Houk v. Wayside Christian Mission et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER signed by Judge John G. Heyburn, II on 4/21/2011. Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. For the reasons set forth, the Court will, by separate order, dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. cc: Plaintiff, pro se; Defendants (AEP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
BOYD E. HOUK
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:11-CV-222-H
WAYSIDE CHRISTIAN MISSION et al.
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER
Plaintiff, Boyd E. Houk, pro se, moves to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) in this case (DN 3). The Court concludes that Plaintiff cannot without
undue hardship pay the fees or costs in this action. Accordingly,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion (DN 3) is GRANTED.
This matter is now before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and
McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997). For the reasons set forth below, the
action will be dismissed.
I. SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
Plaintiff’s complaint names as Defendants Wayside Christian Mission, Tim H. Mosely,
Sr., and Nina Mosely. He states in the portion of the complaint form asking for the grounds for
filing in federal court: “was sent to prison on revocation of probation following orders of
Wayside staff, wrongful treatment (mental abuse, verbal abuse by staff) discrimination, loss of
income and hold parts of 2009 W-2 (1 yr).” Under the statement-of-claim portion of the
complaint form, Plaintiff alleges “spent 1 yr of my life under lock & key by wrong of Wayside.
Was verbally & mentally abused. Worked lots of overtime never paid. My W-2 from 2009 was
held for 1 yr.” As relief he states he wants punitive damages, investigation by wage and hour
division, and prosecution of all wrongs as a result of investigations.
This Court must review the instant action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d at 604-05. Upon review, this Court must dismiss a case at any time if
the Court determines that the action is “frivolous or malicious,” fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The court may, therefore,
dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where
the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327. When determining whether a plaintiff
has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must construe the complaint in a
light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept all of the factual allegations as true. Prater v.
City of Burnside, Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). A complaint, or portion thereof, should
be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted “only if it appears
beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would
entitle him to relief.” Brown v. Bargery, 207 F.3d 863, 867 (6th Cir. 2000).
While a reviewing court must liberally construe pro se pleadings, Boag v. MacDougall,
454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam), to avoid dismissal, a complaint must include “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
“Because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, the plaintiff must establish
subject matter jurisdiction.” Walburn v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 431 F.3d 966, 970 (6th Cir.
2005). Federal courts hear only cases allowed under the Constitution or cases which Congress
has entrusted to them by statute. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375,
Jurisdiction in this Court may be premised on a federal question. See 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 only allegation that could conceivably
be related to a violation of the U.S. Constitution or federal law is Plaintiff’s assertion of
“discrimination.” However, a plaintiff cannot make such a claim directly under the U.S.
Constitution. Instead, he must bring it under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Thomas v. Shipka, 818 F.2d
496, 499-500 (6th Cir. 1987), vacated on other grounds, 488 U.S. 1036 (1989). In order to state
a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege both a violation of a right or rights secured by the
Constitution and laws of the United States and that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988). Plaintiff makes
no allegation that Defendants are state actors, and jurisdiction cannot be premised on § 1983.
To the extent that Plaintiff could possibly be attempting to bring a claim of
discrimination under federal employment law, he fails to state a claim. In order to satisfy the
prerequisites of a Title VII employment-discrimination action, a claimant must file a timely
charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and
timely act on the Commission’s Right-to-Sue letter. Minnis v. McDonnell Douglas Tech. Servs.
Co., 162 F. Supp. 2d 718, 729 (E.D. Mich. 2001). Plaintiff has not presented the Court with a
Right-to-Sue letter from the EEOC. Consequently, jurisdiction in this case cannot be premised
on federal-question jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction for Plaintiff’s state-law claims cannot be premised on the diversity statute, 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a), as there is no diversity of citizenship between the parties. Under the diversityof-citizenship statute, “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions
where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000 . . . and is between . . .
citizens of different states . . . . ” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). “[D]iversity jurisdiction does not exist
unless each defendant is a citizen of a different State from each plaintiff.” Owen Equip. &
Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 373 (1978). Plaintiff, however, does not demonstrate that
he and Defendants are citizens of a State other than Kentucky. Plaintiff’s address and
Defendants’ addresses are all in Louisville, Kentucky. Consequently, Plaintiff cannot bring any
state-law claims by way of the federal diversity statute.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will, by separate order, dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint
for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.
April 21, 2011
Plaintiff, pro se
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