recommendation. (Doc. #
7.) On August 17, 2015, Plaintiff Sadaka Davis filed objections. (Doc. # 8.) The
court has conducted an independent and de novo review of those portions of the
Recommendation to which objection is made. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).
The Magistrate Judge recommended that this case be dismissed because
subject-matter jurisdiction is lacking.
“When a plaintiff makes a plausible
argument that a federal statute creates his right to relief, the district court has
subject-matter jurisdiction over that complaint.” Lanfear v. Home Depot, Inc., 536
F.3d 1217, 1221 (11th Cir. 2008). On its face, the complaint does not contain a
cause of action based on federal law. Davis seeks to hold a private party, his
former landlord, liable in a dispute over rent and repairs to Davis’s former
residence. In his objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Report, Davis does not
supply any grounds for this court’s subject-matter jurisdiction. Rather, Davis
emphasizes that he seeks relief based on an Alabama rental contract involving
Alabama real estate and Alabama statutes pertaining to landlord and tenant
responsibilities. (Doc. # 8.) Neither Alabama contract law nor Alabama landlordtenant law provides a basis for this court’s subject-matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §
1331 (“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising
under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”).
The complaint does contain a conclusory assertion that the landlord violated
Davis’s constitutional rights by “doing business unlawfully in the state of
Alabama” by failing to have an Alabama business license.
(Doc. 1 at 1.)
However, Davis’s conclusory invocation of the United States Constitution is not
sufficient to plausibly convert an alleged violation of Alabama law into a federal
controversy. See Douglas v. Yates, 535 F.3d 1316, 1320 (11th Cir. 2008) (holding
that the standards that govern a dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) apply to dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 545 (2007) (“While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations[,] . . . a plaintiff’s obligation to
provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of a cause of action’s elements will not
do.”); Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986) (holding that, on a motion to
dismiss, courts “are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a
In cases that do not seek relief pursuant to the laws and Constitution of the
United States, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) confers jurisdiction on the federal courts in civil
actions “between citizens of different states” if the amount in controversy exceeds
Lincoln Property Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S. 81, 89 (2005).
Magistrate Judge noted, Davis did not plead the citizenship of himself or the
Defendant, and he did not plead an amount in controversy exceeding $75,000. In
Davis’s objections, he did not provide any allegation or argument to support the
existence of diversity jurisdiction. (Doc. # 8.)
For these reasons, and for the reasons stated in the Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge, the court concludes that the complaint is due to be dismissed.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court determines at any time that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”); Univ. of S.
Alabama v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999) (“‘Without
jurisdiction the court cannot proceed at all in any cause. Jurisdiction is power to
declare the law, and when it ceases to exist, the only function remaining to the
court is that of announcing the fact and dismissing the cause.’” (quoting Ex parte
McCardle, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 506, 514 (1868)).
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
Plaintiff Sadaka Davis’s objection (Doc. # 8) is OVERRULED.
The Recommendation (Doc. # 7) is ADOPTED.
Sadaka Davis’s complaint is DISMISSED for lack of subject-matter
DONE this 15th day of September, 2015.
/s/ W. Keith Watkins
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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