Ingram Bey v. Regional Acceptance Corporation
MEMORANDUM OPINION: The Court finds that Ms. Ingram Bey qualifies for IFP status and grants her motion to proceed without prepayment of fees and costs. Having examined Ms. Ingram Bey's allegations against Regional Acceptance Corporation, the Cou rt finds that it lacks jurisdiction over this action.Therefore,this federal district court cannot exercise jurisdiction over Ms. Ingram Beyss state law claims; she must assert those claims in state court.By separate order, the Court will dismiss this action for lack of jurisdiction.Signed by Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala on 5/23/2023. (DNW)
2023 May-23 AM 11:13
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
NIKKI GOODLOE INGRAM BEY, )
Case No. 3:23-cv-00159-MHH
On February 8, 2023, pro se plaintiff Nikki Goodloe Ingram Bey filed this
action against Regional Acceptance Corporation. (Doc. 1). Ms. Ingram Bey also
filed an in forma pauperis affidavit; she asks for permission to proceed without
prepaying filing fees and costs. (Doc. 2).
Ms. Ingram Bey’s request for IFP status triggers a two-step inquiry. Procup
v. Strickland, 760 F.2d 1107, 1114 (11th Cir. 1985). First, a district court must
examine the plaintiff’s IFP affidavit and determine whether the plaintiff is
economically eligible for IFP status under §1915(a). Martinez v. Kristi Kleaners,
Inc., 364 F.3d 1305, 1307 (11th Cir. 2004). If the plaintiff is economically eligible
for IFP status, then the district court must docket the case and move to step two. At
step two, the district court must assess whether the allegations in the complaint meet
the pleading standard under § 1915(e)(2). Martinez, 364 F.3d at 1307; see also
Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1486 (11th Cir. 1997). Under 28 U.S.C. §
1915, a district court must dismiss a complaint if the factual allegations are
“frivolous or malicious” or “fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted.”
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). “A claim is frivolous if it is without arguable merit
either in law or fact.” Thomas v. Pentagon Fed. Credit Union, 393 Fed. Appx. 635,
637 (11th Cir. 2010). Additionally, “federal courts are duty bound to consider their
subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte.” Burr & Forman v. Blair, 470 F.3d 1019,
1035 n.38 (11th Cir. 2006) (citing Univ. of S. Alabama v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d
405, 409–11 (11th Cir. 1999)).
When reviewing a pro se complaint pursuant to § 1915, a district court must
be mindful that complaints written by pro se litigants are held to a less stringent
standard than pleadings drafted by attorneys. Jacob v. Mentor Worldwide, LLC, 40
F.4th 1329, 1334 (11th Cir. 2022). Though a district court must be lenient in its
review of a pro se pleading, the court “cannot act as de facto counsel or rewrite an
otherwise deficient pleading to sustain an action.” Bilal v. Geo Care, LLC, 981
F.3d 903, 911 (11th Cir. 2020) (citation omitted).
The Court finds that Ms. Ingram Bey qualifies for IFP status and grants her
motion to proceed without prepayment of fees and costs. Having examined Ms.
Ingram Bey’s allegations against Regional Acceptance Corporation, the Court finds
that it lacks jurisdiction over this action.
In her complaint, Ms. Ingram Bey asserts state law claims for fraud, deceit,
and harassment. (Doc. 1). A federal district court may exercise jurisdiction over
state law claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. For state law claims to proceed in federal
court under § 1332, the parties must be completely diverse, and the amount in
controversy must exceed $75,000. Williams v. Best Buy Co., 269 F.3d 1316, 1319
(11th Cir. 2001). In her complaint, Mr. Ingram Bey demands as damages $45,000
for “Fraud Deceit Harassment,” $10,000 for “Threats of Repossesion [sic]” and
court costs and fees. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Even assuming a liberal award of costs and
fees, the amount in controversy in this case does not exceed $75,000. Therefore,
this federal district court cannot exercise jurisdiction over Ms. Ingram Bey’s state
law claims; she must assert those claims in state court.1
By separate order, the Court will dismiss this action for lack of jurisdiction.
DONE and ORDERED this May 23, 2023.
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
On September 16, 2022, Ms. Ingram Bey filed a similar complaint in Case No. 3:22-cv-01177LCB. On January 18, 2023, the Court dismissed that case without prejudice for failure to pay the
requisite filing fee after the Court denied Ms. Ingram Bey’s motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because Ms. Ingram Bey did not provide adequate information about her financial status.
(Case No. 3:22-cv-01177-LCB, Docs. 11, 12). On January 4, 2023, this Court dismissed another
nearly identical complaint filed by Mr. Ingram Bey in Case No. 3:23-cv-00102-MHH, without
prejudice, for failure to state a claim. (Case No. 3:23-cv-00102-MHH, Docs. 6, 7).
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