Williams v. Verizon Wireless
ORDER dismissing this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Signed by Judge Susan Webber Wright on 6/2/2017. (mef)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Luchauncey Williams brings this pro se action against Verizon Wireless for
breach of contract. Williams claims he contracted with Verizon to purchase a phone but
that he never received the phone and that the refund Verizon gave him did not cover his
expenditures. Williams further claims he travelled countless miles trying to get the
situation resolved at many of Verizon’s locations within the United States (including in
Arkansas, Georgia, and Florida) and that this has caused him to incur debt in getting his
car repaired and that he will incur future debt related to what he owes on his car.
On his complaint form, Williams selected “diversity of citizenship” as the basis
for federal jurisdiction.1 A case falls within a district court’s original diversity
Williams also alleges that the “Consumer Fraud Act of 2016” and “A.C.A. § 23-40-124” are federal laws at issue
in this case. The “well-pleaded complaint rule” provides that federal jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331
exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint. Magee v.
Exxon Corp., 135 F.3d 599, 601 (8th Cir.1998)(citing Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392, 107 S .Ct.
2425 (1987)). Here, § 23-40-124 comes under Chapter 40 of the Arkansas Code, titled Sale of Prepaid Funeral
Benefits, and the Court finds no federal law dubbed the Consumer Fraud Act of 2016. Furthermore, Williams
specifically alleges that Verizon “did not hold up their end of the contract,” indicating a cause of action for breach of
contract pursuant to state law. In sum, the Court finds that federal-question subject matter jurisdiction is lacking.
jurisdiction if the parties are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy
exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. A court has a special
obligation to consider whether it has subject matter jurisdiction in every case, including a
responsibility to consider the issue sua sponte where the court believes that jurisdiction
may be lacking. Hart v. United States, 630 F.3d 1085, 1089 (8th Cir. 2011).
Having considered the matter, the Court sua sponte dismisses this action because,
even though Williams alleges damages in the amount of $189,000, it “appear[s] to a legal
certainty that the claim is really for less than the jurisdictional amount.” Federated Mut.
Ins. Co. v. Moody Station and Grocery, 821 F.3d 973, 977 (8th Cir. 2016) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted); see also Jones v. Burns, 330 Fed.Appx. 624 (8th
Cir. 2009) (“A complaint will be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction if it
appears to a legal certainty that the value of the claim does not exceed $75,000”).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that this action be, and it hereby is, dismissed for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction.i
Dated this 2nd day of June, 2017.
/s/Susan Webber Wright
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Williams’s complaint mirrors previous complaints filed by him in Williams v. Verizon Wireless, No. 4:17cv00297
and Williams v. Verizon Wireless, No. 4:17cv00316, that this Court dismissed for the same reasons as the Court
today dismisses this complaint. In his previous actions, Williams alleged less than the jurisdictional amount based
on the same claims set forth in this action.
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