Willis v. Cladwell
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER signed by Judge Claria Horn Boom on 6/3/21; granting 4 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis: The Court will dismiss this action by separate Order. cc: Plaintiff(pro se), Defendant (DJT)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
LYNELL WILLIS JR.,
TODD CLADWELL, DR. OF
Civil Action No. 3:21-CV-209-CHB
Plaintiff Lynell Willis Jr. filed a pro se complaint [R. 1] and an application to proceed
without prepayment of fees [R. 4].
Upon consideration, IT IS ORDERED that the application [R. 4] is GRANTED.
Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, “If the court determines
at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.” For the
following reasons, the Court finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction and will dismiss this
action by separate Order.
Willis filed his complaint on a form [R. 1], naming Todd Cladwell, “Dr. of Surgical
Specialists,” as the defendant. In the section of the form explaining the types of federal court
jurisdiction, Willis circles 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (the federal question jurisdiction statute) and, in the
margin of the form, writes, “Deals w/law enforcemt on [illegible].” He also points to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332 (the diversity jurisdiction statute) and, at the bottom of the page, writes, “No defendant
may sue a citizen of the same state if the defendant is involved in another case w/ the defendant,
plantiff on the same case untill that case is settled, dismissed, or expung.”
Where the form directs the plaintiff to checkmark the basis for federal court jurisdiction,
Willis checks the box for diversity of citizenship, indicates that both he and Defendant are
citizens of Kentucky, and specifies an amount in controversy of $125,000 “[d]ue to scaring,
medical insurance evasion, [and] self humiliation.” Willis additionally fills in the section of the
form asking for the basis of federal question jurisdiction, indicating “Medical Malpractice,
Dishonorment of medical insurance provided, Evading truth of Medical information given.”
In the Statement of Claim section of the complaint form, Willis alleges the following:
In 2016 or 2017 I provided the office of Dr. Todd (Chad) Cladwell with two forms
of insurance Medicare [and] Medicaid. I received two bills 760.00 for his
performance [and] 160 dollars for the mole autospy. In the billing my insurance
was never shown. His work left scar tissue damage on my back, he used dental
novacaine and a needle to remove the moles. I thought he would numb the moles
and scapel them off. I had them removed due to irregular breathing/heaviness[.]
Willis attached to the complaint form an additional sheet of paper indicating that “Mr. Cladwell
also decided to preform a removal of skin (2 to 3) moles without a referal from my primary care
doctor, dermatologists, or any other care provider.” He continues that “[s]ince filing the suit
Mr. Cladwell is spitting the formulation of malpractice medicines, tools, anthesia on me, making
it disburse in my home or unto me.”
In the Relief section of the complaint form, Plaintiff states,
I would like the courts to review coverage and useage that I provided his
employment, to look at the scaring/plumps on my back, to investagate his assistant
on useage of the novicane, to investagate Mr. Cladwell for medical malpractice,
and evasion of truth in my medical file (polygraph__ breathing which medicare
does cover. I’m now spitting up back tissue. Mr. Cladwell doesnt look as he did
Although courts are to hold pro se pleadings “to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers,” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), this duty to be less
stringent “does not require us to conjure up unpled allegations,” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16,
19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat’l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518
F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise would require courts “to explore
exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district
court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out the
strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton,
775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and their powers are enumerated
in Article III of the Constitution and in statutes enacted by Congress. Bender v. Williamsport
Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986); see generally, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1330-1364. Therefore,
“[t]he first and fundamental question presented by every case brought to the federal courts is
whether it has jurisdiction to hear a case, even where the parties concede or do not raise or
address the issue.” Douglas v. E.G. Baldwin & Assocs., Inc., 150 F.3d 604, 606-07 (6th Cir.
1998). Without jurisdiction, courts have no power to act. Id. at 606. The burden of establishing
jurisdiction rests with the plaintiff. Hedgepeth v. Tennessee, 215 F.3d 608, 611 (6th Cir. 2000);
Douglas, 150 F.3d at 606. “Congress has defined the province of federal judicial authority in
two basic jurisdictional statutes”— diversity and federal question jurisdiction. Douglas, 150 F.3d
at 607 (citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332).
A. Diversity Jurisdiction
The diversity jurisdiction statute, in pertinent part, provides that “[t]he district courts shall
have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or
value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between—(1) citizens of different
States.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). “[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). Here, Willis indicates that both he and Defendant are citizens of
Kentucky. Accordingly, Willis fails to meet his burden of invoking this Court’s diversity
B. Federal Question Jurisdiction
Under the federal-question statute, “[t]he district courts shall have original jurisdiction of
all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. Although Willis additionally fills out the section of the form asking for the basis of
federal question jurisdiction, he does not identify any cause of action “arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” Therefore, Willis also fails to sufficiently
invoke this Court’s federal question jurisdiction.
For these reasons, the Court will dismiss this action by separate Order.
This the 3rd day of June, 2021.
Plaintiff, pro se
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