REID v. GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CAREER CENTER et al
ORDER dismissing 1 Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; denying as moot 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; denying as moot 5 Motion to Appoint Counsel. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE HUGH LAWSON on 5/10/2017. (aks)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
SANDRA DENISE REID,
Civil Action No. 7:16-CV-229
LABOR CAREER CENTER; TIFTON
PATRICK G. GOODMAN, MD;
DAVID M. BANKS, MD; UNITED
AGRICULTURE; KEPRO QUALITY
Plaintiff Sandra Denise Reid filed a pro se Complaint in this Court on
December 7, 2016. (Doc. 1). For the reasons that follow, the Court dismisses
Plaintiff’s Complaint sua sponte for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, thereby
mooting Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) (Doc. 2)
and Plaintiff’s Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 5).
In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that she was injured in a bus accident in
the course of her employment with the Tift County School District. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
While undergoing treatment for injuries sustained in the accident, Defendant Dr.
David Banks informed Plaintiff that she had a foreign object in her knee. (Doc. 1,
p. 4). It is not clear to the Court whether this foreign object ended up in Plaintiff’s
knee as a result of the accident, or whether the object was already in Plaintiff’s
knee and was discovered during treatment for injuries sustained in the accident.
Nevertheless, upon being told of the object’s existence, Plaintiff wanted the
object removed from her knee. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Dr. Banks allegedly refused to
“help [Plaintiff] get [the object] out.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). Instead, he sent her for an
MRI and physical therapy. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Although the Complaint states that Dr.
Banks is being named as a defendant due to “denial and harassment,” Plaintiff
appears to be stating a claim for medical malpractice against Dr. Banks.
Plaintiff also alleges medical malpractice, and possibly fraud, on the part of
Defendant Dr. Patrick Goodman. Plaintiff claims that Dr. Goodman knew that the
foreign object was in Plaintiff’s knee in 2014 but never told her. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
Further, Plaintiff believes that, in an attempt to cover up the fact that he knew the
object was in Plaintiff’s knee, Dr. Goodman changed dates in her medical
records. (Doc. 1, p. 4).
In addition to claims arising from her medical treatment, Plaintiff alleges
that she was denied unemployment benefits following the accident because the
“Labor Department did not review [her] appeal carefully.” (Doc. 1, p. 4).
A district court should “inquire into whether it has subject matter jurisdiction
at the earliest possible stage in the proceedings” and is obligated to do so “sua
sponte whenever [subject matter jurisdiction] may be lacking.” Univ. of S. Ala. v.
Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999).
If a district court
determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, it “is powerless to continue”
and must dismiss the complaint. Id.
Plaintiff has failed to adequately identify the basis for this Court’s subject
matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff asserts that the Court has jurisdiction over her claims
both because there is diversity of citizenship and because a federal question is
raised. It is clear on the face of the Complaint, however, that there is no diversity
of citizenship. “Diversity jurisdiction requires complete diversity; every plaintiff
must be diverse from every defendant.” Triggs v. John Crump Toyota, Inc., 154
F.3d 1284, 1287 (11th Cir. 1998). Here, Plaintiff concedes that all parties reside
in the State of Georgia. Accordingly, the Court lacks diversity jurisdiction over
Plaintiff also fails to identify any federal question that is raised by her
claims, and she has not cited a federal statute pursuant to which she is entitled to
relief. In her Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that each defendant is liable for “denial
and harassment.” (Doc. 1, p. 2). A review of the facts alleged convinces the
Court that Plaintiff intends to state claims for medical malpractice, denial of state
unemployment benefits, and possibly fraud.
None of these claims raises a
federal question sufficient for this Court’s jurisdiction. See O.C.G.A. § 51-6-1
(Georgia’s fraud statute); O.C.G.A. § 51-13-1 (Georgia’s medical malpractice
statute); Thornton v. Albany Drivers License, No. 1:11-CV-171 (CDL), 2012 WL
3191769, at *2 (M.D. Ga. Aug. 2, 2012) (explaining that a claim for denial of state
unemployment benefits is proper in a Georgia superior court, not in federal
Because there is no diversity of citizenship between the Parties, and
because no federal question is raised by the allegations in the Complaint, the
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims.
Based on the foregoing, the Court sua sponte dismisses Plaintiff’s
Complaint (Doc. 1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff’s Motion for
Leave to Proceed IFP (Doc. 2) and Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 5) are
DENIED as moot.
SO ORDERED, this the 10th day of May, 2017.
/s/ Hugh Lawson_________________
HUGH LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE
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